, Derry, New Hampshire

September 5, 2013

Conservation officials eye key property to protect

High Range Road property would be used for conservation

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — A tract of land on High Range Road is closer to becoming part of the town’s official landscape.

A 12-acre parcel owned by David and George Hicks is being eyed by town officials as a perfect choice to add to the list of town-owned conservation properties.

Conservation Commission members hosted a public hearing Aug. 27 to hear more details about the proposed land purchase.

The Hicks family approached the town and is willing to sell the property for $60,000.

It’s a valuable piece that will add a lot to that area and nearby properties, officials say. That’s because it abuts another conservation piece known as the Plummer property.

“It’s linked to other protected land by conserved wetlands,” Conservation Commission member Michael Speltz said. “The Plummer land surrounds this land.”

Having the Hicks piece makes future connections possible with trails from other properties, too.

“It’s a very worthy addition,” Speltz said.

Right now, it’s difficult for those who use the trails to make those connections. The Plummer land doesn’t have good access for pedestrians, who end up crossing private properties to get to other town-owned points of destination.

Adding the Hicks piece to the puzzle would solve that problem.

The property also has an extensive wetland, about 3 to 4 acres, along with many trails for hiking, skiing, walking, riding and biking.

“It’s a real advantage,” Speltz said. “It’s a nicely managed piece of land. It looks good.”

People who enjoy nature would find this property a good location for doing those outdoor activities they love, still close to civilization, but close to the forest and the trees, officials say.

“You are next to High Range, to the main thoroughfare in town, but still in the woods,” Speltz said.

Conservation Commission member Paul Nickerson said the Hicks’ land also boasts a lot of wildlife.

“This is a magnificent tract,” he said. “It’s everything a conservationist would dream about if they were going to preserve a piece of land.”

Officials are recommending the purchase. They will take abutters’ concerns to heart about policing the land and making sure rules are followed for safe and allowed recreational uses.

Town councilors will have the final say on approving the deal.