Resilient Connections at Rocky Knoll

The Tunis District of East Hanover is a vast forested area of streams, ridges, and wetlands that extends over Smarts Mountain north to Mount Cube and east to Tenney Mountain. This area of Hanover has long been a priority for conservation due to its high ranking on the NH Wildlife Action Plan, its scenic qualities, and its proximity to other conserved lands and the Appalachian Trail.

Now, Roger Soderberg has donated a conservation easement protecting 57 acres toward the southern end of this highly resilient and connected landscape.

The conserved property is adjacent to 350 acres owned by UVLT and it connects across Wolfeboro Road to the Hanover Town Forest. It includes over 1000 feet of frontage on Tunis Brook, a known habitat for native brook trout in the area.

Roger Soderberg is a long-time resident of Hanover and a beloved volunteer and chemistry professor at Dartmouth. Residing “in town” in Hanover, he and his family enjoyed their east Hanover land during the summer, camping in a small field and maintaining gardens and a small orchard there. Today, Roger’s son Tim takes care of the property. Tim and Roger sought to conserve their land to ensure that Tim’s children and grandchildren can have similar childhood experiences to those he and his brother shared.

When the Soderberg family purchased the property in 1970, the area was re-foresting after a settlement period in which agriculture had been active and children attended the Tunis District schoolhouse. There was a historic homestead on the Soderberg property where the schoolteacher for the Tunis District schoolhouse once boarded. That building was dismantled years ago for safety reasons, but the history of homesteading on this property can still be seen in the dry-laid stone foundations and stone walls that litter the property, marking boundaries, creating fields, and lining sheep runs from the barns to the brook. A few acres of fields remain but many walls now lie under the forest canopy. Large mammals like bears, moose, and bobcats inhabit the area.

The northern portion of the property slopes down to Tunis Brook and is quite rocky. This likely explains the name “Rocky Knoll” which a former owner had painted on an old saw that once hung over the homestead entry door. Roger and Tim have chosen to remember and honor this history: the perpetual conservation easement will be known as “Rocky Knoll.”

Tim Soderberg in an old field opening.

Tunis Brook

The old homestead once standing at the Soderberg property.