Options Abound for People To Enjoy The Outdoors Safely

There are numerous trails and town-owned lands; beaches

By Tina Cotton

Staying at home is the new norm. Enjoy the outdoors locally, alone or with your family. You can work in your yard, walk, bike along your road or the Rail Trail (visit FNRT.org), or hike numerous trails in town. Three of the more popular trails are a segment of the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG); Cascade Brook; and the former heron rookery. 

The Andover segment map of the SRKG can be found on SRKG.com. However, the bridge over the Blackwater River, just after crossing the Rail Trail going from Proctor Academy to Winslow State Park, has a significant hole on one side of the bridge and has been deemed not safe for travel. Take the detour on the Rail Trail to Bridge Street.

Cascade Brook is along Mountain Brook, north of Elbow Pond in the Newman conservation easement. Paths are on both sides of the brook. Please contact the owners for permission to cross their land though: Bill Barsdley on the west, and Susan Schnare on the east.

The former heron rookery in a conservation easement is accessed from a small parking lot at the end of Fenvale Road. The beaver-dammed pond flooded trees and caused them to die. Blue herons built nests in the treetops in which to raise their young. However, time has taken its toll, and only some tree trunks devoid of nests remain standing. Paul Fenton is the landowner to contact.

Many conservation easements have trails. Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust holds many of these, and descriptions of properties can be found at AusbonSargent.org/Properties. Contact ASLPT for names of the present owners and additional information. The Andover Conservation Commission has used funds to help facilitate some of these easements. The funds come from the Change in Use penalty to help pay legal, surveying, and associated costs of placing land in an easement.

The most-used Town-owned lands are the Town Beach on Highland Lake (Channel Road off Route 11); the ball field behind the Andover Elementary/Middle School (Lawrence Street); and the skateboard park beside the Town Hall. Proctor Academy welcomes people to explore their woodlands on established trails; visit ProctorAcademy.org and search for “Woodlands Management.”

Remember to distance yourselves from others, and not try to challenge yourself on a more difficult excursion that might endanger rescuers if you get hurt. Also, remember your sunscreen and bug repellant. Those pesky black flies, ticks, and mosquitoes will be looking for you. However, you will be rewarded with spotting birds, wildlife, wildflowers, and maybe some good fishing.