Dartmouth’s protected land is for all to enjoy

Apr 6, 2023

The sight of suburban housing blueprints on land that is now Destruction Brook Woods caused attendees to flinch and gasp at Dartmouth’s North Branch Library on April 6. 

However, no developments can be made in Destruction Brook Woods or other reserves across town due to protections provided by Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust (DNRT).

Nick Wildman, Executive Director of DNRT, described the non-profit's goals and work during an event organized by Friends of the Dartmouth Libraries.

Wildman explained that DNRT works to acquire land and assist landowners to preserve, protect and steward the acreage. Making the point that protected land is forever safe from harmful development.

Stewardship is key to ensuring the functionality of land for both people to enjoy and nature to prosper, he said. This is what maintains trails and builds bridges among other maintenance.

“We want to improve the land and make sure that it’s accessible,” said Wildman. “We want to think about where can we have benches [and] where can we bridge those muddy sections.”

Wildman highlighted some of the best reserves to visit, especially this time of year. 

On all of the reserves expect to see an impressive variety of bird species. According to Wildman, Star of the Sea Reserve has one of the highest counts of documented bird species with 120. Wildman attributed the high number of species to the mix of ocean and forest habitat along the South Coast.  

Wildman pointed out that Destruction Brook Woods must have a healthy ecosystem because it’s home to wild brook trout, which require cold, clean water to survive. He noted that had the land been developed into housing, it is doubtful the fish would be there. 

Representatives from Friends of the Dartmouth Libraries said the organization is happy to host speakers and events to promote the library and the community. 

“Our events bring people to the libraries so they can see all the resources available. The North Branch is fairly new, it opened right before the pandemic, so a lot of people never got here,” said Marcy Wintrub, president of Friends of the Dartmouth Libraries.  

DNRT looks forward to further acquiring land and assisting the preservation of privately owned land. 

One way to get into nature is to join DNRT for its Earth Day clean-up at Cornell Pond April 21 from 10 a.m. to noon.