Blog : Protecting The Stratham Trails

By Sarah Mahoney | Feb 16, 2015 | in

On Monday, February 9th at the Public Hearing, The Stratham Board of Selectmen voted in favor of the Warrant Article. This Short Property is a 38-acre piece of land loacted off Scramman Road and adjacent to the back of the Barker Farm and near the Gordon Barker Town Forest. This property has many trails that connect with locations on town land, such as Stratham Hill Park. The next step is for Stratham's traditional Town Meeting to vote on it on March 13th at 7:00 pm.

There are several reasons why we shold vote to conserve this land. The Short Property is located near and adjacent to the other town-owned properties, one being Stratham Hill Park, which entails an extensive trail system. This proposal will confirm that continued public access will be granted now and in the future for the several hikers, bikers, cross country skiers, and others who enjoy this land. The conservation easement on this property ensures that the land would be forever conserved, as well as prevent new access right being granted for the development of the adjoining parcels. By conserving this land now, the town will restraint the costs associated with community services that would result from development of the property as well as be consistent with the Town's Master Plan. Also, protection of the land will preserve the existing wildlife and the area identified by New Hampshire Fosh and Game as the "Highest Ranking Habitat in the State". 

Dave and Jeanne Short are the current landowners of the Short Property. They have offered 34 of the 38 acres to be purchased by the town through a conservation easement at a bargain price, with the remaining 4 acres to be kept for their existing home on the property. If the land is not conserved, there is a chance that a future land owner could purchase the property and eliminate public access to the trails.

The total cost of this project is approximately $624,000, made up of several different components. $600,000 is the purchase price of the conservation easement and the other $24,000 would cover survey, appraisal and associated project and closing costs. $449,000 will come from the Town of Stratham's existing Land Conservation Fund and the remaining $175,000 is being requested via a Warrant Article to be covered within the 2015 Town Appropriations.

Learn more about the Stratham Trails and this project here.