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A gift of land

  • Colette and Herb Gramm of Jaffrey have donated a mile of shoreline on the Mountain Brook Reservoir to the Monadnock Conservancy in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Colette and Herb Gramm of Jaffrey have donated a mile of shoreline on the Mountain Brook Reservoir to the Monadnock Conservancy in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Colette and Herb Gramm of Jaffrey have donated a mile of shoreline on the Mountain Brook Reservoir to the Monadnock Conservancy in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Colette and Herb Gramm of Jaffrey have donated a mile of shoreline on the Mountain Brook Reservoir to the Monadnock Conservancy in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Colette and Herb Gramm of Jaffrey have donated a mile of shoreline on the Mountain Brook Reservoir to the Monadnock Conservancy in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, June 27, 2016 8:11PM
Directions to the property from Jaffrey:From Main Street, head south on Route 202 (River Street) for 4/10 mile. Turn right onto Gilmore Pond Road. After about a mile you will reach the intersection with Sandy Lane. Keep left to stay on Gilmore Pond Road f

As Colette Gramm walks along the shore of the Mountain Brook Reservoir, there are multiple old beaver lodges and a fresh beaver dam. Old wood duck boxes are nestled along the shore. A fisherman in a rowboat pulls in a large fish – maybe a bass or a pickerel. A bald eagle swoops away from his perch in a tree out to its nest on an island in the middle of the reservoir.

“It is still pretty wild out here,” said Colette Gramm. “There are all kinds of birds and wildlife.”

The Gramms have enjoyed their 77 acres of property for years, even going as far as placing it in 2003 into a conservation easement held by the Monadnock Conservancy in Peterborough to preserve a large section of the shoreline’s undeveloped state.

Herb Gramm, speaking during an interview at the couple’s home, said the two had bought the land with the intent to build a home on it. They had fallen in love with Jaffrey after a visit to climb Mt. Monadnock. But they eventually ended up buying a house on a nearby piece of land, and decided to leave the Mountain Brook Reservoir shore pristine.

“Conservation has always been an interest of ours,” said Herb Gramm. “And there aren’t many places left on a lakeshore that are as undeveloped as this. Especially not so close to the center of town.”

But as they are getting older, it has become harder to maintain the land, and they began to think about what would happen to it after they were gone.

While the conservation easement will always be in place, it was important to the Gramms that the trail that they painstakingly built with the assistance of their neighbor stay open to the public. In order to do that, they gifted the land to the Monadnock Conservancy for their future conservation uses, with the caveat that it remain an open public trail.

“The conservation easement made sure that it couldn’t be developed, but it didn’t ensure permanent access to the public,” said Stacy Gambrel, the project manager for Monadnock Conservancy in a recent interview. “They felt so strongly that they wanted us to own the property so that they could keep open access.”

The conservancy was excited at the opportunity to preserve a mile of shoreline, as well as maintain a excellent existing wildlife habitat for water and birdlife, said Gambrel. The easement currently on the land also allows for timber harvesting, which the conservancy will likely make use of in the future, said Gambrel. 

“For us, there are several benefits,” she said. “It's a learning opportunity for our members to see a timber harvest in action, and how it can be done in a way that is beneficial to certain wildlife species, and is sustainable, and the other is financial benefit. We will sell the timber and put that revenue in a stewardship fund or toward other programs.”

Gambrel will lead a group canoe and kayak paddle on Mountain Brook Reservoir on Oct. 1 starting at 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit monadnockconservancy.org.