This week, Thomas M. Armstrong and his family donated the 24-acre Armstrong Forest Preserve to Five Rivers Conservation Trust. Mr. Armstrong entrusted the forestland to Five Rivers with these words, “encourge active public observation, learning and enjoyment…for the study and wonder of nature, forests in particular, outdoor recreation, and the recharging of our minds, bodies and spirits.”
Located on Stickney Hill Rd., the Preserve enhances, connects, and is in close proximity to St Paul’s School land and conserved land. Land to the east, is owned by St. Paul’s School. City of Concord land and the West End Farm Trail extend to the north. Three expansive fields and farms conserved by Five Rivers Conservation Trust lie to the west. If you want to visit the Preserve, it is directly across Stickney Hill Road from the botttom of the Exit 3 ramp from I-89 North.
Towering white pines and oaks cloak the new Preserve. Perimeter trails beckon walkers, runners and cross-country skiers to explore this lesser known, less crowded part of Concord.
The Armstrong Forest Preserve is a gateway to an inviting trail network of scenic discontinued town roads along the southern boundary of the property. The trail begins on Millstone Drive, passes the historic Stickney Cemetery and connects to NH Snowmobile Corridor 11.
If you want to explore the untrailed interior, you may find the vernal pool in spring and a small forested wetland. The forest has not been harvested in over 40 years and is maturing into venerable pines, oaks, and hemlocks. In winter, explore on snowshoes to learn which critters leave tracks in the snow. At other times of the year, step gently and you will discover hidden wildflowers, mosses and ferns.
Tom Armstrong, now of Scarborough, Maine, purchased this forestland in 1953, after he worked at Fox State Forest in Hillsborough. He donated the Preserve to Five Rivers in memory of his wife, Rachel Franck Armstrong, and in honor of his forestry mentors and friends Henry Ives and Birgit Baldwin, and Frances and Larry Rathbun.
Beth McGuinn, Five Rivers Executive Director, expressed the organization’s gratitude. “We are honored to receive this gift of land from Tom Armstrong and his family. We will care for the land as a natural area, so others can develop a closer relationship to the natural world.”
Five Rivers Conservation Trust is a nonprofit member-supported organization working with communities and landowners to conserve land across the greater capital region of New Hampshire. The organization’s conservation efforts increase quality of life, ensuring that future generations can experience, utilize, and benefit from the farms, forests, and wetlands that characterize much of the landscape today. The organization has protected over 75 properties, 4900+ acres.