NRLT Easements – Pat Gahagan

Gahagan Property

In 1964 Patricia (Pat) deGogorza Gahagan and her husband James bought a 101.8-acre, largely-wooded property on Dog Pond Road in Woodbury. The property passed to Pat on James’ death in 1999. In December 2011 Pat, an NRLT trustee, donated a conservation easement to the land trust. Two 5-acre homesteads are reserved for Pat and her children.
Special features of the property include a 12-acre pond rich in wildlife, two vernal pools, and a 2-acre fen in a mixed soft-hardwood forest on varied terrain. The pond was created in 1929 for a fish & game club by damming the Dog Pond outlet brook, and is significant in Woodbury’s history. A smaller pond in the southern corner, now silted in, was once the site of a saw mill.

Beavers are active in the dam area, and deer, moose, otter, muskrat, fisher, mink, bobcat, black bear, barred owl, great blue heron, osprey, hooded mergansers, American mergansers, ring-necked duck, mallard, Canada geese, wood duck, and black duck have all been observed on the property.

Apart from the pond, the Woodbury Conservation Commission has highlighted the two-acre fen, dominated by the sedge Carex lasiocarpa, with a large population of lesser purple fringed orchids (Platanthera psycodes), and about five plants of Swamp Thistle, Cirsium muticum, a state-listed native thistle.

Pat’s agreement with NRLT guarantees public access to the property, with advance permission of the landowner, for nature walks, educational studies, scientific research, and other safe, quiet, low-impact activity. Taking note of this important public benefit, the Woodbury Fund contributed half of the $5,000 stewardship fee that NRLT sets aside for each new easement in accordance with standards of the Land Trust Alliance.

On January 14, 2012, some 60 citizens of Woodbury joined Pat and other NRLT trustees and friends at Woodbury Town Hall to celebrate Pat’s easement