Jaffrey Conservation Commission pursues easement for Children’s Woods and Carey Park

Jaffrey Conservation Commission member Carolyn Garretson walks the trail in Carey Park, which the town is working to put under a conservation easement.

Jaffrey Conservation Commission member Carolyn Garretson walks the trail in Carey Park, which the town is working to put under a conservation easement. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Jaffrey Conservation Commission member Carolyn Garretson walks the trail in Carey Park, which the town is working to put under a conservation easement.

Jaffrey Conservation Commission member Carolyn Garretson walks the trail in Carey Park, which the town is working to put under a conservation easement. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

A map shows Children's Woods and Carey Park, as well as areas of shoreline the Town of Jaffrey is seeking to put under a conservation easement.

A map shows Children's Woods and Carey Park, as well as areas of shoreline the Town of Jaffrey is seeking to put under a conservation easement. COURTESY IMAGE

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 09-01-2023 9:27 AM

The Jaffrey Select Board approved pursuing a conservation easement which would cover the town-owned Children’s Woods and Carey Park, as well as small slices of nearby shoreland.

Children’s Woods and Carey Park are accessible from the Monadnock Rail Trail, or Carey Road, and consist of about 125 acres combined. The town owns all the parcels, and Children’s Woods is under a conservation easement, according to Conservation Commission member Carolyn Garretson. The commission is proposing a new easement that would also cover Carey Park, which is adjacent to Children’s Woods, but a much larger parcel, as well as shoreline on the Contoocook River and Mountain Stream and Lacey Road.

The Conservation Commission has been in talks with the Northeast Wilderness Trust to hold the easement as part of its “Forever Wild” program, which would continue to allow passive recreation such as hiking and observation platforms on the land, but allow the woods to grow unmanaged. The easement would include both the unconserved Carey Park and overlay Children’s Woods, which is under an easement already managed by the Monadnock Conservancy.

“Forever-wild management of this property will secure the protection of the headwater stream and wetland that is hydrologically connected to the Contoocook River so that this land will be permanently protected from continued fragmentation and possible water quality degradation,” Garretson said.

Garretson said it’s also part of the mission of Northeast Wilderness Trust to educate the public on this importance of wild spaces, and how they evolve over time.

Select Board member Charlie Turcotte said the added protection for the waterfront is a major benefit.

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“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a step in the right direction for that whole area,” he said.

While the town has been in talks with the Northeast Wilderness Trust, the trust has not officially agreed to take on the easement, and would only do so after an official tour and review of the property. If Northeast Wilderness Trust agrees to hold the easement, it would be responsible for enforcement of the easement’s conditions, but Jaffrey would continue to own the land.

Ashley Saari can be reache d at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.