Alice Bemis Thompson Sanctuary

Sandwich, New Hampshire
Forever-Wild Easement; Completed Project 

The Alice Bemis Thompson Sanctuary is a 295-acre wild preserve owned by New Hampshire Audubon. The extensive wetlands here provide a home for beavers, waterfowl, raptors, and many rare birds. Northeast Wilderness Trust partnered with New Hampshire Audubon to place a forever-wild easement on the property in May 2014. Held and monitored by NWT, this easement ensures that the land will be protected under Audubon’s or any other future ownership.

Some of the rare birds found on the sanctuary include the least bittern, king rail, northern hawk owl, black-backed woodpecker, sedge wren, and golden-winged warbler. With Atwood Brook traversing the property, and about 80 acres of open marsh and scrub-shrub habitat—deemed critical wildlife habitat by the state of New Hampshire—much of the sanctuary is flat and wet. Beavers have created multiple ponds that support a number of waterfowl species (such as blue and green-winged teal), raptors (such as bald eagle, osprey, goshawk, and merlin), and wetland-dependent invertebrates. The upland forests are habitat for many mammals, reptiles, and terrestrial amphibians; some of the species recorded include black bear, moose, red fox, coyote, bobcat, fisher, snowshoe hare, ermine, long-tailed weasel, mink, skunk, muskrat, and flying squirrel.

Phase I of an ADA-approved, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk was built in 2014. Access to the boardwalk is off NH Route 113, also known as Beede Flats Road. In addition to the exceptional birding opportunities, visitors can enjoy wonderful views of the Ossipee Mountain Range to the south and the Sandwich Range to the north.

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