By: Kim Snyder, Interpretive Ranger (Southern Region Parks)
As the Discover Power of Parks Southern Rover, I have the pleasure of traversing the width of Southern New Hampshire weekly, seeing all kinds of environments and learning all about this diverse state.
From the Seacoast to the Vermont boarder, New Hampshire abounds with wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes. Join me on a tour across this state!
Stop #1: New Hampshire’s Seacoast
I begin my week at the Eastern edge of the state, gazing at the Isles of Shoals from South Hampton and Wallis Sands State Beaches. The human history of these distant crops of rock traces all the way back to the time before the mainland was settled, when fishermen and their families would journey to the Isles to harvest the bountiful herring and mackerel that surrounded the islands. Today, they are a source of mythos and conservation success stories; including a visit from the pirate Blackbeard and a colony of Arctic Terns occupying one island.
Feathered visitors to New Hampshire’s small seacoast are frantic and ravenous, gulping whatever they can from the sands and dashing away as fast as their spindly legs will carry them. The endangered Piping Plover takes up residence among the dunes, dodging through sunbathers and beach-walkers to reach the moist sand where they can forage. Gulls have learned the ways of people and boldly snatch whatever they can from blankets and even straight from hands! Keep a close eye on your food!
All the while, the waves wash the sands endlessly, carrying some grains away into the sea…and spreading others on the very same beach.
Stop #2: Pillsbury State Park
Pillsbury is next, far to the west and much further into the wilds.
For many years, Pillsbury has been a place of connection to the wildlife that call New Hampshire home. A pair of loons have returned to the park for at least 15 years to raise their young on the ponds. A beaver stubbornly continues to build a dam across one of the narrow channels connecting the waterways. Moose cross the thick woods often and barred owls call to each other at dusk.
At night the stars blaze overhead, scripting out stories and myths dating back as long as man has looked up.
Stop #3: Kingston State Park
My final stop for the week finds me at Kingston State Park; a wooded lake tucked just out of sight of the town of Kingston. Surrounded by a small stand of hemlock and beech trees, this park effortlessly creates the illusion that one is further away from civilization than only down a driveway.
The lake teems with frogs, snakes, and fishes and from the woods, the occasional cackling of a raven can be heard. Songbirds make their homes in the trees and squirrels chatter for attention.
I hope you have enjoyed taking this tour with me and maybe learned a little more about the parks near you. Catch you in the state parks this summer!