Many long-time visitors to Squam will remember that there used to be a interpretive trail on Moon Island. The trail was created in the late 1980s by Tudor Richards, local ecologist and conservation activist. Now, more than twenty years later, Dan Kemp, in partnership with the SLA, has created and updated the Tudor Richards Forest Ecology Trail. In his research for this project, he uncovered interesting history surrounding both Moon Island and Holderness.
The original signs erected over twenty years ago have mostly disappeared and the island has continued to change. The new trail is in the same general location, and has twelve stations, each with a sign describing some aspect of the island's trees, ecological processes, or geological history. Most signs include an annotated illustration, further describing the natural processes that have shaped Moon Island.
The New England forests we see today are products of previous land use; locally, previous land use often involves sheep. Between 1820 and 1850, a sheep boom occurred in New Hampshire and Vermont. This was a time when the hills were cleared to the ridge tops and most of our stone walls were built. After the Civil War, human and sheep populations declined, but for the rest of the century, sheep remained an important animal in local agriculture. Could Moon Island have been used to pasture sheep as local lore suggests? Come join us at the SLA Headquarters at 534 Route 3 in Holderness on Thursday, June 13th at 7 PM as we learn more from Dan Kemp on the local history of Moon Island.
The Squam Speaker Series is a monthly program that focuses on a variety of local/regional conservation and environmental topics. All talks in the series are free and open to the public.