News & Updates

New! Mink Brook Community Forest

We all know that broad and beautiful meadow on Greensboro Road – a generous open space that is such a welcome sight in days like these. The Hanover Conservancy is proud to partner with the Town of Hanover and the Trust for Public Land in a major project to protect these 250 acres of upland forest, floodplain meadow, and corridor of Mink Brook, to be called the Mink Brook Community Forest. MORE

Plant a Tree for Earth Day

Trees give us many gifts – clean air and water, places to recreate, wildlife habitat…and carbon storage. Restoring trees to the landscape is the single best low-tech, low-cost pathway for storing more carbon on the land. A forest can store an average of 2-3 tons/acre of C02 each year. With just a will and a spade, we can get started pulling carbon from the air right now.

A NATURAL CARBON SINK – To prevent the most dangerous impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must reach net zero by 2050.  Capturing carbon from the air naturally – by putting trees to work – can provide significant cumulative carbon removal through 2050 and beyond.

When choosing a tree for your home landscape, consider this:

  • Fast growing trees store the most carbon during their first decades.
  • Long-lived trees can keep carbon stored for generations without releasing it in decomposition.
  • Native trees will thrive in these soils and best support local wildlife.
  • Low-maintenance, disease-resistant species will do better without greenhouse-gas-producing fertilizers and equipment.

We suggest Northern Red OakAcorns attract wildlife and the leaves develop a brick-red fall color. Red oak is fast growing, easy to transplant, and tolerant of urban conditions (including dry and acidic soil and air pollution).  Best growth is in full sun and well drained, slightly acidic, sandy loam. Northern red oak often reaches 60-90’ and occasionally 150’. Trees may live up to 500 years.

A colorful alternative for damp soils is Red Maple — the most abundant native tree in eastern North America. Known for its early brilliant fall foliage and red flowers, it is usually found in moist woodlands and wet swamps in sun or part shade. A medium-sized, fast-growing tree (2-5’/yr), its seeds and buds are eaten by birds and mammals, but it is not preferred by deer.

ABOUT EARTH DAY – 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 – and the beginning of the environmental movement that has inspired so much healthy, positive change in how we treat our home planet. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, US Senator from Wisconsin, came up with the idea after witnessing a massive oil spill in California. It was the Vietnam Era; Sen. Nelson hoped to infuse the energy of anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

Organizers chose April 22 (between Spring Break and final exams), for an event that drew 20 million Americans — 10% of the total US population — to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast protests, uniting groups fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife.  Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, gaining support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. Congress soon passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts and created the US Environmental Protection Agency.



Pine Park is Hanover’s first natural area permanently preserved as a park and today functions as the town’s “central park” for the enjoyment of walkers, joggers, skiers and many others. The park is owned by the Pine Park Association, a voluntary nonprofit that dates back to 1900,

when a group of 17 local residents sought to prevent the Diamond Match Company from harvesting trees along the riverbank just north of the Ledyard Bridge. Read more…


Past News

Emerald Ash Borer

EABs are here, and our ash trees will never be the same. Individual landowners are the best equipped to treat and save trees on private property. Throughout New England, large tracts of forest and roadways will be cleared of trees before infestation (when removal is much safer and lumber may be sold), in stages during the active infestation as budgets allow. Towns all across our region are using state resources to take inventories of ash trees within their town limits, and set priorities for removal or possible treatment. Stay informed: VT Invasives has an easy-to-navigate site, and the UNH Cooperative Extension regularly publishes information, like this blog and accompanying homeowner handout.

Hanover receives special deer hunting permits from NH Fish & Game

New webpage on local hunting coming soon…

(8/23/18) View a 2018 map of areas where these permits can be used, and read more about the data behind Hanover’s multi-year application process from the Town’s Biodiversity Committee.


Shumway Forest on Moose Mountain – Conserved!

Download a newly updated trail map HERE.

Our conservation work continues on Hanover’s highest ridge with the permanent protection of the 313-acre Shumway Forest – the largest project in our half-century history!  The parcel stretches from Three Mile Road to the crest of Moose Mountain and creates a link both to other conservation lands – federal Appalachian Trail lands, town-owned parcels, and the Mill Pond Forest – and to a vast network of foot trails including the AT.  This connected high elevation habitat assures room for wildlife – and hikers – to roam.  The parcel includes headwater tributaries of Mink img_2207Brook and a variety of other types of wetlands, including a fen (left), vernal pool, and black ash and red spruce swamps.

The Shumway Forest is the center of a mountainside trail network that includes not only the Appalachian Trail as it travels from Three Mile Road to the South Peak of Moose Mountain, but a dozen other foot trails totaling 3.4 miles, linking the AT with others on the mountain and beyond. Many are trails that Kay and Peter built and/or maintained for skiing as the owners of Moose Mountain Lodge.  Coincidentally, they signed the conservation easement on the 40th anniversary of their acquisition of the Lodge.

The Shumways and their neighbors, Elisha and Anne Huggins, previously donated a conservation easement on the abutting Mill Pond Forest and Huggins Trail Access, protecting a key public access point as well as the primary headwaters of  Mink Brook.

Two grants allowed us to purchase a permanent conservation easshumway-forest-topo-for-app-2016-11-21ement on this prominent property.  New Hampshire’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund provided a major contribution, the largest single grant in the Conservancy’s history.  A second grant from the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership helps with transaction costs. Owners Kay and Peter Shumway have generously made a bargain sale of this easement, far below market value.  Learning of the awards, the Shumways replied, “We are thrilled with your news and the idea that our land will be forever open for people to enjoy and not covered with no trespassing signs (and houses…)!”  We  look forward to a mountain-side celebration on July 17. (7/12/2017)

Download a newly updated trail map HERE.

About those bears…

(5/30/2017) UPDATE: Due to the response from the public (including many from out-of-state) and discussions between Governor Sununu and local, state and federal bear experts, this bear family is slated to be relocated. The three cubs have now been released in the North Country, after being tagged to help identify them should they return. The mother bear, pictured here in 2016, has yet to be relocated. We’re grateful to NH Fish & Game and USDA Wildlife Services for sharing their experience with Upper Valley communities and for beBear-Snack-croping such responsive stewards of our wildlife and natural resources. The Hanover Conservancy looks forward to working with the Town of Hanover on an ordinance to help eliminate food attractants. We will continue our education efforts on how to be a safe neighbor of our many wonderful natural areas.

From Bear and Human Conflicts – A Need for Change:

If you find [this issue] provoking, please lend your support and assistance. Follow the Something’s Bruin guidelines. Talk to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to be proactive in preventing conflicts with bears. Get active within your community and work for change. Change may be hard but it is not impossible. It’s our own human behavior that creates these conflicts, and therefore it is our own behavior that needs to be modified. (read full article here)   -Andrew Timmins, NH Fish & Game Bear Biologist

photo by Nicki Felicetti
photo by Nicki Felicetti

(5/25/2017) The Hanover Conservancy has worked hard for many, many years to educate the Hanover community about how to co-exist with native wildlife, including the bears that, for generations, have occupied a home range near downtown and Mink Brook. We’ve sponsored programs by a variety of bear experts, blanketed inboxes with repeated pleas to take in birdfeeders, stuffed flyers in doors, posted signs, and sought help from the town and state. We organized a meeting with these experts and, most recently, sought volunteers to help with “bear hazing” to try to deter the bears from approaching homes in a last-ditch effort to stave off the inevitable.

Despite these efforts and those of many concerned neighbors, a bounty of birdfeeders, unsecured trash, and other inappropriate food sources remained available, leading the mother bear to teach her cubs to seek these rather than wild foods. The result is cubs that are twice the size they should be for their age, with no fear of humans or concept of bear/human boundaries. Much as we’d like to imagine that a different future could await bears that think it’s okay to help themselves to brownies on a kitchen counter, there is, unfortunately, no “Bear-Anon” to rehabilitate a bear that has strayed from its wild roots. And it is not the bears’ fault.

The bears will ultimately pay the price for human mistakes that are forcing state biologists to trap and euthanize the mother and her cubs. Nobody wants that fate for them, but with such unnatural habits, the bears cannot be released elsewhere. They would either continue their dangerous ways in their new home or would find their way back to Hanover after being driven out by bears already living there.  There is no other place a bear gone bad can go.

When one Hanover neighborhood decided to clean up its bear attractants and got serious about it, the bears stopped visiting, according to deputy fire chief Mike Hinsley, who has diligently scouted the situation. Bear-proof trash containers, taking in birdfeeders when bears emerge in spring, and confining access to compost are all sensible solutions.  We strongly support a town-wide ordinance requiring responsible management of trash and other bear attractants.

In the meantime, we recognize that there is excellent bear habitat in our area – Indian Ridge, Velvet Rocks, and stream corridors – and that it’s only a matter of time before a new bear discovers the recently-vacated territory in Hanover. We hope this time the bear receives a different welcome, from a community that has united to help it remain wild and free.

Deer Hunting

Balch Hill neighbor’s backyard

Not so long ago, it was rare to see a deer in suburban Hanover.  In 2015, more deer were taken by hunting in Hanover than in any other town in New Hampshire. Deer-car collisions are more frequent and

people commonly report groups of deer lounging in their back yards. Gardeners  see shorn plants and forest landowners find browse lines. Deer consume native tree seedlings, saplings, shrubs, and wildflowers, encouraging invasive plants to take their place. Natural predators were removed by our ancestors, and the deer herd is expanding, threatening forest health.

In 2013, at the request of the Town of Hanover, we opened the Balch Hill Natural Area once again to archery for a limited season by special permit only.  For 2014 and 2015, hunters were further confined to off-trail tree stands.  We interviewed all of our selected hunters before and after the season and re-evaluate the policy each year. This spring, we conducted a survey of Balch Hill neighbors and friends, with a strong response rate: Balch Hill Deer Hunting Survey 2016 Responses.

See also Frequently Asked Questions, developed in response to comments. The Hanover Conservation Commission has set up a Deer Team to pursue changes in state hunting rules to better manage the town’s expanding deer population.

The Hanover Conservancy supports control of the deer herd by hunters following state laws. Beside the limited hunting at Balch Hill, hunting is permitted on the following Conservancy properties:

  • Mayor-Niles Forest, Moose Mountain
  • Tunis Brook Mill Lot
  • Greensboro Ridge Natural Area (except south of the Silent Brook Trail)

Deer Excl Study-All graphs 2015Just how much do deer affect vegetation at Balch Hill?  To find out, we are working with Dartmouth Professor Craig Layne and students in his Ecological Methods class on a long-term experiment at the Natural Area. In 2012, we erected a number of fenced “exclosures” to foil hungry deer. This chart compares the number of plants in the fenced areas (blue) to the number in places (red) where deer could reach them.


We’ve Moved!

The Hanover Conservancy opened new offices at 71 Lyme Road on April 1, 2016.  While we regret leaving behind our former offices at 16 Buck Road, close to our Mink Brook Nature Preserve, this move was forced by a fire on Nov. 2, 2015 that made our office uninhabitable. We happy to work right next to trails leading to Storrs Pond, the Rinker-Steele Natural Area, and Oak Hill. We’re also within walking distance of the Richmond School, CRREL, and Kendal. 4/1/2016

Hanover Conservancy Environmental Studies Award

Our Board of Directors is pleased to establish the Hanover Conservancy Environmental Studies Award.  This $500 scholarship will be awarded to a deserving Hanover High School senior who has demonstrated a strong interest in environmental studies, high academic achievement in the Environmental Studies class, and plans to pursue this interest as part of his or her college studies.

The Hanover Conservancy has a long history of outreach to our schools, teachers, and groups like Youth-in-Action.  Over our half-century history, we provided summer camp scholarships, purchased nature books for school libraries, helped establish the Ray School nature trails, and involved student volunteers in trail and field work on our nature preserves.

We believe that education goes hand-in-hand with our mission to protect land and water in our community and nurture appreciation of the natural environment.  Seniors apply for this scholarship as part of the school’s Local Scholarship Application. The scholarship committee, consulting with teacher Jeannie Kornfeld, makes the selection.


Deer Browse at Balch Hill

Just how much do deer affect vegetation at Balch Hill?  To find out, we are working with Dartmouth Professor Craig Layne and students in his Ecological Methods class on a long-term experiment at the Natural Area. In 2012, we erected a number of fenced “exclosures” to foil hungry deer. Here are the results – after just one year, the number of plants in the fenced areas (shown in blue) were almost twice the number in places (shown in red) where deer could get at them. Stay tuned for updates.

Celebrating Dartmouth’s Conservation Partnership

Dartmouth College is Hanover’s largest landowner and most significant local conservation partner, whether we look at acres or number of parcels preserved, neighbors benefited, or miles of trail protected.

The College’s major contributions to Hanover Conservancy properties have been to the Balch Hill Natural Area, where Dartmouth owns undeveloped land east of the summit and welcomes public access, and especially to the Mink Brook Nature Preserve. Dartmouth’s role at Mink Brook was not known to the public until recently. It was Dartmouth’s (then anonymous) substantial financial gift that made the conservation of the 112 acre Mink Brook parcel possible.

At our 50th Annual Meeting in December, 2011, President Nancy Collier presented retiring Dartmouth Director of Real Estate  Paul Olsen, and Director of Campus Planning Joanna Whitcomb, with a framed photograph of Mink Brook embellished with a chronology of Dartmouth’s conservation achievements since 1960.  The list includes conservation easements, donations, support for protective re-zoning, and property transfers, affecting over 2800 acres.

An article about the Hanover Conservancy’s relationship with the College appeared in Dartmouth>Now shortly afterward.