Gumpus Pond Conservation Area
Gumpas Pond Conservation Area, Hillsborough County
Says Pelham Conservation Commission member Chris McCarron,
"We have lots of forest and field areas in southern New
Hampshire, but the 'in-between' early successional habitat
has dwindled - and along with it, the wildlife that need
that kind of habitat. Through the logging that's taken place
at Gumpas Pond Conservation Area, we hope to help New
England cottontails as well as many birds that also need
young, regrowing forest habitat."
at Gumpas Pond returned a profit while improving
conditions for many kinds of wildlife./T. Kendziora
Birders who hike on logging roads in this
popular 155-acre conservation area soon will be
training their binoculars on a whole new suite of birdlife,
including brown thrashers, eastern towhees, and indigo
buntings - species largely absent from the older woodland so
prominent in the increasingly forested landscape of southern
New England. Likely they'll hear ruffed grouse drumming,
woodcock singing, and whip-poor-wills calling: those
birds also need young forest. New England cottontails
may also come to thrive here.
Gumpas Pond Conservation Area is managed under the New
Hampshire Tree Farm System. In winter 2012, loggers cut the
timber on two tracts, one 17 acres and the other 5
acres, for a total harvest of 22 acres. The trees
were mainly low-quality white pines (attacked in the past by
white-pine weevils, which caused their crowns to bush out
and made them unfit for saw timber) and middle-aged
hardwoods, including oaks, maples, and birches of a size and
density that provided few benefits for either young-forest
or older-forest animals. It was a good decision to cut them.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Ted Kendziora
helped draw up plans for logging and other
habitat-restoration activities, including grading and
planting a 1-acre field next to the smaller of the two
logged areas. The field will become a magnet for wild turkey
and ruffed grouse hens, who will lead their growing chicks
into the grassy area to feed on insects. During spring, male
woodcock will display for females in the opening. And if New
England cottontails are present, or if they migrate into
Gumpas Pond Conservation Area from nearby habitats, they'll
appreciate having the new greenery to dine on.
Ruffed grouse will nest in the new young forest
springing up on areas that were logged./C. Fergus
Work Returns a
The logging returned a tidy profit of around
$6000 to the Town. The work created densely regrowing
young forest, with the stumps and root systems of the
logged-off hardwoods sending up thousands of shoots. Shrubs
already on the site, including blueberry and blackberry,
will prosper, now that the shading canopies of the older
trees have been removed.
"In the past, this land was cleared for agriculture -
probably livestock were pastured on these rolling hills,"
notes Kendziora, who works in the Fish and Wildlife
Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
"The area has a lot of diversity: rock outcroppings, small
wetlands, and plenty of remaining older forest providing
homes for wildlife that need those habitats.
"We don't know if New England cottontails are present at
Gumpas Pond. But, frankly, this is not single-species
management. The folks on the Pelham conservation and
forestry committees, as well as the town's selectmen, really
get it: They understand that making young forest helps a
huge range of wildlife from salamanders to warblers to
Birders will now hear
the cheery calls of eastern towhees and other
songbirds that nest in regrowing young woodland./E.
Noting that New England cottontails live
on lands not far from the site, Kendziora speculates that
the parcel may become a habitat corridor linking
other properties in the region, considered a highly ranked
focus area for New England cottontail restoration.
Pelham selectman Harold Lynde points out that one of the
missions of the Town's Forestry Committee is to create
wildlife habitat on town-owned lands. Bob Lamoureux, a
Forestry Committee volunteer, notes that "It's our job to
protect all wildlife."
Those wild creatures - and human wildlife-watchers as well -
can thank the Town of Pelham and its citizens for their
informed understanding of wildlife's needs, and their
willingness to meet those needs.
How to Visit
Gumpas Pond Conservation Area is at 200 Gowing Road, Hudson,
NH. The area is southeast of Nashua, about 3 miles north of
the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border, and less than 1 mile
west of Gumpas Pond. The best way to reach it is to drive
east from New Hampshire Route 3A on Sanders Road and then
Gowing Road until you reach a sign for the Conservation
For more information or to arrange a visit, contact Ted
Kendziora, USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program,
603-223-2541 x 13, .
Funding and Partners
Town of Pelham, Pelham Forestry Committee, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program),
University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, New
Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts, Northeast
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation, Wildlife Management Institute
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