Leonard and Knights Meadow Marsh Wildlife Management Area
Acquisition History: In 1965, the NH Fish and Game Department acquired a series of parcels that came to be known as Knights Meadow Marsh, a Waterfowl Management Area. In 1975 the Fish and Game acquired additional acreage from Irwin and Elizabeth Leonard of Dedham, Massachusetts, for use as a public hunting area and for wildlife management. In 2010, Fish and Game purchased the final 137 acres with USFWS Wildlife Restoration Funds and NH State Habitat Funds. Together, these parcels comprise one of the Departments largest land holdings.
Description: The area contains a diversity of habitats, including old fields, stands of hemlock, white pine and hardwoods, a 2-acre gum swamp, and the 45-acre marsh. A portion of Mud Pond is within the property along with several beaver ponds. The topography is generally rolling and rocky. Remnants of woodcock and ruffed grouse habitat demonstration plots from the late 1970s can still be found at the northwest section of the WMA, along with more recent habitat management to maintain fields and early successional habitats.
Common Wildlife:The upland area supports moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, woodcock and snowshoe hare. There are beaver and many different types of songbirds. Knight's Meadow Marsh supports a variety of wetland species, including wood ducks, mallards, black ducks, Canada geese, beaver, otter, muskrats, and great blue herons.
Special Notes:Habitat work, which continues to this day, began in 1990 as a grouse demonstration area. Fish and Game has used prescribed fire and controlled burns to stimulate aspen root suckering and maintain the fields. Field habitat has also been managed by brush cutting, mowing, selective timber harvesting, and the use of herbicides. Aspen and alder stands are maintained and apple trees have been released, pruned, and re-released. Past plantings to provide additional winter food included bittersweet, wild beans, wild pea pods, and multiflora rose—some of these species have since been officially designated by the state as “invasive exotics” and must now be controlled. A timber harvest completed in 1993 released mast trees, established red oak, and early successional regeneration.
Directions: Leonard WMA is accessed off Couchtown Road via South Road through the Blackwater Flood Control Area. There is room to park 1-2 vehicles at the gate. Knights Meadow Marsh can be reached from the Knights Meadow access road off of White Plains Road. There is a gravel boat launch and parking for 2-3 vehicles at the dam.
DeLorme NH Atlas and Gazetteer coordinates: Page 27, A 9/10
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