DEERING WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Take Routes 9 and 202 to Hillsboro Center/Route 149 exit and drive into Hillsboro. At the light in the center of town, turn south on to Route 149. Drive one mile; then turn left onto Clement Hill Road. After approximately 1.5 mile; Clement Hill Road makes a right turn. The year round parking area is 0.4 mile on the right. Further down Clement Hill Rd, at the bottom of a steepish hill, there is another parking area. Please note that winter and spring road conditions can make travel difficult on the last section of Clement Hill Road a challenge.
The Audubon Society of New Hampshire has preserved nearly 700 acres of land in this part of Deering. You can read about the history of these lands by following this link http://www.nhaudubon.org/deering-wildlife-sanctuary/.
Three trail loops constitute the Sanctuary’s trail system. Each trail is combined with portions of Clement Hill Road to form the loops. Clement Hill Road has summer maintenance only beyond the Smith Farm and is closed to vehicles from October through April. Dogs on a leash are allowed on the Patten Farm Trail only. You can download a trail map and a trail guide by following these links.
Black Fox pond is my favorite kayaking pond in Deering. Few visit the pond, giving a sense of solitude when on the water. Vegetation grows to the edge of the pond, and on the islands in the pond, enabling the kayaker to get close to flowers. There is a great profusion of flowers on Black Fox pond. These include the insecticolous plants floating bladderwort (Utricularia radiata, flowering July and August) and sundew (Drosera intermedia, flowering mid to late July), gaudy sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia, flowering in June) and the orchid Pogonia ophioglossoides (flowering late June, early July). There are also early spring bloomers high bush blueberry, Andromeda and male berry. Near the lower parking area there is a good population of corn lily (Clintonia borealis). Early in spring this plant bears small yellow flowers; the fruit, a deep blue berry, forms over the summer.
For kayaking park at the lower area, opposite Tree Frog Pond. It’s about 150 yards along a level trail from the parking area to the pond. Put in a short distance along the trail to the right when you reach the pond. The trail from the parking area is smooth, covered with pine needles and other leaf litter, thus making dragging a kayak a simple job.
The trail from the upper parking area is on a gentle slope; it’s level and is easy to follow. In spring you can find trillium and, later, lady’s slipper orchids. When the trail reaches the pond the vegetation changes, possibly in response to the low pH of the pond’s water. Blueberries, both high bush and low bush are thickly disposed along the sides of the trail. In June you will see a lot of Lady’s slippers here and, toward the dam, there are trailing arbutus, bunchberry and partridge berry. Unless you want to walk back up, either retracing the trail or continuing out to Clement Hill Rd, you might consider spotting cars at each end of the trail.
I have snowshoed on the pond in January when checking the several wood duck boxes that are located there. It was a cold and windy day, the snow was deep and crusty, and I was inexperienced with snow shoes. An experience I will not soon forget. But … give it a try!