Hersey, Gerald (Farm and Forest)

  • 267.70 acres
  • 8/07
  • L
Hersey, Gerald (Farm and Forest)

Route 11, Andover

For the better part of the past century, Jerry Hersey, his parents, or his grandparents have been farming the side of a small green valley at the foot of Chase Hill in Andover. Even today, trucks rumbling along Route 11 barely interrupt the lush green pastures and hay fields that spread down the hill toward the woods shading Sucker Brook.

One of the many things that make the Hersey Family Farm and Forest so special is its location, straddling Route 11 shortly after this busy state highway crosses the town line from Franklin. Andover couldn't ask for a more succinct and appealing introduction to the town and its values than Hersey Farm's rugged, well-tended pastures and its timeless New England farm buildings.

But the Hersey Farm and Forest is much more than a pretty picture and a warm memory. It's also a great place for wildlife, a productive landscape for many area hunters. And another very special aspect of the property to be protected is the Northern Rail Trail that runs through it. "One of the most picturesque stretches of the Rail Trail between Boscawen and Andover runs right through Jerry’s property," says Alex Bernhard, vice president of the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail – Merrimack County. "Unlike his farmland, Jerry’s land on the rail trail is wooded and crisscrossed by Sucker Brook. It’s beautiful and is a great way of getting from Dyer’s Crossing Road to East Andover village."

This project was actually made up of two easement: 78 acres of farm, which was a bargain sale easement (the landowner donated some of the property value in lieu of payment), and 189.7 acres of forest, which was an easement donation. The forest is managed with active timber harvests conducted by the landowner, who also sells firewood commercially and hays the fields.

The Hersey Farm and Forest project was the result of a successful fundraising partnership lead by Ausbon Sargent including the Andover Historical Society, and The Andover Conservation Commission. The ASLPT secured federal funding from the Deptartment of Agriculture’s Farm & Ranchland Program. The remaining funds came from town and private individual donors as well as $45,555 from the Virginia Crettella Mars Foundation.

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