Easement Exploration

USVLT’s “Easement Exploration Series” showcases conservation easements and properties we own and is designed to connect community members with the protected lands that surround them.  Once a month USVLT hosts a themed visit to a preserve or easement.  Visitors might find themselves walking, hiking, running, snow-shoeing, or even canoeing or kayaking through local conservation lands.  These events are led by Land Trust staff, board members, and volunteers, as well as experts in the field: naturalists with specialties ranging from tracking to birding, from limnology to lichenology.  Most of the events are open to the general public, whereas a few visits to easement lands where public access is limited are open only to Land Trust members.

A core component of USVLT’s mission is “to preserve the ecological systems and cultural values of the Upper Saco River Valley.”  Providing a tangible way for community members to connect with these protected lands furthers our mission at its most basic level.  Events are listed below.



Pine Hill Community Forest Completion Celebration

Saturday, August 11, 9:00am-11:00am

Pine Hill Community Forest Saco River Frontage

Come Celebrate With Us! On August 11th the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (USVLT) will be having a celebration marking the closing of the Pine Hill Community Forest (PHCF) as part of our ongoing Easement Exploration Series. Join us from 9am to 11am for a community get together and to take a walkabout the property now owned by USVLT.

We will be parking at Kennett High School and gathering at the Mineral Springs Gazebo where we will enjoy light refreshments and take part in a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony along with the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Following the ceremony, Doug Burnell, the President of the USVLT Board of Directors will be leading a tour of the property.

Considering Climate Change in Land Conservation
Saturday, June 2, 9:00am-11:00am

June’s Easement Exploration Series is the field trip portion of a two-part workshop in collaboration with Tin Mountain Conservation Center (TMCC). On Saturday, June 2nd, our own Erika Rowland and Board Member Dan Stepanauskas will be leading a tour of the forest management work on the “East Bear Paw” property owned by TMCC and protected with a conservation easement held by USVLT. They will be meeting on the property, located on the south side of Route 302, ¼ mile before the New Hampshire-Maine border. Erika will talk about what role climate change adaptation plays in the future management of forest land in New England.

We highly encourage everyone to attend Part I of the two-part workshop – Considering Climate Change in Land Conservation –  two days beforehand. Part I is being held at TMCC’s learning center on Thursday, May 31 at 7pm, where Erika will discuss how to manage land into the future given the implications of a changing climate, with a particular emphasis on the Open Space Institute’s Resilient Landscapes Initiative. Dan, also a consulting forester who has worked on carbon sequestration projects thoroughout North America, will share his on-the-ground experience.  He’ll discuss his own work with the Forest Stewards Guild and climate change’s influence on forest management standards.


All Things Apples
Saturday, May 5, 10:00am-12:00pm

May’s Easement Exploration Series will take place just after our 2018 Annual Meeting on Saturday May 5th at Uplands Apple Farm on the Freedom Eaton line. This “All Things Apples” tour of the property will take place from 10am (when the meeting finishes) and go til about noon.  We will be exploring this gorgeous orchard with property owner, Eleanor Jenkins and expert orchardist Scott Miller, of Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Maine. Scott and Eleanor will lead the group with an “all Things Apples” talk and deep dive into the heritage apple trees on site. You might even get to taste some of Upland’s home grown and pressed cider!

Sample Nugget of Strategic Plan
Directions at: www.usvlt.org/annual-meeting-2018/. For more information call 603-356-9683 or email [email protected]


Reading the Forested Landscape on Mt. Surprise
Sunday, March 11, 1:00pm-3:00pm

View of North Moat from Mt. Surprise

Join USVLT for March’s edition of the Easement Exploration Series as we explore the Mt Surprise area and unravel the stories of the landscape. Looking closely at forest type, growth patterns, and signs of wildlife we can uncover clues to ‘read the landscape’ and understand the historical uses of the land and how it reflects the shifting ecology we see today.

AMC Senior Naturalist, Nancy Ritger and Land Trust staff & board members will lead the group on this Sunday afternoon spring tour.

Details and Directions:

The parking at Mt. Surprise is extremely limited so we will meet in downtown North Conway in the USVLT office parking lot to carpool from there. The parking lot is right behind the Met Coffeehouse and Olympia Sports, near the train station in downtown North Conway. Meet at 12:30pm to carpool to the site. Spring weather in New England is always unpredictable so come prepared for walking in the mud and snow. Bring water and snacks if needed. Friendly pets and neighbors welcome.

Email info (@) usvlt.org or call 356-9683 with questions.

Snowshoe Exploration of the Bull Ring & Moose Pond Brook Complex
Saturday, February 10, 9:00am-1:30pm

We are excited to once again be part of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, a series of events led by outdoor oriented organizations and companies to celebrate the how, where, and what of being active outside in Maine. The goal is to connect our friends and neighbors with the natural world, to promote fun, physical activity, & good health. Our Easement Exploration Series does just that. On Saturday February 10th, we will explore  USVLT’s largest block of conservation land in Maine – the Bull Ring and Moose Pond Brook complex.  Located in Denmark and Hiram ME, along the banks of the Saco River and Moose Pond Brook, the properties were conserved in partnership with The Nature Conservancy in 2012.  At more than 2,000 acres of contiguous conservation land, the properties are ecological gems that have many unique features, such as a heron rookery, gorgeous silver maple floodplain forest, and significant wetland complexes scattered throughout.  The properties are also beloved by local recreational enthusiasts who maintain a groomed snowmobile trail that runs from Route 117 to the Saco River and beyond. As we walk along with Maine Master Naturalist Leigh Macmillen Hayes, we’ll examine mammal tracks and sign, tree bark, winter weeds and other components of the natural communities found on this easement.

Details & Directions: Mother Nature has been tricky thus far this winter so we are not sure quite what the trails will look like day of the event. We suggest coming prepared with snowshoes and perhaps other stabilizers (like Microspikes). Dress warm and be ready to spend about 2.5 hours hiking about on easy to moderate terrain. Bring water and snacks. Because we are tracking, it’s best to leave pets at home for this event. Bring questions for our guide, Leigh Macmillen Hayes or for USVLT staff. This event is free and open to the public so feel free to bring two-legged friends and family along. 

We will meet just before 9:00am on the 10th at the Denmark Town Office and carpool from there to the property. Click on the map to the left for an expanded view of where Denmark Town Office is. Email [email protected] for more specific directions or to join an organized carpool from Conway, NH (which will leave at 8:15). Questions or concerns: call 603-356-9683 or email [email protected]


Snowshoe Exploration of the New Bald Hill Road Property
Saturday, January 20, 10am-1pm

January’s Easement Exploration Series brings us to the newly-acquired 93 acres of conservation land abutting Tin Mountain’s Rockwell Sanctuary in Albany, NH. Tin Mountain Conservation Center Teacher/ Naturalist Dexter Harding and Upper Saco Valley Land Trust President Doug Burnell will guide us as we explore the most recent USVLT & TMCC partnership land acquisition. We will be searching for animal tracks and other signs of wildlife, as well as identifying winter trees and shrubs.

Details & Directions:

Meet at TMCC’s Nature Learning Center in Albany, NH just before 10 am on Saturday, January 20th. Dress warm and bring water, a snack, and snowshoes if you have them. Need snowshoes? No problem, borrow a pair from Tin Mountain. Call 447-6991 to register. Pets on leashes welcome.


A group of excited Easement Explorers at 2017’s joint tracking workshop between USVLT & TMCC with Rick Van De Poll at East Bear Paw.

Leita Monroe Lucas Neighborhood Trail Opening
November 5th 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

The USVLT team has been working diligently to prepare our Leita Monroe Lucas Preserve for its grand opening. Throughout the summer, USVLT has brought in several community partners to build trails, develop signage, and create a safe parking area for community members to enjoy. To introduce the community to the new trails on the property, we have scheduled Neighborhood Trail Opening for the morning of November 5th as part of our monthly Easement Exploration Series. The Trail Opening will lead participants around the property, highlighting the history of its property owners and efforts to date on creating a safe place for community members to experience conservation land. Land Trust staff and board members will be present to hep answer questions you might have and cider and donuts will make the morning a true treat for all.

Some of the Volunteer AMC Trail Crew members who joined USVLT at the Preserve.

Details & Directions:

Our Trail Opening will take place on Sunday, November 5th from 10:30 to about 12:30. Cider and donuts will be provided. The Leita Monroe Lucas Preserve is located on the Conway/Chatham line on the corner of Hurricane Mountain Road and Green Hill Road. From Conway, follow 113 past the Conway Police Department and Sherman Farm. Stay straight onto Green Hill Rd and continue on for just over 3.5 miles. The new parking area for the Preserve is on the left, just before the entrance to Hurricane Mountain Rd. Friendly pets welcome. Feel free to contact USVLT at [email protected] or 603-356-9683 with questions. Trail Map below.


Joint Land Trust Paddle

Saturday September 23rd—9am-12:30(ish)  –  Kezar Lake — Lovell, Maine

As the early fall foliage begins, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust and Greater Lovell Land Trust team up for a joint paddle in western Maine where their service areas meet. Each invites its members to come explore the spectacular scenery around Kezar Lake. As we float from the lake down to the outlet, and finally to the Old Course, staff and naturalists from both land trusts will be on-hand to answer questions. The early fall colors and wildlife should add to the show. Come wander with us on Saturday the 23rd of September!

Our trip will start at 9:00 am and end around 12:30pm depending on our pace and how long we spend exploring Kezar Lake. Please bring the following: your own boat, lifejacket, sunscreen, snacks, and water! This trip is free for members of either land trust—email [email protected] or [email protected] or visit our websites: www.gllt.org/join-us/become-a-member/  or www.usvlt.org/support-our-work/ to become a member of either or both organizations today.

Event photo above: (The Kezar Lake Outlet/ Heinrich Wurm)

Please RSVP for more details (including private put-in spot and parking) by emailing [email protected] or calling the USVLT office at (603) 356-9683.

Our planned route:













Pine Hill Walkabout

Saturday July 29th—9am-11:30am  –  Pine Hill — Conway, NH

Meet at the Smith-Eastman Boat Launch (behind the Conway Police Station)

Kennett 11

We hope you have heard about our current land protection project: the Pine Hill Community Forest. This project represents the Land Trust’s largest and most complex project to date. The transaction involves two separately exceptional tracts held by the same family for 100 years. In partnership with Tin Mountain Conservation Center, USVLT plans to purchase the 436-acre Pine Hill parcel in Conway and the 93-acre Bald Hill parcel in Albany.  These parcels will be permanently protected from development and managed as working forests. USVLT will own the Pine Hill parcel “in fee” and Tin Mountain will own the Bald Hill parcel, subject to a conservation easement held by USVLT. Key conservation values of the parcel include 6,430 feet of the Conway Recreation Path with deeded public access; 125 acres of wetlands; 3,300 feet of frontage on the Saco River; and 2,600 feet of scenic, undeveloped frontage on NH Route 16 and US Route 302. For this installment of the Easement Exploration Series, we will head to the Pine Hill parcel to some of these conservation values firsthand. Local surveyor and Land Trust President, Doug Burnell, will lead the group and show us just how special this property really is.

Details and Directions:

9 am start time. This is a family-friendly event that is free and open to the public. Meet at the Smith-Eastman Boat Launch (behind the Conway Police Station) on Meeting House Rd. Parking will be in the public lot but look for “Land Trust Event” signs for guidance. Bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen and wear sturdy shoes. Pets on leashes welcome. For questions or more details, please email [email protected] or call the USVLT office at 603-356-9683.

Wildlife Management Practices on Conservation Lands

Friday July, 7th– 8:30am-11:30am  –  The Dundee Conservation Easement –  Jackson, NH

Join USVLT on a tour of the gorgeous Dundee property in Jackson, NH. A mixture of fields, forests, and wetlands, this 236-acre protected area is part of a large, unbroken habitat block with environmental diversity and scenic views. The Dundee property has been carefully stewarded for variety wildlife habitats in accordance with their “Wildlife Habitat Stewardship Plan.” This installment of the Easement Exploration Series will focus on giving our community an overview of the management practices and land stewardship activities that have occurred on this property. Bring your questions about forestry, pollinator and grassland bird habitat, orchard rehabilitation and invasive plant control–among others. We will be joined by:

  • Ellen Synder of Ibis Wildlife
  • Dick Fortin, Trout Habitat Project Coordinator at Tin Mountain Conservation Center
  • Nels Liljedahl of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services
  • Wendy Scribner, Carroll County Forester of UNH Cooperative Extension
  • Property Manager, Ann Bennett

DSC01515Details and Directions:  8:30am start time. This is a family-friendly event that is free and open to the public. Bring water, binoculars, and bug spray if you think you’ll need it. The Dundee Conservation Easement is located on Cross St (off of Dundee Rd.) in Jackson, NH.  Take Rte 16A just north of the Intervale off Route 16, travelling 2 miles on Rte 16A, then right on Dundee Road for 3.2 miles, then right on Cross Road, which leads into the property. Please park in the mowed field marked “Parking” and look for Land Trust Event signs for guidance. For questions or more details, please email [email protected] or call the USVLT office at 603-356-9683.

Compost & Worm Composting 101:

Closing the nutrient loop in your home gardens & kitchen wastes

Saturday June, 17th– 9am-11:30am  –  Weston’s Farm, Fryeburg, Maine


corn rows 2008 crop

Please join the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, Tin Mountain Conservation Center, and the UNH Cooperative Extension for a morning playing in the dirt! As part of the Easement Exploration Series and the Nature Program Series, we will head out to Weston’s Rivercroft Farm in Fryeburg, Maine to dive into the art and science of composting on small and large scales. At this scenic farm, you will hear from the land owners and staff from: the Land Trust, Tin Mountain, and UNH Cooperative Extension. Topics discussed will include how to compost at home, the science behind decomposition, getting ratios right, what feedstocks to use, and how to use compost in your garden. We will have hands-on demo looking at the life cycle of the red wiggler, the primary decomposer in vermicomposting.

Compost, when used effectively, is a great soil builder, can improve soil quality, aid in water retention, and be used a slow-release fertilizer. Join us and learn about how you can close the nutrient loop, and reduce your contribution to landfills!

Weston's Location MapWeston’s Rivercroft Farm is located at 48 River St. in Fryeburg, Maine.

Please park on the side of the street opposite the main market–look for Land Trust event signs to guidance. For questions or more details, please email [email protected] or call the USVLT office at 603-356-9683.






Spring Bird Walk

Saturday May, 6th– 7am-9am  –  Old Pinkham Farm in Jackson, NH

May’s Easement Exploration Series takes us back to the Old Pinkham Farm for a Spring Bird Walk; last year, we walked this property in search of fall migratory songbirds and we will be back again to see who has returned. This early morning bird walk will traverse the Old Pinkham Farm (Jackson XC) conservation easement in search of resident birds and early spring migrants. USVLT staff will be there to present a brief history of the property and its conservation easement and the birding will led by Anne Pillion (USVLT Board Member) and Joe Scott. This beautiful property includes a diverse habitat and landscape of rolling open meadows and woods, with frontage along the scenic Wildcat River and views of Mt. Washington. Participants may want to wear mud/water resistant shoes as the spring time snow melts are sure to have muddied the grounds. Meet at the Parking Lot on Valley Cross Rd. (near the intersection with 16B/Black Mtn. Rd.) at 7 a.m., or for carpooling, at 6:45 from the Whitney Center. We will finish the walk in time to attend the USVLT Annual Meeting at the Whitney Center at 9am.


Spring Ephemerals Walk


Saturday April, 29th– 9:45am-11:45am  –  Conway, NH

Spring has sprung and we are teaming up with Tin Mountain to start the season on the right foot. Come get muddy with us on the Kennett Conservation Easement (West Side Rd.) where we will tromp around the fields in search of the season’s first wildflowers: Blood Root, Wild Ramps, Trillium, and more! The Executive Directors of both organizations, Lori Jean Kinsey and William Abbott–both wildflower enthusiasts–will be with us to help look for signs of spring. Meet at 9:30 at Tin Mountain’s Nature Learning Center to carpool from Albany or park on site (1234 West Side Rd)  for 9:45. Look for the “Land Trust Event Signs”. Plan to spend a couple of hours walking the relatively flat but muddy surface. Wear high boots if you have them as we will encounter the Saco River and Moat Brook.  Call or email the Land Trust office with questions 603-356-9683 or info (at) usvlt.org.











Leita Monroe Lucas Snowshoe & Bonfire

Sunday, February 5th– 11:45am to 3:00pm  –  Leita Monroe Lucas Preserve in Conway, NH




















Leita Monroe Lucas Snowshoe & Bonfire
Meet at the Maine Visitors Center, Rt 302 Fryeburg

In 2012, landowner Barry Lucas donated 64 acres on the corner of Hurricane Mountain Road and Green Hill Road on the Conway/Chatham border to the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (USVLT). Since then, USVLT has worked to build and maintain a wildlife habitat and land stewardship plan that reflects and respects both the beauty and history of this property.
Join us on Sunday February 5th, as part of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, to explore the Leita Monroe Lucas property on snowshoes and enjoy a bonfire complete with s’mores. USVLT staff will update the community on: work to date, plans for the future, and what we know about the history of this property. There will be a brief walk to the historic cabin site where painter Thomas Wilmer Dewing was once a frequent visitor. This will be a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air before the onslaught of Superbowl commercials occurs!
We’ll gather at 11:45am at the State of Maine Visitor’s Center on Route 302 in Fryeburg (just over the state line from Conway, NH). From there, we’ll carpool to the site as parking is currently very limited (we have plans for a small parking area for the new trails!). Dress warm, bring snowshoes (and/or micro spikes depending on that week’s snowfall), and your own hot chocolate. See you “on the land”.

All of the tours are free of charge and have been generously funded by the Robert & Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and the Pequawket Foundation. For more details, to sign up for these trips, or with questions, email [email protected], or call 356-9683.


Winter Wildlife Tracking

Saturday, January 21st– 9:30am to 2:00pm  –  East Bear Paw Lands —  Conway, NH
















Winter Wildlife Tracking
Meet at the Maine Visitors Center, Rt 302 Fryeburg

The snow has fallen just in time for January’s installment of the Easement Exploration Series. This month, we will head to TMCC’s East Bear Paw, a 500-acre section of easement located off of Route 302, just before crossing into Maine from Conway, NH. Contained within the East Bear Paw property is a trail network, approximately 6 miles long, that is excellent for beginner mountain biking, hiking, snowshowing, and trail running.

On the 21st, Dr. Rick Van de Pol will lead us on an exploration of the Bear Paw Lands where wildlife abounds.This forested landscapety is teeming with tracks from fox to fisher and we will snowshoe in search of these and other signs of wildlife. Co-sponsored with the Tin Mountain Conservation Center.

Dress warm, bring a lunch, and snowshoes or borrow a pair from Tin Mountain. Call 447-6991 to reserve a pair of snowshoes. Email [email protected] with questions.

See you “on the land”.

Bear Paw Map

Fall Nature Walk

Saturday, October 22nd – 9:00am to 11:30ish  – South Eaton

Fall Nature Walk
Join us for an exploration of South Eaton’s quiet landscape as we meander through our Paul Hill Rd. property as part of our Easement Exploration Series. AMC’s Nancy Ritger will bring over 25 years of  experience as a naturalist to help participants interpret the land. While fall foliage will be the focus of the walk, this property is abundant with wildlife so be ready for wildlife lessons around every corner. This walk is accessible at any age, free, and open to the public. For more details or to sign-up, please email [email protected]


Saco River Paddle – “Fryeburg Float”

Saturday, September 17th, 9:00 am –  mid-afternoon –Hemlock Bridge to Walkers Bridge, exploring Kezar Pond & the Old Course  – Fryeburg, Maine

Photo Credit: Bradford Fuller

Photo Credit: Bradford Fuller

USVLT is heading out once again for Great Maine Outdoor Weekend. Twice a year, Great Maine Outdoor Weekend (GMOW) encourages outdoor oriented organizations to host events connecting friends and neighbors with the natural world, to promote fun, physical activity, and good health. Make sure to join us again this year to get outside and enjoy the great state of Maine.

This year, we will be paddling Maine’s scenic Saco River Saturday September, 17th for our GMOW event.  As the fall foliage begins, we’ll float through the spectacular scenery from Hemlock Bridge to Walker’s Bridge, exploring Kezar Pond and the old course of the Saco as we go. The early fall colors and wildlife should add to the show. USVLT staff will be on-hand to answer questions and guide the group down the river. Come wander with us!

Our trip will start at 9:00 am and end around 2:30pm depending on our pace and how long we spend exploring Kezar Pond. Sunscreen, snacks, and water are a must! This trip is free for members—boats included!! Not a member? Don’t despair! We will have membership packets with us to ensure you can enjoy this and all of our Easement Exploration Series events. If you don’t want to wait until day of to become a member, email [email protected] or visit our website: www.usvlt.org/support-our-work/ to sign up.

Please RSVP for more details by emailing [email protected] or calling our office at (603) 356-9683.

Exploring the Black Gum Trees

Saturday, August 13th, 9:00 am –  Deacon Chadbourne Preserve – Fryeburg, Maine

Deacon Chadbourne 17


Join us for an August walk to explore the ancient Blackgum Trees on the Deacon Chadbourne Preserve!  A recent donation to the Land Trust, the Deacon Chadbourne Preserve consists of 18 acres of forested upland and forested wetlands in East Fryeburg, Maine on the northerly side of Route 302.

The Deacon Chadbourne Preserve is adjacent to several other pieces of conserved land in the area, and, on its western edge, abuts The Nature Conservancy’s 600-acre Mt. Tom Preserve.Probably once used as farmland, the property is now split into two main forest types: approximately 5 acres of softwoods and 13 acres of hardwoods. The natural community of the latter is considered a Hemlock-Hardwood Pocket Swamp (State Rank S2), in part because of the presence of native Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) trees (pictured here), which are an indicator of this community type. According to a diameter-at-breast-height-to-age correlation, some Blackgum trees on the property may be more than 300 years old! USVLT’s Conservation Management Plan for this preserve makes careful note of the importance of both these special trees and the wildlife community as a whole.

USVLT’s President, Doug Burnell will tour us around the property explaining why this place is so special.

Details and Directions:

9 am start time. Pets on leashes welcome.

The Deacon Chadbourne Preserve is located on Route 302 in Fryeburg. From downtown Fryeburg, head east on 302 towards Bridgton for 5.2 miles and look for Land Trust Event signs on the left (just before the blinking light at the intersection of Hemlock Bridge Road/ Denmark Road and Route 302). Parking will be in a small lot on the left hand side of the highway.




USVLT Partners with WM-NEMBA on Mountain Bike Series

The Upper Saco Valley Land Trust is gearing up for a busy summer of fun, free, outdoor adventures.  As part of its mission to preserve land for community benefit, the Land Trust runs the “Easement Exploration Series.” The series consists of monthly outings showcasing preserved land throughout the upper Saco River region of Maine and New Hampshire and encouraging the public to get outside and enjoy conservation land.


Of note, for this year’s Easement Exploration Series, USVLT is partnering with the White Mountains Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (WM-NEMBA). The partnership will showcase some of the trail networks on USVLT’s conserved, publicly accessible properties. The series occurs on Fridays in July, August, and September at 5:30. Details include:

Friday, July 8th –Albany Town Forest. Meet at the ATF parking lot on the Kancamagus (Rt 112) about one mile west of the WMNF Saco District ranger station. 5:30 pm start, novice terrain. Pace will suit all that show up. The Town Forest was a partnership project with the Trust for Public Land, the Town of Albany, and USVLT, completed in 2012.

Friday, August 5th – Green Hills Preserve. Meet at the Hemlock Lane trailhead behind Walmart off the North-South Road. 5:30 pm start, intermediate terrain but lots of climbing, some of which is steep. In 2014, USVLT partnered with The Nature Conservancy to grow their Green Hills Preserve by more than 1,300 acres.

Friday, September 2nd – Black Cap Mountain. Meet at Cranmore (in the first parking lot on the right when coming down Skimobile Road) .for an advanced ride on Red Tail and Kettle Ridge Trails. USVLT’s Cranmore Easement dates from 2010 and protects 53 acres of beautiful forest land along the Kearsarge Brook. 5:00 pm start, The trails will be on advanced terrain with lots of steep climbing and rocky & rough descending. How fun!
All of the tours are free of charge and have been generously funded by the Robert & Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and the Pequawket Foundation. For more details, to sign up for these trips, or with questions, email [email protected], or call 356-9683.

Botany Walk

Saturday, July 23rd, 9:00 AM — Ease Fryeburg’s Cope Preserve

Join us Saturday July 23rd for a casual but informative botany walk on some of East Fryeburg’s most amazing acres! USVLT’s Executive Director, William Abbott, will lead the walk offering: the basics behind the science of botany, pointers for plant identification, and tips on how to use a key.

Kope Property_Fryeburg_12-6-2012 023

The Cope Preserve is a 100-acre bequest to USVLT. This property boast amazing views of Kezar Pond and Mount Washington as shown above.

Details and Directions:

9 am start time. The Cope Preserve is located on Osgood Lane in East Fryeburg. Heading towards Bridgton on 302, take a left at the blinking light onto Hemlock Bridge Road. Take the first right onto Sanborne Farms Road and then a left onto N Elkins Bridge Road. Osgood Lane will be on your left, look for “Land Trust Event” signs.


(Click Map for enlarged view)


 USVLT Announces 2016 Easement Exploration Series Calendar






















Spring Snowshoe Stargaze


Saturday, March 19th, 6:30 PM — Jackson’s Harding Easement


Join the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, and the NH Astronomical Society for March’s installment of the Easement Exploration Series!


This event will bring us to the Harding Easement in Jackson, NH for a guided night time snowshoe (or muck­walk!) and stargaze. Matt Amar, of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society will help the crowd with constellation identification both through his telescope and with the naked eye. This is an event not to miss! Join us by emailing [email protected] or calling USVLT at 603­356­9683 for directions and details.

Directions and Details:

Meet on the evening of the 19th just before 6:30pm. In Jackson, turn up Carter Notch Rd, passing Jackson Falls. Continue 0.9 miles past the Eagle Mt House. Park in the Jackson Ski Touring parking lot on right, just before a brown cabin. If you reach a turn sign for 16B you have gone too far.

What to Expect:

On the 19th, the sun will be setting around 7pm, so our 6:30 arrival should leave us plenty of time to introduce ourselves and get acquainted to the property in the daylight. As the sun sets, we will walk/snowshoe/muck around the Harding Easement to where Matt Amar of the NH Astronomical Society has set up his telescope. Telescopic objects to be see should include: the Orion Nebula, Jupiter with the four Galilean moons, double stars such as Mizar & Alcor, open star clusters such as the Pleides and Hyades, perhaps a globular star cluster or galaxy depending on washout from the Moon light and of course Luna (our moon).  Non telescopic items will be various constellations and showing folks how to find objects by star-hopping.

There is no telling what the weather/skies have in store for us on the 19th but the event is going to be amazing rain or shine, cloudy or clear!

Come prepared:

Come ready to walk for about two hours in whatever the Woodchuck Fields have to offer us. This winter has been a crazy one and we are not sure what conditions might be waiting for us on the eve of the Spring Equinox. Sturdy boots and headlamps/flashlights are a must! We are bringing: snowshoes, micro-spikes, warm clothes, water, headlamps, and a camera just to be safe!


Snowshoe Exploration of the Burnt Meadow Mountains

Saturday, February 13th, 9:30 AM — Brownfield’s King/Hayes Easement


Version 2








(Photo Credit: Property Owners Ken King & Olga Hayes)

We are excited to announce another semi-annual Great Maine Outdoor Weekend trip. This February we will be join thousands of others in the great State of Maine in getting outside and enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. This year, we will venture into the Burnt Meadow Mountains in Brownfield, Maine on USVLT’s King/Hayes Easement. We will tour this gorgeous property on snowshoes, lead by USVLT Staff and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Nels Lilljedahl. Join us for an exploration of this beautiful easement complete with a look out tower and mysterious man-made stone structure.

This event is FREE to the public and pets welcome on leashes. Check out this event and other GMOW trips on the GMOW website.

Directions & Parking: From the five corners in Brownfield, take Route 160 south almost to the Porter Town Line. Sewall Day Road will be on the right. Take that road up as far as you can. There is a circle that goes around a pond. Please park along this circle. Four wheel drive cars recommended.

For more information, as always, contact USVLT at 603-356-9683 or email [email protected].






Map of Sewall Day Rd. (Click to enlarge)






Nature in Winter: Snowshoe Tour

Saturday, January 16th, 9:30 AM — North Conway’s Cranmore Easement:










Join us for an exploration of the gorgeous Cranmore Easement in North Conway. We will wind through the Red Tail Trail that begins on Hurricane Mountain Rd and follows along the Kearsarge Brook. Maine Master Naturalist Leigh Macmillen Hayes will lead us on a tour of the trail, pointing out the magic of the winter season along the way. Tree identification, animal tracking, and more! Dress warm, plan to spend two to three hours exploring, and bring friends and family of any ability. Pets on leashes welcome! Call or email USVLT at 603-356-9683 or [email protected] with any questions.

Cranmore Map










Leita Monroe Lucas Preserve Clean Up

Saturday November 14th, 9:00am



This property, in the northeast corner of Conway, was given to us at the end of 2012, and offers excellent opportunities for public access and amenities. The property borders a branch of Weeks Brook, and in recent years, we’ve sketched out a trail from the road to a series of stunning pools along the brook. USVLT’s President, Doug Burnell will lead us in a variety of clean up activities ranging from trail maintenance and clearing, trash pick-up, general sorting of onsite materials (remnants of the old cabin), and the like. Come help us clean up the property and build the trail so that we may all continue to enjoy this preserved land!

MEETING PLACE: We’ll gather at 9:00am at the State of Maine Visitor’s Center on Route 302 in Fryeburg (just over the state line). From there, we’ll carpool to the site (parking is currently very limited… but we also have plans for a small parking area for the new trails!).

Come armed with gloves, thick sturdy boots, water, and a can-do attitude!  And please RSVP to [email protected] so that we have an idea of the number of tools to bring (or bring your own).

Fall Songbird Migration

Saturday, October 17, 7:30 AM — Jackson:

Join us for an early morning exploration of Old Pinkham Farm in Jackson. As the leaves turn and the nights get cooler, mid-October offers us a great opportunity to experience the fall songbird migration. Naturalists April Costa and Will Broussard will lead us on a tour of the Old Pinkham Farm (Jackson Ski Touring property) in Jackson. April, formerly an intern with USVLT and Tin Mountain, now works for The Society for the Protection of NH Forest; Will Broussard is with the Mount Washington Observatory.
























The Old Pinkham Farm, at 60+ acres, has a diversity of wildlife habitats including open fields, forests, wetlands, headwater streams, and riparian forests associated with the Wildcat River. This time of year, as many songbirds prepare for their journey south, they begin flocking together. While not as gregarious and flashy as in the spring, we hope to glimpse many of the birds before we bid them farewell for the rest of the year. The Old Pinkham Farm, with its diverse habitats, is the perfect place for viewing mixed flocks, and all sorts of other birds (resident or migratory).

Our trip will start at 7:30 am last for two or three hours, depending on our pace and the weather. We will meet at the intersection of Valley Cross Road and Black Mountain Road in Jackson (northwest corner). Parking is very limited – please carpool (or start your birding earlier and walk from the falls on Carter Notch Road!). Room for a few cars is also available across from the Christmas Farm Inn on Black Mountain Road, one hundred yards south of the meeting place. Please call the office at 603-356-9683 with any questions or if you need more details.

This trip is free for everyone – bring your friends and family. It’s best to leave pets at home for this one.












April Costa will be co-leading our exploration.


Saco River Paddle, Sunday, September 27 — Fryeburg & Brownfield:

Paddling the Saco through the Valley’s southern floodplain forest. This exploration of the Maine side of the Saco coincides with Great Maine Outdoor Weekend.


Join us for an exploration of Maine’s scenic Saco River Sunday September, 27th.  As the Fall foliage begins, we’ll float through the spectacular Silver Maple Floodplain Forest from Lovewell Pond in Fryeburg to Woodland Acres in Brownfield, and check out the miles of conservation land at the river’s edge along the way. Bald eagles, herons, turning leaves… perfect.


Our trip will start at 9:00 am and end around 12 noon. This trip is free for members—boats included!! Not a member? Don’t despair! We will have membership packets with us to ensure you can enjoy this and all of our Easement Exploration Series events. If you don’t want to wait until day of to become a member, email [email protected] or visit our website: www.usvlt.org/support-our-work/.


This fieldtrip is part of the Land Trust’s ongoing Easement Exploration Series.  To sign up for future announcements of Easement Exploration field trips, email [email protected].  Funding is provided by the Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and the Pequawket Foundation.



Date Change!! August 15th Mountain Biking Tour Now Scheduled for Saturday August 22nd.


August 15 22 — Conway: Mountain biking in the Mt Washington Valley


bear paw


YES – conservation and mountain biking CAN work together!  Join us for a tour – on wheels! – of one of the many conservation lands in Conway that also boasts excellent mountain biking trails.  The tour will showcase Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s “East Bear Paw” parcel. This parcel has been lovingly stewarded by both Tin Mountain staff and members of our local chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association.  The tour aims to demonstrate that mountain-biking and single-track trails, if planned and constructed properly, can work together with conservation goals. Getting out on bikes will allow explorers to see the most of this beautiful 500 acre parcel. We will be meeting at 9:00am at the Maine state line Visitor’s Center. Please bring your own gear and let us know if you plan to attend by emailing [email protected] or calling (603) 356 9683.


Charles Pond Paddle in North Fryeburg, Saturday, July 11th, 8:30-early afternoon

Join us for an exploration of North Fryeburg’s calm, quiet waterways.  A joint trip with the Greater Lovell Land Trust, we’ll explore properties preserved by both organizations.  The tentative route will include Kezar Lake’s Lower Bay, the Kezar Lake outlet, the Charles River, and Charles Pond.  The exact route will be determined by water levels closer to the date but will include gorgeous scenery and amazing wildlife.

Russell 034

This trip is part of the Easement Exploration Series and is generously underwritten by the Dorothy and Robert Goldberg Charitable Foundation and the Pequawket Foundation.  Space is limited and the trip is reserved for Land Trust members.  To become a member, visit www.usvlt.org/support-our-work/.  And thank you!


Hiking the Green Hills (DATE CHANGE) – May 16th, 9am

As part of the Easement Exploration Series, join Jeff Lougee with The Nature Conservancy in an exploration of the Green Hills Preserve in Conway!  The trips will be a moderate-to-strenuous hike, leaving from North Conway and heading south into the 1,200 acres just acquired and joined to the Preserve.

Email [email protected] for more information and to sign up for other Easement Exploration Series walks.




Winter Tree ID on Mount Surprise! Saturday, March 28th, 10am – 12:30pm

How do you tell which tree it is — with NO leaves?

Join plant guy, naturalist and USVLT Board Member Wink Lees for an exploration of the recently acquired Mount Surprise conservation easement, with a focus on identifying leafless deciduous trees.

andrews_002Directions: from Route 16/302, head east on Hurricane Mountain Road for 1.1 miles until the “four corners” intersection with Kearsarge Road and Mount Surprise Road.  Turn left up Mount Surprise Road and follow it all the way to the end.  The group will gather at the end of the road and head into the preserve from there.  Depending on weather, bring snowshoes or other appropriate footwear.


 Tracking Workshop, 1/10/2015 10am – 1pm

Join USVLT staff and naturalist Chris Lewey of Raven Interpretive Programs for an exploration of the Sandquist Preserve in Jackson.  The property boasts thousands of feet of protected frontage along the Wildcat River, as well as excellent upland habitat.  With a good dusting of snow, we should be in for some great tracking!


Directions: From Jackson Village, take Carter Notch Road north for approximately four miles to Meloon Road.  Turn right on Meloon Road, crossing the Wildcat River, and park at the end of the road (a short cul-de-sac).  From the parking area, we’ll travel south down the Wildcat Valley Trail to the Sandquist Preserve.

We’ll plan to meet at the end of Meloon Road at 10 am, but please arrive earlier with enough time to don snowshoes, and come dressed for the weather!

This tracking workshop is part of the ongoing Easement Exploration Series.  To receive notifications of other Easement Explorations, email [email protected].  Funding for the Easement Exploration Series is provided by the Robert & Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and the Pequawket Foundation.  Thank you!


 Monroe Lucas Preserve – Trail Work and Fall Cleaning! 10/18, 8:30 – 12:30

Help us with trail work — and clean up of an historic cabin site!

This property, in the northeast corner of Conway, was given to us at the end of 2012, and offers excellent opportunities for public access and amenities.  The property borders a branch of Weeks Brook, and in the past year, we’ve sketched out a trail from the road to a series of stunning pools along the brook.  Come help us continue to build the trail!

The property also has the remains of the summer cottage of renowned American Impressionist painter Thomas Wilmer Dewing.  The cabin site needs some work, as you can see.  Other trash items onsite include old tires, TV sets, and other remnants of a less-glorious recent past.


 Saturday, October 18th, 8:30 – 12:30, East Conway.

MEETING PLACE: we’ll gather at 8:30 at the State of Maine Visitor’s Center on Route 302 in Fryeburg (just over the state line).  From there, we’ll carpool to the site (parking is currently very limited… but we also have plans for a small parking area for the new trails!).

Come armed with gloves, thick sturdy boots, and a can-do attitude!  And please RSVP to [email protected] so that we have an idea of the number of tools to bring (or bring your own).  AND — thank you!


Fryeburg Float!  — 9/27, 9am – early afternoon

Bald eagles, herons, turning leaves… perfect. We’ll float through the spectacular Silver Maple Floodplain Forest in Fryeburg, from Walker’s Bridge to Lovewell Pond, and check out the miles of conservation land at the river’s edge along the way.

RSVP required. For planning purposes, we’ll need to know how many are in your party and how many boats you need (please bring your own if possible). You can email this information to [email protected]. Shuttles back to parked cars will be available. Equipment provided on a first come, first serve basis.




Apple Cultivation Walk & Talk – 9/13, 10am – 12noon

Saturday, September 13th, 10am – 12 noon – Apple Cultivation

 Join Bill Lord with UNH Cooperative Extension at the Uplands Apple Farm for a session all about apples.  We’ll discuss pruning and picking and general care for apples on this beautiful Eaton property, which boasts dozens of apple varieties, many of which are extremely rare.


The Uplands Apple Farm is owned by Eleanor Jenkins, and has been “in easement” with the Land Trust since 2007.

Directions: Go to King Pine/ Purity Springs Resort on Route 153, and then proceed south on Route 153 for 1/4 mile to Horseleg Hill Road, on the left.  Proceed up Horseleg Hill Road, which will become Towle Hill Road, for 2.1 miles.  Uplands Apple Farm will be on the left, #381 Towle Hill Road.

This fieldtrip is part of the Land Trust’s ongoing Easement Exploration Series.  To sign up for future announcements of Easement Exploration fieldtrips, email info@usvlt.org.  Funding is provided by the Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and the Pequawket Foundation.


Saco River Trip – Friday August 22nd, 9am – early afternoon

Reserve your spot now by emailing info@usvlt.org

Join fluvial geomorphologist John Field, PhD, for a “floating foray” and discussion about the Saco from First Bridge to Davis Park in Conway.  We’ll discuss the natural movement of the Saco, where it is today, where it wants to be in the future, and what that means for conservation lands.  The focus will be on erosion issues and loss of prime farmland soils – and how to plan appropriately for the future.  (And we’ll be sure to point out neat wildlife, plants, and natural communities along the way, too!)



Meet at 9 AM sharp at First Bridge.  Depending on weather and river conditions, the trip may last until mid-afternoon.  Boats will be available, as well as a shuttle back to parked cars.


RSVP REQUIRED.  To plan for this trip, we’ll need to know how many folks are in your party, if you have your own boats or need one to be reserved for you.


Foss Mountain Blueberries! 7/19 9:30am – 11:30am


Join blueberry grower Ryan Bushnell atop Foss Mountain for a tour of blueberry cultivation techniques on a gorgeous piece of conservation land!  Email info@usvlt.org for more information.


“Cove Forest” Botanical Exploration in Jackson — Saturday June 14, 8:30 am

Maidenhair Fern!  Blue cohosh!  Ginseng!  Join USVLT staff and Kori Marchowsky with the US Forest Service for an exploration of some rich sites in Jackson.  We’ll start at the Simone Preserve at the intersection of Eagle Mountain Road and Route 16 in Jackson, and then explore into some adjacent areas of the White Mountain National Forest.  Meet at 8:30am at the bottom of Eagle Mountain Road (park on the shoulder of the road).

2013-04-30_07-40-44_499_red_trillium_croppedBe prepared to bush whack off trail, and for some botanizing!  If handy, bring a hand lens and a botanical key.

“Cove Forests”  are identified by deep loamy soils and a protected position on the landscape, such as a at the bottom of a steep slope, where wind and weather stressors are mitigated.  They are more common in the Southern Appalachians, and are technically called “rich mesic forests” in the Natural Communities of New Hampshire.  These forests depend on something called the “colluvial process,” where organic matter and sediments often accumulate on or below steep slopes, such as on talus slopes, in ravines, in drainages, and below cliffs.   The resulting rich soils can create habitats for plants like blue cohosh, painted trilliums, and Dutchmen’s breeches, and many species of ferns — called “rich site indicators” in the trade.

We’ve confirmed locations of some gorgeous rich-site indicators onsite, some of them Threatened (State listing), and will be looking for more!


 Explore Green Hills!  Saturday 5/3 8:30am – 12pm

greenhillsexpansion-490x250-jkPhoto: Joe Klementovich; the area of the Green Hills proposed for acquisition.

Explore the diverse natural communities of the proposed Green Hills expansion lands with The Nature Conservancy’s Wink Lees and Upper Saco Valley Land Trust’s William Abbott.  We’ll journey to the western portion of the property, checking out its unique dry pine communities, open rocky ground and ridge views and looking for signs of wildlife along the way.  Get your dose of history as we dive into how fire has shaped this ecosystem, and its relationship (in more recent times) to the Redstone Quarry, once one of the state’s leading sites for “red” granite.

Pitch_pine_rocky_ridge_natl_commPhoto: Dan Sperduto; example of Pitch Pine Rocky Ridge Natural Community


Meet at parking lot for Conway Police Station/Conway District Court
35 East Conway Road
Center Conway, NH 03813
(corner of Route 302 and East Conway Road)

From North Conway Village:

  • Take Route 16 south to Route 302 east (Eastman Road)
  • Follow Route 302 east for approx. 1.6 miles
  • Turn left onto East Conway Road
  • Parking lot is on the corner of Route 302 and East Conway Road


 Vernal Pools with Ellen Snyder – Easement Exploration Series 4/19 8:30am

An upcoming workshop and field trip sure to ring in the spring!


On April 19th, wildlife biologist Ellen Snyder and Doug Burnell will lead us on an exploration of vernal pools and other wildlife habitat features on The Burnell Group, a large conserved land that lies on the border of Fryeburg, Conway and Chatham. Snyder, of Ibis Wildlife Consulting (ibiswildlife.com), has written management plans for local landowners concerned about maintaining healthy populations of wildlife while increasing the ecological health of their land. To attend April’s upcoming walk, meet at the Maine State Visitor’s Center on Route 302 at 8:30 AM to carpool to the property. Be prepared for a 3-hour walk off-trail and some wet ground or snow in shady patches.


Winter Carnival in Brownfield — 2/15 10am to sunset

Small mammal tracking, sledding, sleigh rides, skiing, hot cider… they’re all on offer!

The owners and neighbors of the Chamberlain Farm in Brownfield are graciously opening their doors to USVLT members and the general community for good old-fashioned wintertime fun.  The events run all day, and as part of the ongoing Easement Exploration Series, there will be a tracking workshop onsite from 10am to 12 noon.

Activities include:
-skiing (~4KM groomed for skate skiing)
-snowshoeing (on ~6KM of additional trails, or off-track)
-sleigh rides (with a draft horse!)
-sledding & tobogganing

10 AM to 12 PM — Wildlife tracking with Chris Lewey, Raven Interpretive Wildlife Programs
10 AM to 4 PM — Over 10 km of trails open for your skiing or snowshoeing enjoyment, all day long!
11 AM to 4 PM — Hot soup, snacks, cider and hot chocolate available in warming huts, all day long!
12 Noon — Potluck lunch
3:30 PM — Gather and get warm next to two fire pits

Please, dress warmly and appropriately!
-Cost: $0 (donations appreciated)
-Registration NOT required
-Equipment NOT provided – please bring your own or borrow from a friend
-With a draft horse onsite, it’s best to leave your dogs at home

Address / Directions: 153 Chamberlain Road, Brownfield, Maine (off of Eaton Center Road, right next to the ME/NH border).  Also see the Chamberlain Farm website.

Rain Cancels the Event (Sorry).


Floodplain Forest Float! – 9/28 8:30AM


As part of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, and our ongoing Easement Exploration Series, we’re hosting a Floodplain Forest Float on Saturday, September 28th from 8:30AM to 1PM.  We’ll put in at Walker’s Bridge on Route 302 and take out at Lovewell Pond off Route 113.  Reserved for Land Trust members; please RSVP by emailing info@usvlt.org.  We’ll follow up with the logistics.

For more than 90 other events occurring across the state of Maine on 9/27 – 9/29, see the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend website! (greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org)



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Upper Saco Valley Land Trust
PO Box 424
North Conway, NH 03860
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(603) 356-9683

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