The Boston Lot Conservation area comprises 436 acres with seven miles of trail.
The area has been used since Lebanon’s earliest days when the first four settlers of the future city spent the winter of 1762-63 there. The lot acquired its name from a Boston company that planned to explore for and remove granite in the late 19th century. Early in the 20th century, a dam was built to create the 45 acre Boston Lot Reservoir, which for many years supplied West Lebanon. Although the use of the reservoirs was discontinued in the early 1960s, the dam, hydrant, and spillway remain.
The original 330 acres became permanently protected in 1996 by a conservation easement held by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. In 2009, Dartmouth College provided as a gift to the City an additional 108 acres of land that extended the property in a westerly direction towards Route 10.
The most prominent feature of this property is the Boston Lot Reservoir (elevation 638 feet). The lake feature is ringed by ridges, forming a bowl that surrounds it, enhancing the “backcountry” experience that this property offers. Several small streams flow into the reservoir, and one stream flows from the dam spillway to the Connecticut River. The bedrock is primarily Lebanon granite, a medium- to coarse-grained pink rock. Near the western boundary, the Lebanon granite is a border gneiss. The soils are shallow, so outcrops of bedrock are common and easily observed along the shore of the reservoir. Glacial boulders are common, especially on the slopes east of the reservoir where large boulders are found. Steep ledges are prominent on the southeast slope of Burnt Mountain, offering an excellent viewing point.
The land area of Boston Lot is completely forested with a wide variety of species typical of a northeastern mixed deciduous-coniferous climax forest. The dominant species are sugar maple, beech, red oak, hemlock, and white pine. Pure stands of white pine and white birch occur. Most of the species are characteristic of moist woods resulting from poorly drained soils. Historical silvicultural practices are evidenced in many of the forest stands, including some “specimen” trees that survived past logging events. One such red oak nicknamed “Big Red,” located off the Honey Suckle Trail is over 16 feet in circumference. Wildflowers abound in the Lot. The spring wildflowers include hepaticas, mayapples, lady slippers, yellow violets, and trailing arbutus. Christmas fern and maidenhair fern are common.
The area is home to abundant wildlife, including squirrels, weasels, bears, fishers, rabbits, foxes, skunks, mink, beavers, bobcat, moose, and deer. There is at least one prominent deer yard on the property. Numerous migrating and resident species of birds can be observed in the area, including the first authenticated sighting of a turkey vulture nest this far north. Loons and barred owls have also been seen at the Lot. The 46-acre lake contains perch, pickerel, bass, and horned pout.
Recreation activity on the property occurs during all four seasons, including hiking, biking, snowshoeing, ski touring, as well as hunting, fishing, and picnicking. Camping is permitted by permit at the following three locations: the two open fields at the terminus of the access road that are in close proximity to the lake, as well as a primitive campsite at the northern end of the lake. The primitive campsite was completed as an Eagle Scout project, as was a bridge on the trail system south of the lake.
The most popular way to access the property includes utilizing the parking area adjacent to the Wilder Dam along NH Route 10, and taking the access road approximately 1/2 mile up to the lake area. Additional trail access points include from the Water Tower road directly south of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), as well as both the Indian Ridge Trail and Sachem Village Trail coming in from the North. There are several trails on private property to the South that connect with the Boston Lot system, including trails on the Landmark property owned by Dartmouth College that extend all the way south to Old Pine Tree Cemetery Road.
Camping is permitted by permit only at the following three locations: the two open fields at the terminus of the access road that are in close proximity to the lake, as well as a primitive campsite at the northern end of the lake. The primitive campsite was completed as an Eagle Scout project, as was a bridge on the trail system south of the lake.
In order to camp in the Boston Lot Conservation Area, you must apply for a permit first. Permits are limited and no one party shall be permitted to stay more than 3 nights cumulatively in a calendar year. For more information, please see the Conservation Commission’s policy for Camping on Conservation Lands, as well as the Leave No Trace™ principles adopted by the City.
Completed forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or marked: Attn: Planning & Development and dropped in the green drop box outside the side entrance of City Hall (51 N. Park St., Lebanon, 03766). If you have questions, please email us at email@example.com or call us Monday - Thursday, 7:00 am-5:00 pm at 603-448-1457.
Campers who intend to use the campsite fire rings will also need to obtain a burn permit. Burn permits can be easily obtained online by visiting LebanonNH.gov/BurnPermit.
View the Boston Lot Conservation Management Plan (PDF)