Dartmouth Second College Land Grant

Nested in the crown of New Hampshire, the Dartmouth Second College Grant is a testament to the power of ecological forestry in a hardy landscape. Two lucky foresters, Forest Stewards Guild members Kevin Evans and Riley Patry, are the latest forest managers in the property’s more than 200-year history. Their work demonstrates the principles of forest stewardship and made the Grant a natural fit for the Forest Stewards Guild’s Model Forest designation. 

The Grant’s 27,000 acres have been harvested since 1828 and have been under the care of professional foresters since 1905. The land is rich in biological diversity, and the Dartmouth community has utilized the Grant for research, education, remote recreational activities, and timber production. The vision is that “management of the Second College Grant will be a model of environmentally sound private land stewardship, reflective of the ecology, landscape, and culture of the northern forests of New Hampshire and New England.” 

This heavily timbered land drew the attention of local timber companies, culminating in an 1899 theft of over 11 million feet of timber. The college needed a forester, and Phillip Ayres was hired to steward the land. Under Ayres’ tenure, a camp and a farm were built, and later, a spruce budworm epidemic led to heavy salvage cutting and profits. In 1947, Robert Monahan became the second College Forester. His chief legacy was the multiple-use philosophy; additional cabins were built, and hiking and fishing became popular, all while harvesting millions of board feet of valuable hardwoods. In 1967, Seven Islands Land Company was contracted to develop a long-range plan, which included deer yard management. In 1987, following challenges posed by another spruce budworm outbreak, Edward Witt was hired as the third College Forester. Mr. Witt fulfilled the Seven Islands goal of improving “the quality of the residual forest by cutting as much low-quality timber as possible.”  

In 1993, Kevin Evans was hired, and in the same year, the State of New Hampshire recognized the Second College Grant for its long-term quality management and entered into a formal agreement to protect and enhance wildlife habitat. Under Kevin’s leadership, Dartmouth College Woodlands completed a massive inventory, introduced GIS and a permanent plot system, and established a system of annual wildlife population surveys. Riley Patry, a wildlife biologist and forester, joined the Dartmouth College Woodlands staff in 2012.  

Today, the Dartmouth Second College Land Grant sports an excellent road system that facilitates access to hunting, fishing, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, as well as research and harvesting sites. Populations of grouse, woodcock, songbirds, and wood turtles are continuously monitored. Most recently, the Grant has been designated as a Northern Hardwood research site for the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change network. This designation, along with the Forest Stewards Guild Model Forest designation, will help elevate the Grant’s role as a teaching and demonstration forest. 

Kevin’s and Riley’s work in the Dartmouth Second College Land Grant embodies the Forest Stewards Guild’s mission, principles, and practices. To learn more, please visit the Grant’s Model Forest page on the Guild website. You can also try to reach Kevin and Riley at the Dartmouth College Woodlands office at (603) 449-2049, but very likely, they’ll be out in the woods.