Nestled near the confluence of the Connecticut and Upper Ammonoosuc Rivers lies the Maidstone Bends Preserve, a special place spanning 1,250 acres in the town of Northumberland and village of Groveton.
Boasting a mix of farmland, woods and wetlands, what truly stands out are the preserve's expansive floodplains—those areas along the river that flood each spring, filtering water and providing irreplaceable wildlife habitat.
Over the years, the Connecticut River and its watershed have seen a dramatic decrease in the abundance of floodplain forest and wetlands as lands were cleared for agricultural and other land development. But in the northern part of the watershed, in and around what’s known as the Maidstone Bends, the river meanders across the landscape and includes some of the most intact floodplain in the watershed. This is a critically important area of the river for floodplain habitat and flood storage given that the floodplain is nearly a mile and half across in some locations.
The many curves and turns of the Maidstone Bends create oxbows, streamside wetlands and remnant patches of floodplain habitat that attract migratory birds, bald eagles, bear, moose and other wildlife. Meanwhile, the meandering nature of the river channel and areas of intact wetlands and floodplain forest help to absorb floodwaters during major flooding events.
Visitors to the Maidstone Bends Preserve can enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking, walking, nature observation, birding, hunting, fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Please note that there is no formal trail system and there is no boat launch at the preserve. Please do not attempt to launch a vessel from the steep, sandy river banks. Formal boat launches maintained by New Hampshire Fish and Game and local municipalities can be found in the area.