Greenfield works toward new recreational area

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Gary Russell, Karla Allen, and Hunter Carbee walk the George Proctor Recreational area in Greenfield. The three are part of a group working to create a number of recreational opportunities on the 100 acres of land, which is owned by the town. . Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • A forest management plan for the George Proctor Recreational Area in Greenfield aims to create a number of recreational opportunities for the about 100 acres of land. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/27/2019 6:53:26 PM

One of Greenfield’s hidden gems could soon become a sanctuary for outdoor recreation and local wildlife.

A small dirt road known as Savage Road – located off Dodge Road in the northeastern part of town – leads to about 100 acres of land known collectively as the George Proctor Recreational Area, a location where a town committee hopes to build out an archery range, space for camping and more.

“That’s the goal for the future, to get kids down here to get them outside,” said Hunter Carbee, chair of the George Proctor Town Forestry Committee. “We have bigger plans for managing the property to get more use out of it.”

The 100-acre property was donated to the town in 1952 through the Greenfield Sportman’s Club. In 1982 the town designated 42 of the 100 acres a town forest. It wasn’t until recently, however, that the George Proctor Town Forestry Committee assembled to come up with a plan for the land.

“The goal [in 1952] was to manage this for the wildlife aspects for deer and hunting and fishing,” Carbee said, who said the property was named after a prominent game warden.

When ownership was deeded to the town, it was stipulated that the land always be managed and protected.

“It was very similar to a conservation easement,” Carbee said. “It was ahead of its time, to have a piece of land protected in that way.”

Before being donated to the town, Carbee said the land was owned by the Savage family and served as farmland.

“It was a working farm. The building that was there was not some small thing,” said Karla Allen, the town’s forester. “You can see all the stone walls where they kept the sheep and everything separated. That foundation is pretty big and intricate.”

Carl Upton, a lumberman who purchased the property, cut many of the trees down in the late 1940s.

Ralph Sayles helped the Greenfield Sportsman’s Club purchase the property before it was donated to the town.

The property is split into two parts, Carbee said, separated by a tributary that leads to Rand Brook. The town forest is located north of the tributary.

The committee has only been meeting for the past few years, Carbee said, but it was technically created by a town meeting vote in 1988.

Gary Russell, a member of the committee and president of the Greenfield Sportsman’s Club, said the committee came alive in 2016 because people in town wanted someone to oversee the land.

Russell said the Sportsman’s Club has some rights to both sides of the property but is more involved on the side with the manmade pond – which has been used for fishing derbies for the past three years.

“For some reason, they didn’t put this half in,” Russell said about the town forest. “If everything goes well, I think in a year or so we will put this piece in too.”

Along with the work by the committee and the Sportsman’s Club, Allen, the town forester, was brought in to assess the property’s timber – the funding source for all future projects – and to write up a management plan.

“The biggest thing it needs is there hasn’t been any management in a long time so it has some old dying and just over-mature areas that need to be thinned out and cleared out,” Allen said. “As soon as there is some harvesting, [the wildlife] will really come to life because you have some of the components that basic wildlife needs. its no different than a tree growing where you need soil, sunlight, and water – animals are similar.”

A warrant article passed earlier this year has created an account for the committee to place logging and timber revenue, but Carbee said issues with the biofuel market could delay the ability to log the property.

Some improvements were made to the property over the years, including the planting of 5,000 pine trees in the 1950s to help reforest the land, building a manmade pond in the late 1980s and some work to Savage Road a few years ago.

Currently, Allen said much of the use of the property – outside of the Sportsman’s Club’s activities – revolves around people hiking and mountain biking on trails.

The management plan aims to create new avenues of usage by creating an archery range, space for camping and a parking lot, among other things. Other goals of the plan include selectively cutting trees for forest management and to plant things that would be better for local wildlife.

“The biggest thing is, let’s get kids outdoors,” Russell said. “We are trying to get kids away from the screens and the video games and get them outdoors.”


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