Less than a year after WPA Board member David White first
contacted Ben Riggs, a very special 57-acre parcel belonging
to Ben's wife, Lee Riggs, and her sister, Linda Ainsworth,
has been permanently protected from development. The
Ainsworth and Riggs families sold the property to Lakes
Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) on April 15, 2015. Also
protected are sections of the locally popular WODC Gordon
Path and the Ainsworth Trail, which pass through the
property, as well as pedestrian use of the right of way from
Route 113A across the Wonalancet River to access these
trails and the White Mountain National Forest.
The property has been owned and carefully stewarded by
successive generations of the Ainsworth family since 1943,
when Walden Lee Ainsworth and Gladys Ainsworth Salisbury
acquired the parcel (along with other land and Wonalancet
Farm) from Arthur Walden.
The 57-acre Albany tract had been identified as one of a number of conservation priorities by the
WPA, which commissioned a professional Opinion of Value to establish a basis for Fair Market
Value. The Ainsworth and Riggs families had for several years previously been looking into sale
of the property to the WMNF or to another conservation organization.
LRCT was asked to become involved, to lend its expertise to the negotiation, and to craft the
final agreement. Funds for the acquisition were raised largely from within the local community
by a few of your neighbors and other friends of Wonalancet. The Wonalancet Preservation
Association contributed $10,000 and provided an additional $10,000 matching grant to help
leverage private donations.
LRCT has a strong interest in conservation within the Wonalancet area, and has nearly
completed protection of two other parcels, belonging to Nancy Stearns and Ruth
Moscovitch/Vinton Thompson, respectively. Both of these are donated conservation easements,
and the Moscovitch/Thompson project also protects public access to the WODC's Old Mast Road,
Kelley, and Wonalancet Range Trails. Total acreage permanently protected by these three
projects is just under 150 acres.
The Board of the WPA thanks all of you who made the Ainsworth/Riggs purchase possible!
David White
A I N S W O R T H / R I G G S P R O P E R T Y C O N S E R V E D !
Issue # 3 W O N A L A N C E T I R R E G U L A R Summer 2015
H e l e n S t e e l e ' s T h o u g h t s o n t h e D i l e m m a o f M i l k w e e d ( A s c l e p i a s )
As a child, I played with it and imagined that the lovely fluff would deliver a secret
message to my best friend. Or it was fun to race the fluff released to the wind. It is
one important nectar source for native bees. Some insects get trapped in slits in the
stigma and die. The fluff is coated with a waxy substance and can be used for
insulation. South American
tribes used a concentrate in
poison darts. Milkweed is named
for its milky latex sap. (No one
has yet been successful making
rubber from the sap.) Most are
familiar with an important
monarch butterfly connection as
milkweed is a food source for the
Milkweed has come north with
the tick and poison ivy via global
warming. Currently we have too
much milkweed for farmers.
Milkweed contains toxic alkaloids
and cardenolides; for sheep and
horses 10% in the feed will cause
death. Young animals eating
significantly less will not thrive.
I am lucky to be filling this part of my life as a farmer. As you know, profits are
ginormous. On a good year I am able
to cut 5000 forty-pound bales of hay
for the sheep, for mulch and for folks
buying horse hay. Milkweed makes
for a not good year. I have plenty of
the lovely stuff in the outer pastures
for bees and monarchs (has anyone
seen one?). In the hay pastures we
pick it out stalk by stalk, soul-
deadening labor as it does not seem to
reduce what comes up the next year.
The roots are very enthusiastic about
my pulling stalks; at least two come
up from the wound in the next
Help yourself to stuffing for pillows,
insulation, kapok and cleaning up oil
Helen Steele
On May 27th The Wonalancet Preservation
Association sponsored a community
conversation on management of open land
(fields and crop land) – an asset with which
Wonalancet is particularly blessed.
The goal is to continue to bring together
people with varying perspectives and
experience, to exchange knowledge and ideas.
If there is general agreement on certain
practices, we may be able to create a best
practices educational document that anyone
who wants to could use. Where one-size-fits-all
practices don't appear to exist, we may still be
able to pull together helpful hints for people
with specific goals.
For example, if your goal is to keep your land
open and enhance blueberry production, will mowing only once every two years be cost effective? If pollinator
habitat is needed for crops but milkweed compromises your haying needs, can we identify a workable
compromise? We see this as the start of an evolving dialogue and learning process. We hope others will be
joining in along the way. Contact WPA through Doug McVicar at 603-323-7302.
Monarch haven or haying problem? ~ photo by Athena Holtey ~
Wonalancet Native Bees & Other Pollinators
“Honeybee decline has gotten lots of attention, but there are
hundreds of species of native pollinators that can help perform
pollination services. People can help support native pollinators by simple acts: most importantly, plant flowering plants
that serve as nectar and pollen sources for insects to live on from early spring through fall.
Wonalancet is an out-of-the-way haven for many of New
Hampshire’s pollinators destined for the endangered species list. The
Monarch Butterfly loves our milkweed, but this Rusty Patch Bumble
Bee is also a candidate due to its 87% decrease in population
throughout New England over the past few years.
Extension Specialist Cathy Neal, coordinating a newly formed multi-
state Northern New England Pollinator Habitat Working Group, says:
Unknown to most, some of our own local farmers have had to hand-pollinate when the natural way has failed them. As a
beekeeper in Wonalancet I believe honey bees provide some insights into what local activities impact these native
populations, like mowing times of day as well as times of the year. Neither my bees nor the locals get out of the way of a
mower. A colony’s entire foraging force can be lost.
There are only two “nectar flows” in Wonalancet’s very short growing season - Spring/Summers dandelions and other
wildflowers, then Fall’s goldenrod and asters. By October 1st there is little left. All insects seek to maximize these times of
year in order to survive our long winter months.
A wonderful read by Clarissa Pinkola Estés titled “The Faithful Gardner” demonstrates the ways of a rural people whose
lives depended on such knowledge. We are very close to the land here in this beyond-beautiful place. Let’s pay attention
to it, supporting the efforts of our own native pollinators to survive the season, and cooperate with nature to maximize its
bounty to farmer and nature lover alike.
Two Native Pollinators on Sedum ~ photo by Athena Holtey
by Athena Holtey
Wonalancet’s Open Lands Community Discussion
Ceratina or "small carpenter bee"
They make nests in dead wood, stems, or pith,
and while many are solitary, a number are with mothers
caring for their larvae,
Megachile or "leaf cutter bee”
Nests are sometimes constructed within hollow
twigs or other similarly constricted natural
cavities, but often are in burrows in the ground.
Osmia Bee
Make nests in reeds and natural holes,
creating individual cells for their brood
that are separated by mud dividers.
Called “Mason Bees” they store
pollen for winter survival.
Augolchlora Bee
Metallic green or gold “Sweat Bee”.
It burrows in wood. Mated females
overwinter in wood.
Some Pollinators Native to Wonalancet
Monarch Butterfly
This butterfly forages on many plants,
but will only lay eggs in milkweed. They
begin life in the east and migrate to the west.
Decreases in Monarchs arriving west last year
suggested dramatic losses in milkweed in the east
as well as foraging resources on the westward path.
Honey Bees In Wonalancet
It has been my privilege to maintain one to two apiary sites for
Honey Bees in Wonalancet since we bought our house from the
McVicars in 2008 after renting there since 2000. It has also been my
sorrow as that is about the time honey bee colonies were collapsing
around the globe from a perfect storm of maladies. The learning
curve has been tough, but has resulted in success this spring with all
nine of my hives surviving their second winter out on the property
along Red Path owned by John and Martha Chandler.
These successfully over-wintered bees were purchased from seasoned
northern New England beekeepers as nucleus colonies or whole
hives. Their genetics go back in some cases to queens bred in the
1960s. They were bred because they survived the cold, knew how to
seek out and destroy mites with potential for infestation, and proved
resistant to
many of the
virus and
afflicting the
modern commercial bee industry. This resistance comes primarily from
living in an environment safe from most chemical contaminants. It
also helps to have a beekeeper who has done this a few years, but I
still spent the winter thinking of some things I may have done
differently, even with good bees and six seasons of experience. If you
want to be a beekeeper, especially if you want to bring bees to
Wonalancet, start with good bees. The future of these valuable
pollinators as a species depends on it.
story & photos by Athena Holtey
Dear Mamma:-
It is a fine clear day again but so cool that we have a little fire in the
fireplace. I am so glad our room has one both for pleasure and comfort. We
went up Mt. Whiteface yesterday, a
poor day as there was
absolutely no view. But we had the fun of the climb. and at the top were right in the clouds - some of
them below us, some above. It is a much longer trail than that up Chocorua, as there is no half-way
house, but the trail was perfectly clear and only a little if any harder. . . . We climbed up what is
known as the Blueberry Ledge Trail, because about half way up it goes over great ledges where there
blueberries. They have big expeditions to go up and pick lots of
them. Of course they were nearly gone by, but we found some
good. . . .
The clouds were
interesting, and we had a splendid time, just Miss
Purington, Miss Smith & I. We had put it off from day to day hoping for a
clear day, but didn't dare wait any longer. With love to you, Abby
H e r i t a g e C o r n e r
The writer of this September 1908 letter from Wonalancet was Abby Howe Turner (1875-1957), a
zoologist with a PhD from Radcliffe who established the Department of Physiology at Mt. Holyoke
College, where she taught for almost 50 years. She traveled widely in Europe and the US to study and to
hike. She returned to Wonalancet at least one more time, and climbed Whiteface again in 1916.
Wonalancet Real Estate News
31 Ferncroft Road is for sale. This is a lovely historic summer home
with a lot of character and a great porch right on the Wonalancet River.
For more information call Lloyd & Day 323-7803, or email
We have it on good authority that the Chinook Kennel has sold. No word yet what the plans are for the
place – or for the buildings, some of which were felt to be beyond restoration when a group of
preservation experts visited the site back in 2008.
The former AMC Wonalancet Cabin was for sale by the owners, Darcy and Van Hobgood, who bought
it from the AMC. They tell us the property is under contract and the new owners are “nice folks who
hike” and are also interested in the history and community that grew up around that place over the years.
Wonalancet Preservation Association Annual Meeting
Sunday, August 9
at the Wonalancet Chapel
Community potluck supper in the grove starting at 5:30 PM.
We move inside at 7 PM for the Annual Meeting.
Read all about it, at wonalancet.org. Lots of new & exciting material just added!
More information on the Ainsworth purchase, plus a map and photo gallery.
Timeline of Wonalancet history. You won't see this anywhere else!
Minutes of the 2014 WPA Annual Meeting
Agenda for the 2015 Annual Meeting, hot off the press,
as soon as we get it.