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December 09. 2012 9:04PM

Conservation projects save 187 acres in Henniker

HENNIKER - The Henniker Conservation Commission has successfully completed a project to preserve two large parcels of town-owned land for future generations, keeping space open for wildlife and recreation.

According to Martha Sunderland of the commission, the areas are the 112-acre Colby Little Brook Forest and the 75-acre scenic area called the Watman Conservation Area.

The Colby Little Brook Forest, located off Colby Hill Road, has been protected with a conservation easement held by the Piscataquog Land Conservancy. The property, sandwiched between two other conserved properties, helps to create 500 acres of open space, including a protected wildlife corridor.

Sunderland said the area "is a great wildlife habitat and popular with hunters."

The Watman Conservation Area has been placed into easement with the Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

"It was named in honor of the late selectman Tom Watman, who was instrumental in getting support for these projects including approval at last year's town meeting," she said.

The property consists of three easily accessible town-owned lots on both sides of Warner Road that offer both active and passive recreation, said Sunderland, including a parcel known as the Preston Memorial Forest, which was given to the town in the 1940s and will now be protected in perpetuity.

The southern lot will continue to have a popular trail open to members of the Contoocook Valley ATV Riders. And though it's taken some work to restore the western lot to its wild state, the commission was able to get there with the help of town employees.

"The town highway department and transfer station were instrumental in removing numerous small cabins and out buildings from the western lot and what remains is a lovely wooded area with long road frontage, access to Brown Brook and associated wetlands, vernal pools and a well-managed forest," said Sunderland.

The Watman Conservation Area also links the Mink Hills in Warner and another large tract of conservation land in Henniker, creating an extensive swath of protected land.

nfoster@newstote.com

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