Sprucewood Forest is a key linkage to existing conservation lands. The wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, and recreational value of this property make the forest a conservation priority for the town of Durham. Because the property is situated along the Oyster River atop an important aquifer, its protection was essential to safeguarding drinking water quality for the Town of Durham and University of New Hampshire. The Oyster River is also a major tributary flowing into the Great Bay, so land use patterns along it profoundly affect an ecosystem that supports rare species while providing feeding, breeding, and nursery grounds for finfish, oysters, shellfish, waterfowl, and shorebirds.
The Trust for Public Land negotiated an option that allowed enough time to raise the funds to purchase and protect the property. Working in partnership with the Town of Durham and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, we raised funds from federal, state and municipal sources, including the Wetlands Reserve Program, the New Hampshire Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program, the Town of Durham Conservation Commission, and the state’s Mooseplate and Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. We also raised additional funds from private foundations and generous Durham and seacoast residents to purchase and protect Sprucewood Forest.