Grasslands are an increasingly rare sight in New Hampshire. More than 70 species of wildlife use these open areas of fields and wildflowers to meet their needs for food, cover, or breeding.
ACC manages 250 acres of grasslands on 14 properties throughout Amherst. Interestingly, many of these grasslands were created by humans centuries ago and will revert to forest if not mowed on a periodic basis. Many grassland species are now threatened in New Hampshire because of such reversion of grasslands to forest. For this reason, you will notice ACC's grasslands mowed every so often.
Use our Habitats & Trails map to locate grasslands in town. You can even use this interactive map on your smart phone while hiking.
Check out citizen science and nature stewardship that takes place, and you can be a part of, on Amherst's grasslands.
ACC is undertaking a grasslands restoration project at Buck Meadow, a property that until 2019 operated as a golf course. ACC acquired the property in partnership with the Amherst Recreation Department. A major portion of the area will be managed as a nature conservation area that protects wetlands, forest, and grasslands. Moreover, protection of this area contributes to maintaining the quality of a major aquifer, a source of water for Amherst.
The grasslands restoration will involve the natural replacement of the current grass species found on fairways and greens with native species for which this site is suitable. This process will take several years and may involve some interventions to control invasive species and periodic mowing.
Over time we expect this area to host more native wildlife, including a variety of songbirds and birds of prey, fox, deer, and let's see what else. Because this may include ground nesting birds, we ask that visitors not bring dogs to the area during Spring-Summer-Autumn months.
The grasslands restoration project will follow a plan developed in consultation with ecologists with the University of New Hampshire's extension service and practical tips on topics such as invasive species management and converting fairways to natural grassland from our neighbor, Amherst Country Club.
You can get involved with our citizen science initiatives to track the restoration of the area. We currently have two underway: