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Merrymeeting Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Town: Alton and New Durham

County: Belknap/Strafford

Acres: 552


Acquisition History: Land acquisition began in 1950, with additional marsh and upland being acquired over the years. Today, the NH Fish and Game Department owns 450 acres and has flowage rights on a total of 722 acres. Federal funds were used to acquire segments of the property.


Description: Merrymeeting Marsh is an extensive and diverse wetland system that is maintained by two large water-control structures. A dam in Alton maintains some 500 acres of wetland and one in New Durham floods an additional 222 acres. Both create excellent waterfowl nesting and feeding habitat. Two major streams, the Merrymeeting River and Coffin Brook, provide the water. The wetlands of Merrymeeting Marsh include: emergent and deep-water, scrub-shrub, forested wetlands and bogs. Uplands surrounding the marsh and the many islands within it are vegetated primarily with oak and white pine with a blueberry bush understory. There is a parking area and boat launch for cartop boats and canoes.


Common Wildlife: White-tailed deer, moose, black bear, snowshoe hare, woodcock, ruffed grouse, beaver and muskrat can be found here. Spring and fall migratory waterfowl species include ring-necked ducks, common goldeneyes, blue-winged and green-winged teal, scaup and scoters. The nesting species include black ducks, mallards, wood ducks, hooded mergansers and Canada geese. Other bird species include great blue herons, eastern kingbirds, tree and rough-winged swallow, and marsh wrens. The marsh has warmwater fish species, such as largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and yellow perch. Trout that have escaped from the Powder Mill Fish Hatchery are occasionally caught but, per Fis 402.05, "all waters above and below all state fish hatcheries, from a posted point 200 feet upstream, to a posted point 200 feet downstream, shall be closed to all fishing."


Directions: Merrymeeting Marsh flowage parallels Route 11 in Alton and New Durham. There is a parking lot at the boat launch. The Alton dam is located off the northerly side of Route 140. The Jones dam flowage parallels the Merrymeeting Lake Road in New Durham. There is access to the marsh from this road.


DeLorme NH Atlas and Gazetteer Coordinates: Page 37, H 9




A User-Pay, User-Benefit Program

Wildlife RestorationThis Wildlife Management Area was funded in part by the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. Your purchases of hunting equipment and ammunition make a difference to New Hampshire's wildlife resources and our way of life. Learn more.