How the SRK began …

This is the first of a series of articles exploring
the origin and early history of the SRK Greenway.


In the late 80s when Mary Lyn Ray of South
Danbury was hoping to protect a nearby property
from development she turned to realtor Wade
Weathers for information and advice. In his office
there were two local USGS maps displayed in the
same frame. Their juxtaposition meant it was easy
to see how much land was held in easements and
how closely aligned the protected properties were;
there were only a few gaps. Mary Lyn was looking
at land on the maps while Wade was visualizing the
people and the history of an area he knew well.
According to Mary Lyn, “We began studying the
maps closely — discussing who lived where, who
knew whom, and who might be open to
conservation. We were just talking. In the
beginning our idea was that we would try to create a
linked ring of protected properties. Someday there
might be a trail running through that corridor,
connecting with the Monadnock-Sunapee trail to the
south. In all truth, the trails were a secondary
interest. The trails were a nice idea that came
After Wade Weathers moved away, Mary
Lyn continued to explore the idea with Sylvia Bates
of the New Hampshire Society for the Protection of
Forests (NHSPF). Together they worked toward
involving the broader community by inviting many
local organizations (NHSPF, ASLPT, LSPA, among
others) to send a representative to the first meeting
in New London. The eventual series of meetings
became a conversation among enthusiasts who
then volunteered to bring the project to the attention
of area conservation commissions.

Reflecting on those early days Mary Lyn points out the luck of
timing: “Once upon a time land protection seemed
to be done by well-established groups or those
individuals with substantial private holdings, but that
was changing. Fortuitously this was the time when
land protection began to be undertaken by ‘ordinary
people.’ Realization was dawning that our
viewshed was vulnerable and townspeople began
to realize they had an interest in planning.
Individuals like Bill Hoffman in towns like Andover
made such a difference in what remains. It was an
accident of history that when early conversations
about the SRK Greenway and land protection
began there were some properties not yet broken
up that were held by people with good hearts and
will. They liked and responded to the idea that their
contributions would be part of something larger.”
All of us who enjoy walking on the SRKG
trails through these properties are grateful to the
planners and landowners whose vision and
generosity make it possible.

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