Spanning the border between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Passaconaway Wildlife Refuge is a protected area of about 180 acres. Established in 2016, the refuge is part of a long-term study to learn about rewilding ecosystems. Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have instrumented the refuge with cameras, microphones, motion detectors and other sensors to measure the behavior of native wildlife in their undisturbed state.
The Refuge contains a forest of red maple, red oak, white pine, black cherry, black birch, white birch, hemlock, beech, sugar maple, red pine and spruce. The forest surrounds a 50 acre lake that is over 20 feet in depth, with about a mile of shoreline and many acres of marshland. It is home or feeding ground for bats, chipmunks, beavers, otters, shrews, raccoons, white-footed mice, porcupines, voles even the occasional bear, bobcat or moose. There are many hundreds of native species of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish. Except for facilities for the resident caretaker and visiting scientists, the refuge is undeveloped.
This refuge is named after Chief Passaconaway of the local Penacook Indian tribe. Passaconaway was a leader of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which today works to protect and restore the natural environment of northwestern forests.
Advanced appointments are required to visit the Refuge. Visitors are welcome except when active research studies are being conducted. Activities include hiking, picnicing, swimming, overnight camping, and informational tours of the Refuge. Visiting is free of charge.
To schedule an appointment