Members: Marcia McKenna, Chair; Josh Shackford, Selectmen’s Rep; Ralph Lutjen; Nancy Devine; Marc Ohlson; Emily Bass; Ted Slader, Alternate
Administrative Assistant: Colleen King
Phone: 603-367-4332 x302
State Statute 36-A authorizes towns to establish a conservation commission for the proper utilization and protection of the natural resources and for the protection of watershed resources of the town.
The Madison Conservation Commission is committed to conservation of high quality land for open space. The intent is to set aside certain properties for conservation use and thereby limit future development in sensitive locations that are of high environmental, recreational, or historical value. Conservation lands offer opportunities for enjoyment of recreational activities as well as the educational benefits that can be gained by visiting these special areas.
The Commission meets the first Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.
Description of Areas Dedicated to Conservation: Details of each property, including access, can be found in the Conservation Commission notebook, Town Conservation Land & Easement Property Reports copies of which are at Town Hall and the Madison Library.
1. Herbert Burke Forest: 105 acres Map 258, Lots 6 and 7
The Burke Town Forest is a town owned forest located in the southern part of Madison, divided by the Class VI Black Brook Road. It borders the Goodwin Town Forest and the Freedom Town Forest. It was given for $1.00 to the Town by John and Millie Burke in 1926. The gift was the first such gift to a town in New Hampshire. The snow mobile/logging trail up the hillside off Black Brook Road is well delineated, though subject to some erosion. This trail leads hikers up to Trout Pond.
2. West Branch: 49 acres Map 134, Lot 25 & Map 134, Lot 14
The West Branch is a strip of land 198 feet wide measured from the banks of the West Branch Stream that drains southward from the Silver Lake Dam. From each bank east and west, the property extends 100 feet. The stream flows to the Freedom town line. The property is mainly surrounded by The Nature Conservancy’s pine barren reserves. It was purchased from Central Maine Power Company in 1956 for $1.
3. Blair’s Location: 45 acres Map 207, Lot 5
Blair’s Location is a land-locked forest off the southern part of Ledge Pond in the northern part of the Town Of Madison. It has 1000 feet of shore frontage. It is mainly bordered by lands owned by Pike Industries and Coleman’s. The land was bought by the Town in 1929.
4. Hurricane Point: 6 acres Map 126, Lots 6 and 22
Hurricane Point borders Silver Lake, while an additional lot is across the East Shore Drive and has 2.9 acres of land. There is a simple trail that brings hikers from East Shore Drive to the point and loops through the property. There are no trails on the East Shore lot.
The land was gifted by Frank E. Kennett Jr. and A. Crosby Kennett. E.E. Cummings did some of his early writings (The Enormous Room published in 1922) in a tree house at the point.
5. Big Island: 3 acres Map 119, Lot 4
Big Island is located in the northeastern section of Silver Lake. It is the lake’s largest island. There is a footpath on the island and a small beach on the western side where people often picnic. The island was purchased by citizens matched equally with funds from the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development in 1973 for $22,000.
6. The Malcolm P. McNair Conservation Easement: 133 acres Map 246, Lot 13; 148 acres and Map 246, Lot 8;
These two easements were donated to the Town in 1976 and include land around Durgin Pond and south-east of Lead Mine Road.
7. The McNair Conservation Easement: 323 acres Map 250, Lot 1 and 2
This land contains 4 easements and includes the peak of Stacy Mountain, the Bald Ledges.
8. Gage Lot: (also known as The Everett Parker Property) 85 acres Map 259, Lot 4
The property is forested with hard wood and has many rocks and steep slopes. A trail that starts at the top of Stacy Mountain meanders through the property en route to Trout Pond. The trail currently has no markings 13 acres are in the town of Freedom. It was donated to the Town in 1983.
9. Kennett Park: 0.7 acres Map 118, Lot 3
Kennett Park is located on Rte 113 and is less than an acre in size. . It borders Rte II, Silver Lake, the Chick Packaging commercial property, and a private residence. There is a small launching beach for kayaks or canoes and a swim area. There are picnic tables available. It was donated to the Town in 1982.
10. Cedar Swamp (The Stuart Mudd Memorial Natural Preserve): 105 acres Map 210, Lot 4
The area contains a unique swamp that supports large Northern White Cedar trees in their most southernmost range. It contains a gently sloping stream bank, heavily shaded by hemlock, and supports many stems of a rare orchid, the Green Adder’s Mouth. The property is landlocked with a strictly limited right-of-way. The land is usually accessed off the Boulder Road and through The Nature Conservancy’s land. Beavers flooded the swamp in 2002 causing damage to some of the cedars. The Mudd family donated the land to the Town in 1985.
11. Loon Island: Map 130, Lot 7
This small island located in the western part of Silver Lake was donated to the Town in 2004 by the Kitchen family.
12. Currier Lot: 35 acres Map 221, Lot 11
There are no formal trails on the property. The property may be accessed over the power line corridor or the railroad right-of-way. The property is a natural forest and wildlife preserve. It was donated to the Town in 1n 1988 by Thomas and Virginia Currier.
13. Goodwin Forest: 226 acres Map 258, Lot 8
The marsh area of the forest offers spectacular views of a natural wetland. A trail around the marsh was constructed by the Town Forester, with the help of school children, in approximately 1995. It is annually cleared of fallen timber by members of the Madison Conservation Commission. A large portion of the forest contains pitch pine and in 2007 the Town and the USDA entered into a 8- year agreement to restore the pitch pine environment with clearings and prescribed burns to take place from 2012 to 2016. These actions will help the natural ecology of these threatened trees. The land was donated to the Town by Herbert and Betsy Goodwin in 1984. A timber sale was conducted in the Winter of 2007-2008 to improve forest quality.
14. Louise S. Wold Conservation Land: 71 acres Map 205, Lot 19
The conservation is located off Allard Hill Road, an extension of Tasker Hill Road off Hwy 153 in Conway near the Legion property. Mrs. Wold donated the land to be used in its natural state to help educate children and preserve for the future. The Madison Conservation Commission employed Forest Land Improvement Inc to form a forest stewardship plan in June 2004. Two scenic views and several wildlife cuts were lumbered in the late spring of 2005. An initial trail was outlined with primitive stakes and directional signs and published on a small handout and placed in a box at the entrance of the lot. There are two scenic views that face toward the west and east. UNH undergraduates did a small semester project regarding trails and natural resource inventory in 2006.
15. Nickerson Town Forest & Transfer Station: 17 acres Map 115, Lot 27
The Nickerson Town Forest is located on the northern border of the Lyman Town Forest and borders Boulder Road. Approximately 40 % of the property contains the Transfer Station. There are no trails on the property.
16. The Ward Parcel: 47 acres Map 233, Lot 84 The Ward Parcel is located on the westerly side of Rte113 and abuts other land owed by the Town of Madison known as Burke Field, the Town garage, and the Library. It could be considered one of five sections of a “Madison Center”:
l) the school parcel;
2) Burke Field;
3) the “Greene” Parcel which includes the Town Hall, Fire Station, the Town Garage, and the Library;
4) the newly purchased Madison Garage property; and finally
5) The Ward Parcel. The Madison Conservation Commission commissioned Forest Land Improvement, Inc. in 2000 to prepare a management recommendation for the forest on the property, and funded the establishment of a trail through the property in 2004. The reconstruction of the southern border is taking place in 2008 while the back northern section can be used for trails. The land was purchased in 1993.
17. Cascades: 25 acres Map 234, Lot 10
For over 100 years Madison residents have been enjoying hikes along Forrest Brook to the Cascades. The hiking trail is accessed along the south side of the Madison Historical Society building on East Madison Road. It leads to the cascading Forrest Brook, otherwise known as the Madison Cascades. The Town bought the land in 2004.
18. Lyman Town Forest: 36 acres Map 221, lots 10 and 15
The forest is comprised of two lots which are separated by the Boston and Maine Railroad track, bordered partially to the west by Davis Pond and west of the Public Service of New Hampshire right-of-way in the northern part. There are no trails established on the property. The property was bought by the Town in 1985.
These properties and easements offer different public interest and recreational activities, such as water access, views, forests, meadows, wetlands ,hiking trails, cross country skiing, fishing, hunting, and points of interest.
In addition, there are state and privately protected areas, including land protected by The Nature Conservancy:
1. West Branch Pine Barrens Preserve 1,114 acres;
2. Madison Boulder Woods, 211 acres;
3. Hartshorne Conservation easement, 313 acre;
The Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary; Madison Boulder Park; the Elaine Connors Wildlife Center; along with several other easements granted to Green Mountain Conservation Group and other trusts.