The Bradford Bog Headwaters (BBH) property is an ecologically valuable 71.66-acre parcel in Bradford that is within the “Quabbin to Mount Cardigan” (Q2C) conservation focus area of national importance. In their Natural Resources Conservation Service Brochure, the US Department of Agriculture identifies this section of land as “one of the largest ecologically significant forest blocks in New England, with connectivity encompassing approximately two million acres along a 100 mile swath.”
The BBH is comprised of a vigorous regenerating woodland area, which is valuable to threatened wildlife; its pristine waters flow into the nearby Abenaki ancient healing springs site, the Atlantic white cedar bog and wildflower sanctuary, and the Merrimack river watershed. The parcel is ranked highest for wildlife habitat in the NH Wildlife Action Plan; both mammals and amphibians traverse over the property as a land bridge between abutting forested tracts. See a short video of the Bradford Bog, created by Peter Bloch of EarthAerial Productions. This is a property, protected by an Ausbon Sargent Conservation Easement, and is one of the properties which will be further protected through the protection of the BBH.
This valuable property, with its rejuvenating forest and important waterbody will expand ideal habitat for avian species in greatest need of conservation in New Hampshire. Among these are the Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock, and the Purple Finch (the State bird). Songbirds, such as the Redstart, Canada Warbler, Scarlet Tanager and Baltimore Oriole are among those that migrate epic distances to seek breeding grounds like the BBH. According to P.D. Hunt’s The State of the Birds, of the 190 bird species breeding in New Hampshire, 81 are decreasing at an alarming rate.
In addition to the property being ideal for birds, it is also a wonderful oasis for butterflies and other pollinators. Beavers have taken advantage of water flowing from Haystack Mountain to build a series of dams; the ponds they’ve created host Wood Ducks, migrating waterfowl and the American Toad. Moose moving through may browse on sapling twigs and plunge into the refreshing pond. A rocky cliff offers possible habitat for bobcats; dense thickets below allow a hiding spot for their favorite prey, the Snowshoe Hare.
This land will help threatened wildlife flourish, expand wilderness tracts of highest ecological value, and protect our treasured landscape forever.
The BBH project was completed with assistance from conservation buyer, Mike Andrews, who purchased the property and held title to it until the Land Trust could raise the funds to buy it from him, the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and the NH "Moose Plate" grant. Additional grants were provided from the Fields Pond Foundation, Burton Morgan Foundation, The Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership, and another anonymous grantor. Further support was provided by the Town of Bradford Conservation Commission, Rural Heritage Connection of Bradford, and many individual donations by Ausbon Sargent members and friends.