Alena Warren of the Strafford County Conservation District and Conservancy Stewardship Ecologist Joanne Glode get ready to plant willow stakes at the Lamprey River Preserve.
Lamprey River Tree Planting: Alena Warren of the Strafford County Conservation District and Conservancy Stewardship Ecologist Joanne Glode get ready to plant willow stakes at the Lamprey River Preserve. © Megan Latour/The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Lamprey River Preserve

New Hampshire

With alternating stretches of whitewater and quiet water, the Lamprey River has been loved by Seacoast paddlers and fishing enthusiasts for generations.

The Lamprey River is one of only two New Hampshire rivers designated as a National Wild and Scenic River. Its alternating stretches of whitewater and quiet water have been loved by Seacoast paddlers and fishing enthusiasts for generations. The Lamprey is a major tributary of the Great Bay Estuary and its river corridor and uplands provide important habitat for plants and animals.

The 232-acre tract comprising the Lamprey River Preserve in Durham is one of the largest undeveloped tracts of land along the river and includes more than two miles of meandering frontage on the main stem. The preserve contains floodplain forests, vernal pools, forested wetlands, and open fields, which support a diversity of wildlife including waterfowl, turtles, amphibians, and foxes. Forty acres of grassland and former agricultural fields are actively managed to provide breeding habitat for bobolinks, Eastern meadowlarks, savannah and other field sparrows.

 

Nearly all of what is now under Conservancy ownership had been purchased for sand and gravel extraction and was later approved to be developed as an 18-hole golf course by the town planning board. Remarkably, neither of these plans was executed and the Conservancy was able to acquire 224 acres as part of the conservation efforts of the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership. In 2005, the preserve was expanded through the purchase of an adjacent eight acres.

There are no formal trails on the preserve, but there is an unmaintained farm road that leads from the parking area on Packers Falls Road to the Lamprey River. The farm road passes through a large open field where visitors can enjoy watching for bobolinks and other grassland birds. The best way to enjoy the shoreline is by canoe or other non-motorized boat, which can be launched at one of several town-maintained boat launches on the Lamprey River. Due to nesting grassland birds, we encourage visitors not to walk through the fields during spring and summer.

Activities at Lamprey River Preserve:

Paddling
Hiking
Birdwatching
Cross-Country-Skiing
Snowshoeing
Wildlife Viewing

Please Enjoy the Preserve Responsibly:

• Leave No Trace—please keep the preserve clean by carrying out your trash (and any that you find).

• No camping or open fires allowed.

• Foot traffic only; horses, bikes and motorized vehicles are prohibited.

• Pets are not permitted; help us protect wildlife on the preserve and be respectful of other hikers by leaving your pets at home.

• Respect the natural world around you! Do not remove or destroy plants, wildlife, minerals or cultural items.

• To protect grassland nesting birds, please refrain from walking through the fields in spring and summer.