Birch Ridge Community Forest

Location Information

view of birch ridge from raslavicus mmrg

Birch Ridge Community Forest

The Birch Ridge Community Forest in New Durham rises over Merrymeeting Lake with stunning views of mountains to the north, including Mt. Molly, Mt. Bet, Mt. Caverly, and even Mt. Washington on a clear day. In partnership with MMRG, the Merrymeeting Lakes Association, and the Town of New Durham, the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) purchased the Birch Ridge Community Forest in June 2019. MMRG holds a conservation easement on the property. Major grant awards were received from the US Forest Service Community Forest Program, the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and the NH Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resources Mitigation Program (ARM), along with more than $1.8 million in private donations.

Much has been done on the BRCF since the property was acquired. A citizen steering committee, that included members from MMRG, developed a management plan for the stewardship of the BRCF forest, wildlife, water, and recreational resources. The public is invited to the BRCF for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, wildlife watching, cross-country skiing/snowshoeing, and snowmobiling on State Corridor Trail 22. A new hiking trail has been established on Mt. Eleanor, and additional trails are being developed on Rattlesnake Mountain and Birch Ridge. Snowmobile trails have been repaired from recent logging damage and are an important component of the 10+ miles of wood roads and trails available for public recreation. During 2020, new public parking areas were constructed along Merrymeeting and Birch Hill Roads. Kiosks with property information and trail markers are being installed. As 2020 draws to a close, SELT will be posting updated trail and access information on their webpage. In addition, SELT has completed fundraising to acquire two new parcels abutting the BRCF that will add another 640 acres to the community forest in the Spring 2021.

The BRCF is located within MMRG’s highest priority Conservation Focus Area. The property filters clean water to Merrymeeting Lake to the north and Coldrain Pond to the south. It offers essential habitat to wide ranging species such as moose, deer, bear and bobcat, as well as providing nesting habitat for a myriad of resident and migratory birds. MMRG has hosted hawk watches and other birding trips on the BRCF, and public programs for the coming year are being developed.

Links to More Information:

Visit Official Property Page (SELT)

“Hawks and Walks at Birch Ridge Community Forest”

“The Birch Ridge Community Forest Envisioned”

“Fun with Fungi and Visions of Birch Ridge”

Original Conservation Announcement

Conservation Announcement from SELT

Land Details

Year Conserved
2019
Acreage
2004
MMRG's Interest
Conservation Easement
Trails?
Yes
Public Access?
Yes
Kiosk?
Yes

Location

Address
Merrymeeting Road, New Durham, Strafford County, New Hampshire, 03855, United States

Holder Information

Fee Holder
SELT