If 2020 was all about shutting down, 2021 is all about reconnecting.
Reconnecting to oneself, reconnecting to loved ones, and reconnecting to nature are the outcomes of a year spent mired in the Covid-19 shut-downs. The slower pace of life and quiet that came from these sudden shut-downs in 2020, made room for people to realize that perhaps slow and quiet is just what they need in 2021.
Below are examples of non-profits committed to providing access to the outdoors by preserving land and building trails and pathways, so that we may all enjoy it for years to come. Plan your vacation to the Mt. Washington Valley by exploring each of the trails, pathways, and forests protected by these non-profits. You’ll find peace and quiet, and the chance to reconnect to nature, to those you love spending time with, and the time to reconnect with yourself!
Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (USVLT): This non-profit, which has been in operation since 2000, was started as grassroots initiative to preserve land for community benefit in the watershed of the Upper Saco River in New Hampshire and Maine. To date it has conserved 12,000 acres of land through over sixty conservation projects. While all of its lands are special, two (among many) that visitors can note for their hiking, walking, and biking purposes are the Pine Hill Community Forest and Redstone Preserve.
Pine Hill Community Forest is accessed by a parking lot off of Meeting House Hill Road off of East Conway Road. This forest spans 460-acres and encompasses part of the Conway Rec Path. This land feeds experiential learning through its outdoor education programs, as well as land used for hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. Please note there is a $20.00 all-day parking fee.
Redstone Preserve is a multi-use parcel of land that serves bikers, hikers, neighborhood dog-walkers and snowmobilers. It’s accessed from Hemlock Lane, just behind the Wal-Mart in downtown North Conway, NH. Users of the trail will also come across remnants of the Redstone Quarry - a nod to the history of granite miners from the late 1800’s. The land also abuts The Nature Conservancy’s Green Hills Preserve, another protected area for outdoor recreation.
The Green Hills Preserve is a parcel of protected land located on Thompson Road in North Conway. It’s home to trails that take you up to Middle and Peaked Mountains, as well as trails that connect hikers to Black Cap Mountain at the top of Hurricane Mountain Road. Mountain bikers can also find a slew of trails in this preserve that are maintained by NEMBA.
Tin Mountain Conservation Center (Tin Mt.): This non-profit has been providing education programs that foster greater awareness and understanding of the natural environment. It offers hands-on and online programs in the schools, at summer camps, and within communities throughout northern New Hampshire and western Maine. Part of its mission includes caring for its multiple land sanctuaries found throughout Mt. Washington Valley.
One of its sanctuaries, the Tin Mountain Timberlands appeals to mountain bikers looking for trails too ride. It can be found off of Route 302 by the Conway, NH/Fryeburg, ME state lines. Known formerly as the Bear Paw lands bikers will find a logging road that splits off into a mountain biking single-track trail network that offers a variety of biking for different abilities. A walking path exists at the end of the logging road, that is only open to those making their way by foot. Motorized vehicles and bikes are not allowed on the path.
Mt. Washington Valley Rec Path (MWV Rec Path): Located just down the road from the Tin Mountain Timberlands is the Mountain Division Trail. Marked by the Maine Visitor Center as you cross state lines, this eight mile paved, multi-use path begins there. This path is great for dog-walkers, runners, those with wheelchairs and parents with baby carriages, and bicyclists.
The Mountain Division Trail is part of a greater initiative supported by the MWV Rec Path, who’s mission is to build and maintain multi-use recreation paths within the Mount Washington Valley area to promote health, alternative transport options, and meaningful recreation for all. The MWV Rec Path is working to build a continuous seventy mile family-friendly path stretching from Portland, Maine through Bartlett, New Hampshire; the Mountain Division Trail being part of that path. Currently this non-profit is working on connecting rec paths in North Conway, NH and Conway, NH (which are also part of the trails found in the Redstone Preserve, maintained by the USVLT.) Construction on this begins before the end of 2021.
Other paths and trails that MWV Rec Path supports include those found in Whitaker Woods, Pudding Pond, Marshall Conservation area, and beyond. Click here for more details.
The tranquility and opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the natural world and outdoor recreation that so many are seeking can be found in quiet walks or hikes in the woods and trails of Mt. Washington Valley. With nothing but miles of natural beauty on the horizon, the valley is rich in natural elements, and just as abundant with non-profits who have made it their mission to make these natural resources accessible to all, in the most sustainable way.
For complete trip planning resources and information, visit visitmwv.com or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.