Crows Give Gift of Land in Hanover

Along the edge of Pressey Brook, in eastern Hanover, there’s thin ice on these cold mornings. The stream winds through a huge, shrubby wetland, where beavers are preparing for winter. The summer birds are long gone, and in a few months there will be otter slides and animal tracks to follow in the snow. In every season, this is a place to be shared, a place where the land reveals so much life. This place is UVLT’s newest conservation area, The Dismal on Pressey Brook.

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The property is bisected by Goose Pond Road. On the western side of the property there is a network of trails for hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing

The property is located in the headwaters of the Mascoma River watershed and contains approximately 38 acres of emergent and forested wetlands. These wetlands, when looked at with the surrounding upland forest complex, provide exceptional habitat for a wide array of species, including the federally listed northern long-eared bat.

The Dismal was owned by Ann and Harte Crow for 40 years. Their children grew up exploring the woods. Harte mowed the meadows and the family welcomed returning grassland birds each summer. They affectionately called the 239-acre property “The Dismal” after the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. This year, Harte and Ann knew the time was right to give their beautiful wetlands and upland forests to UVLT to care for, steward, and protect forever.

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On the eastern side of Goose Pond Road lies the large wetland complex and in the distance, Winslow Ledge

“The Crows have made a marvelous contribution to the protection and long-term care of this fabulous natural area,” said UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre. “UVLT is committed to continuing the mowing regime that keeps the wet meadow grassland open as the Crows did.”

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From left to right: Harte Crow, UVLT President Jeanie McIntyre, Ann Crow, UVLT Board Chair John Gerstmeyr

UVLT is already planning the parking area in an old log landing on the south side of Goose Pond Road. An easy walk through the field across the road takes visitors to the wetland edge. Funds raised through an online campaign will be dedicated to improvements that will make this path more accessible to people who may have mobility concerns. “The short trail is basically flat,” explained Land Steward, Doug Brown. “There are two swales where we want to add gravel and improve drainage to make it easier for people who might be using walking poles or other devices. Also, we plan to install a bench or picnic table at a viewing site to accommodate birders and wildlife enthusiasts who want to spend time there.”

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The newly restored bridge at The Dismal on Pressey Brook

Programs Director Alison Marchione is looking forward to the campaign for the site improvements. She said this is the third year UVLT will participate in Giving Tuesday, an annual global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s Giving Tuesday will take place on November 27th and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back.

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UVLT hopes to raise $1,000 on Giving Tuesday to pay for construction materials. “The campaign will go a long way toward making this great birding spot accessible to people with a range of mobility abilities.” said Marchione, “UVLT aims to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, comfortably and safely.”

Donors can make a gift online for Giving Tuesday any time between now and midnight on Tuesday November 27th by visiting this link and selecting “#GivingTuesday” as the designation for the gift. The Dismal on Pressey Brook is located just over the Hanover/Canaan Line on Goose Pond Road. Parking is located on the western side of the road in the log landing. A map of The Dismal on Pressey Brook will be available soon on our Get Outside tab.

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Location Map of The Dismal on Pressey Brook showing the parking access to the property