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Anonymous donation will go toward Hooksett conservation

HOOKSETT — A Hooksett resident who wishes to remain anonymous has donated $57,000 to an effort to conserve about 130 acres of land along the Merrimack River.

The Hooksett Conservation Commission and the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests, which teamed up for the Merrimack Riverfront Project, were pleasantly surprised by the anonymous donation.

The acreage in question includes nearly three-quarters of a mile along the river and is accessible from Merrimack Street. The land will be preserved for recreation, wildlife habitat and educational opportunities.

In a press release issued by the Forest Society, the donor called the land a “gorgeous piece of property.”

“It’s one of the longest stretches of undeveloped river frontage south of Concord, and it’s very accessible, only half a mile from Hooksett Village and half a mile from Suncook Village.”

The Merrimack Conservation Project had previously raised more than $300,000 from many sources, including the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, Hooksett Heritage Commission, The McIninch Foundation, the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation, the aquatics resources mitigation program through the state Department of Environmental Resources, and individuals.

The area already protected includes a two-acre island and maple floodplain forest. Beavers, bald eagles and mink are among the wildlife found there.

The tract was targeted as a priority conservation in the Hooksett Master Plan of 2004. The public space area will have a picnic area and a trail network, which will connect to the greater Manchester regional trail system, according to the Forest Society.

Forest Society President Jane Difley thanked the anonymous donor, and others, who have helped protect the property.

“The conservation easement we hold adds a permanent layer of protection for the property that will prevent anyone in the future from doing anything that would be contrary to a conservation purpose,” Difley said in a press release.

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