Frank Bolles Nature Preserve
The 247-acre Frank Bolles Nature Preserve lies at the foot of Mount Chocorua and touches the northern shore of Chocorua Lake. Protected for its outstanding diversity, the preserve includes forest lands, wooded swamps, upland streams, woodland clearings, glacially formed kettleholes and eskers, and lake frontage. Each of these ecosystems supports a considerable array of plants and wildlife: approximately one hundred and sixty species each of flora and fauna have been observed within the preserve. Moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, porcupine, red fox, short-tailed weasel, raccoon, otter, and snowshoe hare are some of the species that occupy this unique natural area.
The Bolles Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by the Chocorua Lake Conservancy. It is open to the public for passive recreational, educational, and scientific uses. It was a gift from Evelyn Bolles Phenix, daughter of the late naturalist and writer Frank Bolles, in 1969.
The preserve is well buffered by thickly-wooded, privately-owned areas to the east and south. Just north is the White Mountain National Forest; the 268-acre Clark Reserve owned by the Chocorua Lake Conservancy lies along the preserve’s western flank. Together, the Frank Bolles Nature Preserve and the Clark Reserve form a 518-acre natural area.
One of the most interesting features of the Frank Bolles Nature Preserve is Heron Pond (also known as “Lonely Lake”), an eight-acre kettlehole whose water level fluctuates in a strange manner not entirely related to water tables. At times, the water level is so low that the pond’s small island is connected to the mainland on both sides, dividing Heron Pond into two ponds. On the neighboring Clark Reserve is “The Valley of the Boulders,” an unusual deposit of large glacial boulders, many cleaved by frost action. From the shore of Chocorua Lake, the reserve’s terrain rises gradually and steadily westward to an altitude of 1,100 feet at the summit of Bickford Heights. The peak is about thirty feet over the border into the Clark Reserve.
DIRECTIONS: From Chocorua Village, take NH Route 16 North 1.5 miles to Chocorua Lake Road on the left. Take Chocorua Lake Road 0.6 miles to an intersection, bear Right. Bear right at sign that say “Mt. Trails”. Follow sign that says DEAD END for 0.2 miles further. Parking for the Bolles Preserve (space for approximately 4 cars) is on the left at “Bolles Preserve and TNC Nature Sanctuary” sign. Please do not park in driveways. Follow marked trail to the beginning of the preserve.
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