Thursday, May 21, 2015

Moose on the Loose

You've probably seen the New Hampshire conservation license plate with various creatures adorning the plate. The conservation plate was the brainchild of the Holderness School 4th grade class of Jane Kellogg in 1992. Little did they know that 4 years later their idea would be so strongly embraced by thousands of NH citizens who wanted a Moose on their license plate.

Today thousands of cars carry the Moose license plate and the result is hundreds of thousands of dollars going into the conservation fund for habitat protection and endangered species preservation.

The moose has become the unofficial New Hampshire symbol. What you may not have known is that at one time New Hampshire's population of moose had dwindled to only a handful living in the Great North Woods. During the last two decades Moose have made a miraculous recovery and now range throughout the state and especially in the Northcountry and the Central region of New Hampshire.

Moose crossing signs have become nearly as common as frost heave signs and they stay up all year long! Although you may see them almost anytime during the day, particularly on overcast days, the best time to view moose is unquestionably at dawn or dusk when they are feeding and most active. While Moose have expanded their range throughout New Hampshire they are most likely to be found in areas where there is an abundance of spruce and fir and marshes, bogs and ponds, which provide some of their favorite summertime food. Look around as you drive...are the trees mostly deciduous, leafy trees or are you in a region where spruce and fir trees (coniferous) dominate the landscape. If your answer is the latter, your chances of seeing a moose are decidedly improved. Drive slowly, keep your eyes open and have fun.

We recommend that you try some of these scenic roads for the best Moose watching.

Rte 16
Berlin to Errol
If you are up in the Great North Woods set your alarm and take an early morning drive along the Androscoggin River on Rte 16 from Berlin to Errol. Keep your eyes on both the river and the marshy areas adjacent to the road because you are likely to see a moose in either of these spots. This is by far the best road around for Moose watching. If you aren’t an early bird, the same trip at dusk will probably be just as fruitful.

Rte 118
Woodstock to Warren
Beginning in the Center of Woodstock at the Junction of Rte 3 and the Kancamaugus Highway follow the signs to Lost River Road, Rte 118 and Rte 112.

The Kancamaugus Highway
Woodstock to Conway
Known affectionately to local folks as the "Kank", this road offers some of the most stunning scenery in all of New Hampshire. So you won't immediately be tagged as a visitor the correct pronounciation of the road is: "Kank - uh - mog - us". The road winds from the town of Lincoln on the southern end to Conway on the north with many lookouts in between. For a change of pace, you can try the Bear Notch Road which diverges to the north about halfway across the Kancamaugus.

Sculptured Rocks Road,
Groton, NH
The Sculptured Rocks Road lies southeast of the village of Hebron. Continue past the Hebron Post Office and Fire Station along the Groton Road for about 2 miles to a fork in the road. Bear left at the fork and continue on. The road is paved for a while then turns to gravel. It leads past Sculptured Rocks natural area and can be followed all the way to Rte 118 in Dorchester (not recommended unless you are in a four wheel drive vehicle).

Rte 118
Rumney to Canaan

Beginning in West Rumney on Rte 25, Rte 118 diverges south through the quiet town of Dorchester, New Hampshire. This is Moose country so be on the lookout. Follow this road into the town of Canaan. To make a round trip back, bear left in Canaan on Rte 4 and thence to Rte 104 in Danbury. 104 will lead you to Rte 3 North in the town of Bristol where you will drive along Newfound Lake and back to the town of Rumney.

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