This winter Durham Parks and Recreation Director Rachel Gasowski and Land Stewardship Coordinator Ellen Snyder are working together to lead a series of snowshoe hikes in Durham's Conservation areas.
The first hike was at the 54-acre Thompson Forest located on Wednesday Hill Road. Despite a strong wind and temperatures in the teens, three brave souls joined Rachel and Ellen. The lack of snow forced them to switch from snowshoes to ice grippers, but they were able to make the 1.5 mile loop down to the Lamprey River and back.
Thompson Forest is a relatively new conservation area, so it was wonderful to show off the property to residents. One of the goals of the hikes is to help raise community awareness of some of Durham's lesser known treasures.
During the invigorating walk, the group spotted deer, wild turkey, and coyote tracks. Ellen also discussed the habitat project to remove invasive shrubs and restore native plants. Despite the cold, the hike highlighted the great views of the forest.
If you're interested in discovering Thompson Forest, the Conservation Commission , with the help of an Eagle Scout will be working on trails this spring. In May, they will be looking for volunteers to help plant native shrubs. Stay tuned to Friday Updates for more information on how to help.
Two more hikes are planned this month. Both are free, and you can sign up for them at
Thursday February 15th at 10am, we will tour the 87 acre Doe Hill Farm off of Bennett Road. This property has been in town ownership since 1909 and offers a network of trails that lead to and run along the Lamprey River. The tour highlights include the historic Doe cemetery and homestead foundation.
Wednesday, February 28th at 6PM, we will return to the Thompson Forest for a Starry Night Snowshoe hike. After finishing the hike, there will be s'mores and hot cocoa by a campfire. Bring friends, family and a headlamp.