New Hampshire Wildlife Management Areas
Fort Hill Wildlife Management Area
Acquisition History: Established in 1988, 286 acres were initially purchased followed by a 186-acre conservation easement in 1990, and 138 acres purchased in 1992. Funding was provided by Duck Stamp revenue, the Sport Fish Restoration Program, and Ducks Unlimited Marsh funds.
Description: The Connecticut River frontage is a woodland habitat ranging from several feet to several hundred feet in width. The entire area, with the exception of a 3- to 5-acre access site, lies entirely within the Connecticut River floodplain. The eastern boundary is the Canadian National railroad tracks and the western boundary is 20,000 feet of river frontage. Approximately 50% of the land area is subject to annual flooding; 472 acres are upland habitat and 138 acres are wetlands.
There are 5 primary wetland sites due to beaver impoundments that are annually recharged from floodwaters, springs and small tributaries. Habitat diversity ranges from semi-permanent wet meadow to permanent open marsh and shrub/scrub wetlands.
The tillable land area is comprised of 70% commercial cropland of hay, alfalfa and corn, and 30% pastureland and reverting field land. These lands are fertilized, limed and harvested annually by local farmers.
Approximately 104 acres is woodland/edge habitat.
Speckled alder occurs in the wet edge areas with aspen, cherry and
blackberry dominating the drier sites. The Fort Hill Area (some
14 acres) as well as several other small blocks of land are wooded
- dominated by sapling/pole size aspen, red maple and scattered
balsam fir. The understory is thickly vegetated with blackberry
Common Wildlife: Wetland areas provide habitat for breeding and migratory waterfowl including Canada geese, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, black ducks, and mallards. Native furbearers include muskrat, beaver, otter, and mink. Eastern chain pickerel and brown bullheads inhabit a limited warm-water fishery within the wetlands. The Connecticut River is considered to be "blue ribbon" trout water with rainbow and brown trout providing the bulk of the current sport fishery. Salmon restoration efforts may one day restore this species to a limited sport fishery capacity.
Moose and white-tailed deer use all habitat types. The hay and croplands provide food for a variety of wildlife species. Standing and harvested corn land will provide additional food for waterfowl, black bear, and deer. The upland edges and woodlands provide habitat for American woodcock, ruffed grouse and snowshoe hare.
Special Notes: The Fort Hill Area is a local landmark that at one time served as a fortress site overlooking the Connecticut River, however, no structure currently exists there. Local farmers actively manage much of the field land and the public is asked to refrain from disturbing newly tilled or planted fields.
Directions: The area is located between the railroad tracks and the Connecticut River from just north of the Maidstone bridge to the area known as Masons. Public access is from US Route 3, however at the time of publication a designated parking area has not yet been constructed.
DeLorme N.H. Atlas and Gazetteer coordinates: Page 46, G/H 2/3