Set on Moose Mountain, the 92-acre property is the gift of Michael and Elizabeth Mayor and John Niles, who owned the land for 30 years. The forested parcel cloaks the west slope of this iconic ridge just below the North Peak, connecting with National Park Service lands surrounding the Appalachian Trail. TRAIL MAP
This property provides an unbroken link in valuable wildlife habitat and expands the protected high elevation lands that are key to conferring resilience to climate change. These cooler forests will become an increasingly critical refuge for birds and other wildlife.
The Mayor-Niles Forest also supports flood security for neighborhoods below by protecting three streams that flow into Hewes Brook. Forested headwaters regulate flow and are the first line of defense against microbursts and washouts. Shaded banks also contribute to a brook’s health downstream, by keeping water clear and cool for native brook trout.
Moose, bear, snowshoe hare, red fox, grouse, deer, and bobcat inhabit the Mayor-Niles Forest. The Conservancy plans to inventory the property’s plants, birds, and wildlife before deciding on future management.
The Mayor-Niles Forest is open at all seasons for recreation. An old tote path leads up through the property and stone wall-lined Plummer Road, a Class VI road, forms one border. We added two new trails in 2016. One need not visit the property to enjoy it – it is easily visible from many parts of town and even from Vermont, part of the scenic view of Moose Mountain that forms a beautiful backdrop to the town of Hanover. View a slide show of our February 2014 trip with Alcott Smith here.
“I’m hoping this might result in a growing momentum to others who own land like that to consider a similar donation or at least the establishment of a conservation easement to contribute to the wildlife,” observed donor Michael Mayor.
Support for the project came from the Conservancy’s Strategic Land Action Fund and the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership (Q2C). The Conservancy is establishing the Moose Mountain Stewardship Fund to help us care for our lands in this remote region of town. Please consider a gift to this fund.