Horse Hill Nature Preserve

Who are We?

The Horse Hill Nature Preserve (HHNP) is a 563+ acre parcel of land in Merrimack, NH that was acquired in 2002 at the wishes of the voters of Merrimack.

In 2002 the Town of Merrimack listed the HHNP as the top priority for conservation due to its size, quantity of wetlands and impact on wildlife and water resources.

The Horse Hill Association are Merrimack residents that would like to see the land preserved as open space for humans and wildlife to co-exist and to have the land remain undeveloped.

This parcel of land (HHNP) represents the single largest area of undeveloped, natural landscape in the town of Merrimack, and contains an impressive complex of wetlands that are relatively undisturbed. Very few communities in the state and in southern New Hampshire in particular, have been able to protect such large tracts of land.

HISTORY OF HHNP

Horse Hill (long before it was named this) was a parcel of land in the south central portion of Merrimack that was used as pasture land for horses some 200 years ago. Back in those days (approximately 1816), roads that crossed pastures were subject to gates and bars.  Local lore told from generation to generation was that one evening a neighboring farmer crossed the pasture and failed to secure the gate. Something spooked the horses that night causing one or more of them to be injured and subsequently they had to be destroyed. The case went to court and found the negligent farmer guilty and was required to pay damages. This was an early landmark in Jurisprudent for this type of negligence.

This was significant enough to the locals that the hill near where the incident occurred became known as Horse Hill. It was decided by a committee of Merrimack residents to name the parcel “Horse Hill Nature Preserve” and the Board of Selectmen made it official on May 8, 2003.

HHNP TODAY

In June 2002 a committee was formed at the request of the Board of Selectmen to evaluate the land and to recommend uses for it in order for the Town of Merrimack to enjoy the maximum benefit from it’s investment in this property. The recommended uses include: hiking, mountain biking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, hunting, education and conservation.

These recommended uses were based on nine goals and objectives for the property:

Section 8.1 & 8.2.
Another “possible” recommended use for this land is to build an Athletic Complex for a 90’ baseball field, two soccer fields and 3 parking lots on up to 50 acres of the 563+ acre parcel. (Section 8.2.2 of Master Plan)

The Horse Hill Association would like to see this entire parcel of land be used for the enjoyment of all the residents and children in Merrimack. We are not opposed to athletic fields in the town of Merrimack and recognize the importance of them in a community. However we are opposed to the development and destruction of the natural landscape of what is known as Horse Hill Nature Preserve.

The area proposed for the athletic complex is the northwest portion off of Amherst Rd that contains a very active beaver pond with a 4 tiered dam and two beaver lodges. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children of Merrimack to enjoy and learn about the workings of wildlife and its natural habitat.

As citizens we would like to commend the town of Merrimack for having the vision to protect this property for now and in the future. There is no cost to the community to keep the Horse Hill Nature Preserve as it is.

If you would like to view some of the photo’s of The Horse Hill Nature Preserve, click here.