Atlantic white cedar swamps are rare in New Hampshire, comprising only about one percent of the state’s wetlands. The swamps can seem mysterious when you encounter the tall cedars covered with a dark wet tangle of lichens, their tilted gray trunks and spidery roots reaching into a deep bed of sphagnum moss.
At fifty acres in size, the Loverens Mills Cedar Swamp is the second largest and considered the highest quality boreal cedar swamp in New Hampshire. Pollen studies have revealed that Atlantic white cedar has been present for more than 4,000 years in this remarkable place.
A variety of boreal flora grow alongside the cedar trees, including black spruce, tamaracks, mountain holly, smooth winterberry , and beautiful rosebud azaleas. Groundcover plants like sheep laurel, Canadian bunchberry, and yellow loosestrife add splashes of color when they bloom in late spring and early summer, and in fall smudges of rust and red creep in with the changing foliage of cinnamon fern, blueberry, huckleberry, and red maple.
Situated at 1,040 feet in elevation, the cedar swamp is surrounded by high hills that funnel cold air down into the swamp, simulating a climate found further north and giving the swamp its boreal character. Loverens Mill Preserve contains more than two miles of frontage along the rugged North Branch of the Contoocook River, along with other wetlands including beaver-influenced marshes and a red maple basin swamp. Spruce-fir, hemlock and mixed hardwood forests provide excellent upland habitat for moose, bobcat, deer and bear.