Places We Protect

Frank Bolles Nature Reserve

New Hampshire

A man and two boys look at a sign-in sheet at a register box in the woods. A wooden sign in the foreground reads Frank Bolles Nature Reserve. The Nature Conservancy.
Frank Bolles Preserve NH Hikers sign in at the Frank Bolles Preserve in Tamworth, New Hampshire © Rebecca Laflam

The preserve includes forest lands, wooded swamps, upland streams, and woodland clearings



This preserve in Tamworth is 247 acres of outstanding diversity including forests, swamps, streams, glacially formed kettleholes and eskers, with frontage on Chocorua Lake.

The Frank Bolles Nature Reserve lies at the foot of Mount Chocorua and touches the northern shore of Chocorua Lake in Tamworth. Protected for its outstanding diversity, the preserve includes forest lands, wooded swamps, upland streams, woodland clearings, glacially formed kettleholes and eskers, and lake frontage. Each of these ecosystems supports a considerable array of plants and wildlife: approximately one hundred and sixty species each of flora and fauna have been observed within the preserve. Moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, porcupine, red fox, short-tailed weasel, raccoon, otter, and snowshoe hare are some of the species that occupy this unique natural area.

The preserve is well buffered by thickly-wooded, privately-owned areas to the east and south. Just north is the White Mountain National Forest; the 268-acre Clark Reserve owned by the Chocorua Lake Conservation Foundation lies along the preserve's western flank. Together, the Frank Bolles Nature Preserve and the Clark Reserve form a 518-acre natural area.

The Frank Bolles Nature Reserve was a gift from Evelyn Bolles Phenix, daughter of the 19th century naturalist and writer Frank Bolles (1856–1894), in 1969. It is managed for The Nature Conservancy by the Chocorua Lake Conservation Foundation.




247 acres

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One of the most interesting features of the Frank Bolles Nature Preserve is Heron Pond, an eight-acre kettlehole whose water level fluctuates in a strange manner not entirely related to water tables. At times, the water level is so low that the pond's small island is connected to the mainland on both sides, dividing Heron Pond into two ponds. On the neighboring Clark Reserve is "The Valley of the Boulders," an unusual deposit of large glacial boulders, many cleaved by frost action. From the shore of Chocorua Lake, the reserve's terrain rises gradually and steadily westward to an altitude of 1,100 feet at the summit of Bickford Heights. The peak is about thirty feet over the border into the Clark Reserve.

The preserve is open to the public for passive recreational, educational, and scientific uses.