|Beaver Pond, Madame Sherri Forest|
What's in a Name
One of the advantages of being a member of a conservation commission is the opportunity to name stuff. For years, I have been lucky to be a part of an active conservation commission in my home town of Chesterfield New Hampshire. We have worked hard to protect of our public lands and in the construction and maintenance of an extensive system of trails. We have built and maintained over twenty-five miles of trails. It has always been our feeling that by improving the accessibility of our beautiful natural lands, we could better impress our neighbors with the importance of their carefully preservation. I especially love blazing new trails to seldom explored portions of our lands. The fact that generations to come will enjoy the peace and beauty of these forest paths gives me the sense of contributing to a priceless legacy.
A side benefit of this work is that we get to name stuff! New trails, scenic vistas and even the occasional swampy bog all require names and, although our approach to this task is usually logical, it can sometimes be a bit random.
|Ice Storm on East Hill|
It is surprising that there has been so little debate over our naming process. Often the titles seem obvious, based on the topography. The hill to the east of Indian Pond in the
|Ancient Oak Trail|
|Moon Ledge Gathering - Don't Ask|
Our greatest honor comes when we can name things after people who have contributed to the special quality of life in our little rural community. It is a tangible link to our important past and a reminder that although much has been done to protect our special corner of New England, there is always more work ahead.
The Friedsam Town Forest
|Friedsam's Giant Red Oak|
accessible in the heart of Chesterfield and was a generous gift from the Friedsam family. The forest is typical new growth from old farm and pasture with old stone walls, streams, several old growth trees and interesting rock formations. Originally the forest had just one, marginally maintained, trail, but with the dedicated work of the Conservation Commission, it now offers four different trails and three parking areas. The forest is popular year round, but is especially busy this time of year, since it is posted against hunting. Reassuring for families, but we still recommend wearing orange.
|Work Around the Ravine Bridge|
on the Sargent Trail
Audrey's Meander and Bench
Audrey Ericson was a much admired elementary School teacher in Chesterfield. She loved to take her students on hikes in Friedsam
|Audrey and Her Bench|
For more images of the dedication check out my Audrey's Bench Gallery
Anne Stokes Loop / Madame Sherri Forest
The 488 acres of the Madame Sherri Forest was generously
|Ann at the Dedication|
|The Madame's "Castle" in the Woods|
|Madame Sherri Knew How to Strut|
The forest is named for the eccentric Madame Antoinette Sherri. Madame Sherri, who had worked as a costume designer for the Zigfield Follies in the 1920s, had built her country "Castle" in the woods of Chesterfield. She became famous (or infamous) for the parties she threw for visitors from the city and was said to have driven about the town
coat and nothing else. Madame Sherri died in 1965 at the age of 84 but for many years prior the castle had fallen to neglect and vandalism. On October 18, 1962 it was destroyed by fire. The foundation, chimneys and a grand stone staircase from the once magnificent house can still be seen adjacent to the Madame Sherri Forest. The Madame Sherri Forest is the jumping off point for the Ann Stokes Loop Trail and the Daniels Mountain Trail.
James O'Neil Forest
The James O'Neil, Sr. Forest is an 80-acre woodland on the Gulf
|O'Neil Family at the Dedication|
is part of the Wantastiquet-Monadnock Greenway Project. The forest was named after James O'Neil, Sr. The dedication ceremony, on November 5, 2005, was attended by his family and towns people. James O'Neil, Sr. was an outstanding citizen and statesman who raised his family in Chesterfield. His public service included town moderator, member of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, chair of School Board, chair of State School Board and Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He was active in the establishment of the Friedsam Town Forest and Pisgah State Park. Jim had a remarkably deep and resonant voice that always talked sense. You always wanted him on your side in any debate. His lifelong dedication to the Town of Chesterfield will be remembered by future generations as they enjoy the beauty of the James O'Neil, Sr. Forest.
Naming Stuff is great fun and it is especially exciting when we can celebrate the contributions of just a few of the remarkable people who have made our little town such a special place. So come and enjoy our wonderful and historic trails. Or better yet join you own local conservation commission and start naming your own stuff!
For more information about our stuff, check out the Chesterfield Conservation Commission Website.