Fog arising from a rocky river.
(Not So) Lazy River The Lamprey River twists and turns its way through New Hampshire's seacoast. © Richard H. Lord

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Small But Mighty: The Lamprey River Preserve Expands

A new addition to a popular preserve provides clean water, enhances recreation and connects wildlife.

Thanks to the generous support of local donors and state conservation grants, an important natural area along the Lamprey River in Durham will be expanded, providing clean water, enhancing recreational opportunities and connecting wildlife in a part of the state that is facing  increasing development pressure.  

The 10-acre parcel featuring a third of a mile of frontage along the Lamprey River was recently acquired by The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire from long-time Durham resident and local conservationist Richard Lord. The parcel will become part of TNC’s popular 235-acre Lamprey River Preserve, which is one of the largest, undeveloped tracts of land along the river and includes more than two miles of meandering river frontage. The preserve contains floodplain forests, vernal pools, forested wetlands, and open fields, which support a diversity of wildlife including waterfowl, turtles, amphibians, and foxes.  

“While this 10-acre acquisition may appear small, it’s significance and impact far outweigh its size,” said Patrick Hackley, TNC’s Associate Director for Land Protection. “We are excited to be able to increase the size of our Lamprey River Preserve, which is popular with wildlife viewers, paddlers and recreational anglers.  At the same time, this acquisition will increase the ability for wildlife to thrive in the important Lamprey River watershed.”

The largest tributary to Great Bay, the Lamprey River is a National Wild and Scenic River and a State-designated river, managed and protected for its outstanding natural and cultural resources. The watershed contains several rare and exemplary natural communities and provides valuable habitat for plants and animals in its alternating stretches of whitewater and quiet water. The river is an outstanding recreational resource and yields water of sufficient quality to be used as a reserve water supply for Durham.

While there are no formal trails on TNC’s Lamprey River Preserve, there is an unmaintained farm road that leads from the parking area on Packers Falls Road to the 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, visitors are encouraged not to walk through the fields during spring and summer.

The acquisition was made possible with funding from the NH Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resources Mitigation Program; the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program; the Lamprey River Advisory Committee; the Great Bay Resource Partnership; the Lewis Foundation and generous local donors.

To learn more about our work in New Hampshire, visit www.nature.org/newhampshire or follow @nature_NH on Twitter, @tncnewhampshire on Instagram, or TNCNH on Facebook.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.