A Part of the Whole at Bear Pond Natural Area

Sometimes, a very small parcel can have a big impact – for better or worse. In Canaan, NH the conservation of one small parcel contributes significantly to the ecological integrity of the larger surrounding landscape. Len Reitsma* has donated a 7.5-acre inholding sandwiched between the Bear Pond Natural Area and the Mascoma State Forest in Canaan – over 1100 acres in total.

The Reitsma land is a small piece in large landscape of forest and wetlands.

Len bought the property in 2006 to ensure that the parcel would be managed with the land’s natural resources as a guiding priority. He recognized that abusive activities on this parcel could degrade the functions of the larger landscape – a rich mix of forested and open wetlands, and seasonal and perennial streams flowing into the Mascoma River. Last month he gave the land to UVLT to be managed along with the Bear Pond Natural Area.

The added parcel offers significant wildlife habitat, ranked as “Highest Ranked Habitat in NH” in the 2020 NH Wildlife Action Plan. UVLT ownership of the 7.5 acres may also provide opportunities for outdoor education and research that are not available to UVLT on the Bear Pond Natural Area due to that property’s forever wild easement restrictions. For instance, in the future UVLT might create a simple pavilion so that students can gather or leave gear under a roof.

*Len Reitsma is an avian ecologist who started a continuous population study of Canada Warblers at Bear Pond in 2003. His research demonstrates the importance of conserving places like Bear Pond where scientists can conduct long running investigations.