When Ann and Harte Crow purchased their land in northeast Hanover over thirty years ago, they thought of naming the place “Pressey Brook Farm.” But says Harte Crow, “that seemed awfully pretentious,” for the landscape they had come to know. Instead, their family affectionately refers to the land as “The Dismal,” in honor of The Great Dismal Swamp in the southeastern U.S. The land is wet and portions are often flooded due to a hearty population of beavers that is active near the confluence of several brooks. These brooks, Pressey and Tunis, join on the property to create a large wetland complex. Pressey flows from a height of land near the Lyme/Hanover border and Tunis comes off of Moose Mountain; together these brooks serve as a watershed for Goose Pond and the Mascoma River.
The Crows recently donated a conservation easement on their 239-acre property to the Upper Valley Land Trust. This agreement will ensure the permanent protection of this land.
The Crows have owned the parcel since the 1970s and actively manage it for wildlife habitat and personal recreation. They brush hog about five acres of meadow in order to create optimal bird habitat. Woodcock aficionados have told them that the habitat here is some of the best for the bird in the Upper Valley. Other visitors to the property report that bobcats, otter, mink, wood turtles and muskrats also use the land.
This project serves to support the Town of Hanover’s goals for habitat, scenic and open space protection. Publications, including the Hanover Open Space Priority Plan and the Scenic Locales Report speak to the attributes of the land in this area.
The Crow property lies within a focus area identified by the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership (Q2C), a collaborative, landscape-scale effort to conserve the Monadnock Highlands of north-central Massachusetts and western New Hampshire. Q2C recently awarded the Upper Valley Land Trust a grant award to fund transaction related expenses for this and another nearby project.
The parcel is positioned within a 25,000 acre block of minimally fragmented forest land that extends to bordering towns of Canaan, Lyme, and Dorchester. As a whole, this large block serves as important winter habitat for moose and deer, as well as a rich and diverse habitat for bear, turkey, beaver, coyote, and grouse. Appalachian Trail Corridor and multiple Town-owned parcels are situated within a mile of The Dismal.