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Leaf Peepers unite for Conservation!

Posted Monday, October 17, 2022
— eNews
Hewes Hill in Swanzey

Sunset at Hewes Hill in Swanzey, part of the Tippin Rock Trail.

The Monadnock region offers hiking, hunting, skiing, climbing and more – whatever your passion, you’ll find it on conserved land. But if hiking hurts your feet, skiing makes you cold and climbing makes you dizzy, there’s always the time-honored New England tradition of leaf peeping. Fall foliage is a show without tickets, it’s fireworks without earplugs. All it requires is a love of color and pristine land on which to cast your gaze.

What makes trees in fall so fascinating to the eye? The green color of leaves in spring and summer come from Chlorophyll – an amazing chemical that helps trees turn sunlight into key nutrients they need to live. In the fall however, reduced sunlight and colder temperatures reduce the amount of Chlorophyll in the leaves, causing them to fade into the beautiful colors of fall. There is a window, or as you’ll hear around the region, a “peak”, time after the Chlorophyll has been drained but before we break out our leaf blowers. This natural process not only drives the life cycle of a tree, but it also drives, literally, millions of people to our region, eager to enjoy this spectacular explosion of natural color. Our region boasts many types of trees, but the most gorgeous in the fall are typically oak, chestnut, hickory, yellow birch, beech, and maples.

When we talk about the importance of land conservation, we typically talk about slowing climate change, preserving natural landscapes for future generations, and protecting wildlife. Tourism is another great reason to support Monadnock Conservancy and the cause of conservation. In 2021 roughly 4.3 million tourists spent an estimated $2 billion dollars in New Hampshire. Scenic drives to see the leaves were the number one reason tourists listed for visiting the state.

Preserving the land is also about preserving this vital source of local income and demonstrates how conservation and economic growth are not opposing goals. Put simply, you can’t peep leaves in Boston or New York city and although the increased traffic might be a mild headache for us locals, the dollars spent by tourists are well worth getting stuck behind a slow car on route 12.

Your donation to Monadnock Conservancy helps preserve family farms and beautiful, pristine trails – like the Tippin Rock Trail in Swanzey. This two-mile out and back will give you cliff-side views of the Monadnock region in fall and a special ‘secret’ boulder that can sway back and forth when pushed at just the right angle. Even if you can’t get the boulder to tip, the foliage of fall is well worth the trip.

Donate and keep peepin'!