The following is an inventory and description of public and protected lands in Stratham.
The Town of Stratham owns a significant amount of open space, most of which is located in the vicinity of Stratham Hill. The Town's major land holdings include: Stratham Hill Park (108 acres); the "Gifford" land adjacent to Stratham Hill Park (129 acres); the site of Stratham Memorial School (37 acres); the conservation land which lies between Lovell Road and Gifford Farm Road (13 acres); the 20 acre Stevens recreation property, and the boat ramp at the end of River Road. In 2006 the Town also purchased a 30 acre parcel located on the Squamscott River. This parcel is critical since it abuts other preserved land, the Oxbow that is also owned by Stratham, and is opposite of conserved land in Exeter. This property is extremely important for maintaining estarine plant life, wildlife and bird habitat along the river. The parcel is
accessed through a right of way and is open for pedestrian access. The Town used the bond funds for this purchase but has not yet placed this parcel in a conservation easement although that is the intent. The town is delaying the easement in the hope matching grant money may become available for the town. This parcel is accessed through a right-of-way and is open for pedestrian access.
The State of New Hampshire owns two parcels in Town, both of which are located adjacent to the Squamscott River at Chapman's Landing. These sites have a total area of about seven acres, and are managed by the N.H. Fish and Game Department. The State also owns the land associated with the Great Bay Discovery Center near the Greenland town line along the Squamscott, several acres of open land near Turnberry as well as some salt marshes along the Squamscott River.
The 91-acre site of the New Hampshire Vocational Technical College is also included in this category. As discussed in the Recreation Chapter of the Master Plan, this tract contains several playing fields available for public use. As of the 2007 master plan revision, this parcel is up for sale with a number of interested parties.
In Stratham, quasi-public lands include those which are owned by the Boston and Maine Railroad, and transmission-line easements owned by the Public Service Company of New Hampshire for electricity, and by Northern Utilities for gas. These corridors can provide important links to open space lands.
Private Protected Land
In Stratham, there are generally two types of mechanisms which have protected privately-owned open space lands: I) conservation easements; and 2) cluster development.
a) Stuart Farm. This site is located in northwestern Stratham, and is bisected by Mill Brook. At 173 acres, this is the Town's largest tract of protected land. The conservation easement (development rights) is held by the N.H. Department of Agriculture. Public access is allowed by permission only.
b) Wiggin Conservation Land. This 37-acre parcel is located adjacent to Jewett Hill Brook. This land is ecologically important containing rare and endangered plants, and comprising a portion of the tidal wetland system of the Squamscott River. The conservation easement is held by the State of New Hampshire. Public access for transitory recreational purposes is allowed.
c) Tumberry Open Space. This land is the open space portion of the Tumberry Condominium development. It is a 6 I-acre tract located next to the Wiggin parcel (described above), adjacent to the Squamscott River. It also contains a significant amount of tidal wetlands. The easement is held by the Society. for Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Public access is allowed by permission only.
d) Salt River Open Space. This 51-acre tract is the open space portion of the Salt River Condominium development. Like the parcels described above, this land has ecological importance and contains tidal wetlands. The easement is held by the Rockingham County Conservation District (RCCD), and public access is permitted.
e) Berry Hill Farm. A conservation easement was acquired in 1997 by the Rockingham Land Trust on this scenic 50 acre parcel. Currently in active agricultural use.
f) Marjorie and Leland Goodrich. In 2001 the town purchased the easement rights to this 62 acre parcel that is located on Stratham Heights Rd. The easement was purchased with money from the Land Conservation Fund and a grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services and the easement is held by the Town of Stratham. The land is does not have public access
g) Sanderson. The town purchased the easement to this 26 acre parcel on Bunker Hill Ave with use of monies from the Land Conservation Fund and a FFRP grant in 2003.The easement is held by RCCD. Public access is allowed by permission only.
h) Bob and Marsha Wiggin Farm. The town purchased the easement to this 11 acre flower farm on Union Road in 2003 with funds from a NH Dept. of Environmental Services Grant. This parcel has a viewshed along the road and also is an active working farm. The easement is held by the Town of Stratham. Public access is allowed only by permission.
i) Hanna Property. The town was donated the easement to this parcel in 2003. The 36 acre forested parcel on Portsmouth Avenue abuts the Saltbox Farm. The easement is held by the Rockingham County Conservation District and no public access is allowed.
j) Flossie Wiggin. This 31 acre scenic tidal water salt marsh hay farm conservation easement was purchased in 2005 by the town using the Land Conservation Fund. It is located on Squamscott Road. and is adjacent to the Merrill Farm conservation land. The easement is held by RCCD. Public access is allowed by permission only.
k) Scullers. In 2006, the town purchased thru a bargain sale the easement on the Scullers Boat Club property on the Squamscott River. There is access to the 4.5 acre property through a right of way and is open to the pedestrian public. The easement is held by the Town of Stratham.
l) Barbara Broderick. The town purchased the 29 acre easement on Bunker Hill Ave in 2006 using funds from the Land Conservation Fund. While this property does not have a viewshed, it has both uplands and wetland areas and provides a significant area for groundwater recharge in an aquifer zone. The easement is held by the Southeast Land trust of NH and there is not public access allowed.
m) Jones. The town obtained this large, scenic, 94 acre easement on Winnicut Road using the bond funds and a grant from the FFRP . This parcel has been the largest easement purchased since the 2002 vote for the bond fund. This farm and forested property also affords the town a viewshed and has a wide variety of flora and fauna as identified in a 1996 study by UNH and runs along the Mill Brook Corridor. The easement is held by Rockingham Country Conservation District and pedestrian access is allowed by permission only.
n) Richard Scammon (behind Market Basket). This 90 acre conservation easement was purchased by the NH Society for the Protection of Forests in 2006.
o) Garvey White Applejack Farm. A conservation easement on this ?? acre property was donated by Garvey White. The easement is held by the RCCD and is not open to public access.
p) Adams Farm. The town purchased a 10 acre easement on this property on Winnicut Rd using funds from the Land Conservation Fund. The easement is held by the Town of Stratham.
q) Bob and Irma Goodrich, SaltBox Farm. The town of Stratham purchase a conservation easement on this property using Land Conservation funds. ?? acres are preserved and the easement is held by Rockingham County Conservation District.
r) Golf Club of New England. This site has a total of acres of conserved land, of which, are in Stratham and are located in Greenland. The property is adjacent to the Winnicut River and the conservation was a contingency of the site plan app.
Cluster Development Open Space
In 1983, the Town of Stratham adopted a cluster development provision in its Zoning Ordinance. The cluster ordinance has led to many tracts of open space being protected, in perpetuity, especially along the Squamscott River. The following is a list of the cluster developments which have set aside significant tracts of open space to remain undeveloped, in perpetuity: