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September 10. 2013 9:22PM

Monadnock Conservancy plans to add to California Brook Natural Area in Keene

KEENE — The Monadnock Conservancy’s plans to add to the California Brook Natural Area would connect Pisgah State Park to forest land in Keene known as the West Hill parcel.

Anne McBride, Monadnock Conservancy land protection director, said the idea of creating the corridor of open land came out of a 1998 workshop. Since then, easements have created the corridor piece by piece, but this new swath of protected land would fill in a gap between Pisgah State Park and Keene, she said.

“Over the years we’ve been protecting different parcels of land with conservation easements and this has been a really big project to fill in the gap,” McBride said.

A couple owns the three parcels that make up 688 acres that sit in Keene, Chesterfield and Swanzey. Most of the land, 552 acres, sits in Keene and Swanzey.

The land is mostly forest with about 28 acres of wetlands and nearly four miles of stream. The land supports a wide range of wildlife, including bears, bobcats and moose.

About 97 percent of the land is ranked Tier I in terms of high ranking habitat, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.“This corridor is within the largest unfragmented forest block in the southern part of the state,” McBride said.
Pisgah State Park is 13,300 acres in size. The California Brook Natural Area currently has 2,174 acres of land conserved.
Monadnock Conservancy has been working with multiple donors to conserve the land, McBride said.

The total project cost is $371,300.

Monadnock Conservancy is currently in the process of seeking funds from Chesterfield, Keene and Swanzey to help fund the project, McBride said.

mpierce@newstote.com


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