Preserving the gateway to Hancock

  • This portion of the “gateway” into Hancock has been conserved by the Harris Center for Conservation.  —Courtesy image

  • This portion of the “gateway” into Hancock has been conserved by the Harris Center for Conservation.  Photo by Jeff Brown

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, December 18, 2017 5:47PM

The Harris Center for Conservation secured an easement on a piece of the scenic entryway into the town of Hancock on Monday.

The Harris Center raised $25,000 to preserve a lot of land off of Route 123, a forested slope to the west of the road prior to coming into the village proper, according to Harris Center Executive Director Jeremy Wilson.

“It’s a steep slope, that’s not a good place to build anyway,” said Wilton. “But from a conservation standpoint, it provides a corridor between existing conservation areas, so it serves as a valuable wildlife corridor.”

Land owners Sue and Dave Blanchette will maintain their ownership of the land, and the Harris Center will hold the easement which will prevent the land from being developed or deforested. 

“We have been talking to people in the area who were interested in it being preserved,” said Wilson. “[The Blanchette’s] were interested in seeing it conserved and were willing to purchase the land.”

The Harris Center was able to reach its $25,000 easement goal through about 25 private donations of varying amounts, said Wilson, and were able to purchase the easement this week. The land consists of about 1,550 feet of road frontage, and 15 acres of property.

The Hancock gateway is added to a number of other easements that the Harris Center owns – bringing that number up to 112 easements covering 11,700 acres. 

“We do a variety of conservation approaches, and one of them is easements for sure. It's an important tool for us,” said Wilson. 

In terms of overall land conservation the Harris Center has protected more than 23,000 acres in its eight-town focus area.

Conserving this area will preserve the forested approach to the town on Route 123, as well as the views from Old Hancock Road, which is a popular walking route.