FREMONT —On April 2, the Town of Fremont purchased 76 acres of undeveloped land from Richard and Robert Smith. The Smiths, who inherited the land from their grandfather, turned down offers from developers, wanting to see the property conserved and enjoyed by residents of the surrounding communities. The newly acquired land is a mixture of forest and wetlands and provides an important upland buffer for the Spruce Swamp. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests assisted with the acquisition and will hold the Conservation Easement that insures that the property will be held permanently in conservation.
The purchase and protection of this property has been made possible with support from the State Conservation Committee grant program through the sale of Conservation License Plates (Moose Plates), the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and several private foundations including: the Cricket Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation and the William P. Wharton Trust. The Fremont Conservation Commission would like to thank each of these funders for their assistance with this project.
Spruce Swamp and its surrounding forest are one of the few wilderness areas remaining in southern New Hampshire. The Swamp is an 824 acre fen (a type of wetland) nestled in a 1706 acre forest that is not segmented by roads and buildings. This forest and wetland combination is one of the highest quality wildlife habitats in the state and is dependent on the health of the surrounding uplands like the newly acquired Smith property. Without the surrounding forest to provide and protect a reliable flow of clean, acidified ground water, the Swamp will die, or at least become a much more common meadow.
Thirteen species of plants and animals of greatest conservation concern in New Hampshire live here. This includes one threatened and at least four endangered species. Spruce Swamp shelters many shrubs at the extreme northern limit of their range, including sweet pepperbush. The sweet pepperbush dominates a remarkable 200-acre plant sub-community that is one step from being considered an imperiled community type in New Hampshire.