Odiorne State Park
When you’ve had your fill of town walking, drive out of town on
Route 1 and take the “Beaches” turns for Route 1A, which in three miles comes to Odiorne State Park. There’s a day fee
charged at the tollbooth ($2.50 recently); park and head for the trails and the rocky waterfront. You can walk south to the cove,
and north to Frost Point (total loop, two miles), with a visit to Audubon House afterward. This is an interesting rocky tidepool area; much of the rest of the New Hampshire coast is beach sand.
Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
There’s a wonderful inland bay of the Atlantic Ocean where the rivers meet the sea and much of the surrounding shore has been
dedicated to a federal reserve as well as private conservation. This is Great Bay, a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The entire system of three river mouths and the ocean bay make up a living laboratory that visitors are invited to wander through. It’s a refuge for 23 endangered species, a sanctuary to many more, and in it live oysters, clams, rock crabs, lobsters,
herring, eels, smelt, and flounder, all of which have been harvested
since the time of the Native Americans.
There are two points to enter the reserve: at the Sandy Point Discovery Center at the south end of the bay, reached from Depot Road off Route 33 near Stratham, and at the Jackson Lab on Adams Point, reached from Route 108in Durham, by taking Bay Road to Adams Point. Jackson Lab can be toured by
arrangement with the University of New Hampshire Marine Extension office (749-1565). There are walking trails at both
locations. The one at Sandy Point is about a half-mile loop, including a graded gravel path and a boardwalk. The one at Adams
Point has plenty of poison ivy (so wear protective clothes and watch where you step) and has some steeper sections, plus a viewing platform. You have a good chance of seeing birds like the great blue heron, and traces of deer, owls, fox, and coyotes
(maybe even a snake or mouse!). For trail maps and information on species like wintering eagles, bluefish, rainbow smelt, and horseshoe crabs, contact Great Bay Reserve, 225 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824 (868-1095).
Wildlife & Natural Areas
Farther inland, away from the salt water completely, the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests manages two parcels that you might want to visit. One is in Kingston, the 89-acre Webster Wildlife and Natural Area with its cedar swamp, bog, and frontage on the Powwow River. From the junction of Route 125 with 107 and 107A in Kingston, go south on Route 125 for 2.2 miles. Turn left at the flashing light and immediately bear right. Go 0.1 mile and turn left on the gravel road. Go 0.5 mile and park on the left where the woods begin. After the sign, the woods road forks, with the right going to the bog and pond and the left looping through the property.
The second parcel is the Smith Woodlot in Newfields, 49 acres of white pine being used for forest management research. There are two miles of woods roads for pleasant walking or snow travel. Expect to see wildflowers in June; in winter watch for
animal tracks. From Route 108go south on Route 85 for 0.4 mile toward Newfields and turn right just past the railroad bridge. Go 300 feet and park just past the house; walk past the gate, bearing right, 600 feet to the property sign and wander
along the trails.
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