COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center is canceling or postponing all in-person programs and events through May 4. The Harris Center building will also be closed to visitors until May 4. Our trails and grounds remain open.
An aerial view looking north across Granite Lake to the Granite Lake Headwaters property, which is to the left of the large field at the top of the hill. (photo © Eric Masterson, courtesy of Ray Cilley)
The Harris Center has launched an initiative to protect the Granite Lake Headwaters property, a 515-acre parcel located in the highlands of Stoddard. This property contains two headwater streams that emerge from the steep slopes of Fletcher Hill before flowing under Route 9, into Nye Meadow, and on to Granite Lake in Stoddard and Nelson.
In 2013, this land was purchased by a forestry and development company, who conducted extensive timber operations at the site. During this period of intensive road building and timber harvesting, silt and sediment were carried in heavy rains from the site through the headwater streams and into Granite Lake, raising concerns about water quality at that popular swimming, fishing, and boating spot.
Protection of the Granite Lake Headwaters land – which is the largest unprotected parcel in the Granite Lake watershed – will raise the proportion of conserved land in the watershed to 30 percent. In addition, the Headwaters parcel is directly contiguous with a 2,278-acre corridor of conserved lands stretching north from Spoonwood Pond in Nelson to Route 9 in Stoddard – providing important room to roam for people and wildlife alike.
Moose, bear, bobcat, grey fox, coyote, spotted salamander, wood frog, barred owl, and many other species have been documented on the Headwaters property. Once conserved, the land would be managed for wildlife habitat and forest health, with special attention to minimizing erosion and sedimentation impacts on Nye Meadow and Granite Lake.
A conservation-oriented buyer recently purchased the property from the timber company in order to give the Harris Center time to fundraise for this important land protection project. To permanently protect the land, we must raise $250,000 by the end of 2018.
To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of this project, select “Granite Lake Headwaters Protection Fund” as the program for your online donation or download a pledge form. For more information or to donate offline, please contact Jeremy Wilson at (603) 525-3394 or by email.