Bear-Paw Regional Greenways is a land trust that protects important wildlife habitat in southern New Hampshire. Its work in Hooksett has helped to double the amount of conserved land in that town, including ponds, trails, and rare species habitat.
Mark West, a wetlands scientist and chair of Bear Paw’s wetlands protection committee, took us on a tour of some of the area they’ve helped to conserve including Clay Pond, which is protected for water supply. “There are two houses in the entire watershed, so you can imagine how clean that is. And protecting all these watersheds that drain to Massabesic Lake, protects the water supply for the biggest city in the state.”
The Hinman Pond Reserve, on the other hand, was conserved to protect wildlife like moose, bear and bobcat. West says, “Some of the species that need more space, more room to roam.”
“Bear Paw has just been instrumental in helping us with our conservation efforts, “ says Steve Couture of the Hooksett Conservation Commission. “We had about 12-percent of the land protected when we started and now we’re up to about 24-percent.” He cites their “expertise, the access to and knowledge of funding sources, and ability to ensure stewardship over time.”
West describes the land as more than a necessity, “it’s kind of a gift to have wild places within a fifteen minute drive of downtown Manchester.