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Plans for a Nature Park Take Root

Kids, families, seniors, and all members of the Winchester, New Hampshire, community will be invited to play, explore, and walk a trail that is being built this summer. The empty lot pictured here will be transformed into a nature park (the orange flags in this photo mark the start of the trail’s path).

At the corner of Route 10 and Lawrence Street, the property is owned by the Winchester Learning Center, a United Way-funded agency that provides childcare and after school programs for ages 6 weeks to 7 years old.

The WLC and the Conservancy are partnering to build the “WLC Community Nature Park” on the vacant parcel, which is adjacent to the center.

The first step was to build a boardwalk to provide universal access — including for people using wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers — across wetlands between the undeveloped 3.5 acres and the center’s play yard. The boardwalk is nearly complete thanks to the efforts of the Conservancy’s land manager, Rick Brackett, Lew Shelley of SnowHawk LLC, and a dedicated team of volunteers.

Next, a crew from the Student Conservation Association, under the supervision of Matt Coughlin of Recon Trail Design LLC, will break ground on an accessible path later this month.

The WLC and the Conservancy believe deeply in the value of outdoor play to early childhood development, and we are excited for the creation of this park to unfold this summer. Updates will be shared on the Conservancy’s Facebook page throughout the project’s progress.