Preserving Bow Land – and a bit of history, by Bob Chadwick
(Mr. Chadwick in 2016 conveyed to Bow Open Spaces, Inc. a permanent conservation easement to protect from development a plot of land off of Branch Londonderry Turnpike. Bob wrote this article, below, to provide a bit of background on the land.)
The Chadwick family has been established in Bow since the late 1930’s. My grandparents had a farm on South Street, across from what is now the Methodist church. Dad, Mom and we three kids lived on Bow Bog Road, almost across the street from the property. We went to school in what’s now the Municipal building. I graduated Concord High in 1958, joined the Air Force, and spent the next 25 years or so traveling to places like Australia, Hawaii, the Philippines, and, at the end, Florida. After retirement I entered a second career as an Electronics Engineer in Florida.
Dad purchased the land from Ernest Morgan sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s. His intent was to use it as a woodlot; pretty much all it was good for as it was not serviced by any good roads, was mostly wetland (a good example of beaver engineering), and except for the front few acres, was uninhabitable. As he grew older, he was less able to harvest firewood, and also Pat and I were starting to think about having a summer place in New Hampshire. With this in mind, we bought the land from him in 1994.
It’s interesting to look at the chain of deeds that came with the property. I noted several names that were familiar to me when I was growing up: Ernest Morgan, of course, and Susan Colby, an elder of the Colby family that is so prominent in Bow’s history. I remember doing chores and errands for Aunt Sue Colby when I was a kid, and Ernest was a neighbor; he built the house that is presently owned by his son, Bob Morgan, on the Bog Road.
We’d visit it every time we came to New Hampshire, but as time wore on the summer place became more of a dream and less practical, particularly after a few discussions with town planning folks. We’d pretty well given up the idea, but wanted under no circumstances to see it either defaced or developed, and wanted to keep it as a family asset. My kids have all explored the lot and we all like the idea of owning a little piece of Bow.
Our son David has a Master’s degree in environmental management and is an executive with the Montana Wildlife Federation. He introduced the idea of something like a conservation easement to us and explained a few details; the idea sounded worth looking into.
A recent (Oct 2015) visit and discussion with the planning folks revealed the existence of Bow Open Spaces and their charter to maintain Bow’s undeveloped spaces. A short talk with (BOS Board Member) Ken Demain and some research confirmed that it’d be a good plan to set up a conservation easement to permanently secure the property from development. We chose Bow Open Spaces as it is an outfit that is based in Bow and would be more attuned to local desires and needs. Having the management actually living in the town will, I believe, help assure direct control and interest.
So, we did just that. It’s a 31 acre lot; the easement covers all but the two acres in the northwest corner, nearest the Robinson Road. We set that two acres aside just in case one of the kids decides he wants to fight the battle to put a summer place there. Perhaps unlikely, but I wanted to leave the option open. As the easement is a “forever” thing, I did not want to cut the kids out if any of them got interested in living in Bow.
My vision for the future is for the land to be used for hunting, fishing, recreation, hiking and such like. Perhaps long term, maybe it could become a park or just a wildlife area. In 2012, we, along with our neighbors the Stumbs and the Kornneefs, had a timber harvest done. This thinned out some of the forest and will promote more even growth. For now, we’ll just wait and see. The lot’s done well on its own; I am sure that with the threat of development gone, it’ll become a nice place for Bow residents (and maybe our descendants) to wander around in and enjoy.