Converse Woods Trails

Map: Converse Woods Trail Map (NRPC map detail)
Length:  Old Quarry Trail:  0.2 miles
              White Tail Trail:  0.2 miles
              Ledges Trail:  0.15 miles
              Snowy Owl Trail:  0.18 miles
              Haul Road Trail:  0.7 miles
              Black Bear Trail:  about 0.2 miles
Identification:  Old Quarry Trail:  Blue blazes
                        White Tail Trail:  White blazes
                        Ledges Trail:  Red blazes
                        Snowy Owl Trail: Red blazes
                        Haul Road Trail:  Yellow blazes
                        Black Bear Trail:  White blazes
Difficulty:  Walking: Easy
                 XC skiing: Easy
                 Mountain biking:  Easy
 
The 27-acre parcel of land being called Converse Woods lies on the east side of Pond Parish Road.  It is being managed by the Amherst Conservation Commission as a component of the 500-acre Grater Woods – Pond Parish Conservation Management Area along with the existing Pond Parish Town Forest and Grater Woods parcels.  A new parking area has been made with donated labor and materials and serves as a trailhead for the trails described below.  
 
Historically, the Converse Woods parcel along with the land on the west side of Pond Parish Road where the District Six School stood belonged to the Converse family.  Their dam, the bed of the pond behind it, and the saw mill are now privately owned. The wetland behind the dam and the supporting watershed are considered to be an ecologically important component of the Management Area.
 

Passive Recreation: One and a half miles of trails have been cleared and improved  using former logging roads.  The system of trails was created by then Souhegan HS student Jim Callahan as his senior project.  The trails were conceived for cross-country skiing by Jim, a fairly adept (my words) skier.  Snowshoeing to the side of the groomed trails is permitted as is hiking and mountain biking when there is no snow cover.  There are no motorized uses permitted.

The elevation difference between the low point on the Snowy Owl Trail to the height of land on the Haul Road Trail is 70 feet.  Even with this seemingly small difference in elevation, the forest changes from the laurel, spruce and hemlock in the moist low land at the edge of the former pond to stands of pine and white oak on the much drier upland.  The ground cover on the trails varies from low bush blueberry to wintergreen and cinquefoil with several other spring wildflower species poking out.  A connecting trail between the Converse Woods trails and the Grater Woods Trail is being planned.

All told, Converse Woods is a good place to visit for a 2-hour, not-too-challenging walk through a varied woodland environment.

Other trails in the works for 2017 include:  Pestleboro, Weston Pond (Parker ext,), Three Ponds