King Hill Connections
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This area extends from the Appalachian Trail (AT) corridor north of Ruddsboro Road south to the Lebanon border and east to Moose Mountain West. It links together several existing conserved lands, includes significant headwater tributaries of Mink Brook, and crosses the height of land into the Mascoma River watershed to include the headwaters of Blodgett and Hardy Hill Brooks. The area embraces Hayes Hill, King Hill, and Mount Tug, which rise 300 feet to 700 feet above the surrounding valleys. Although the borders of King Hill Connections touch Etna Village, Blueberry Hill, and the development on Laurel Road, within the area itself there is varied terrain, extensive open field and forests, and few houses. Five historic farmhouses are still in use, as well as two active farms. There is a section of Class VI road, outstanding views from numerous locations, and hillsides that can be seen from miles around.
Open Space Benefits
- Water Supply - All houses in this area of Hanover are supplied from private wells. Blodgett and Hardy Hill Brooks, as tributaries of the Mascoma River, are part of the City of Lebanon's municipal water supply.
- Surface Water - The main channel of Mink Brook arcs around this area on the east, north, and west. Intermittent and year-round tributaries flow off the hillsides in each of these directions. Some are deeply incised into rock or glacial deposit soils. There are also artificial and natural ponds, beaver ponds, and vernal pools.
- Wetlands - There are scattered wetlands through the area. Some former wetlands have been dammed and excavated to make farm-style ponds.
- Wildlife - The pattern of large open fields and large forested tracts, along with plentiful water, make this good general habitat, now threatened by fragmentation due to development. Some land is specifically managed for wildlife. Large animals - moose, bear, deer, turkey, fisher, coyote - are often seen or heard here, as are hawks and owls. (See Recreation below.)
- Biodiversity - Abundant.
- Productive Soils - Productive agricultural soils are found along King Road, along Ruddsboro Road north of the intersection with King Road, south of the easternmost portion of Etna Highlands Road, and at the Morton Farm.
- Recreation - This area offers the opportunity of a second north-south linkage across Hanover from Lyme to Lebanon. An extensive network of trails for summer and winter use already thread through large parts of this terrain. Riders from Dartmouth College's Morton Horse Farm also make use of some of the trails. The area affords excellent accessibility from the three residential districts that abut it, and from the several roadways that border or cross it. From it, hikers can extend their range directly onto Moose Mountain, to the Mink Brook corridor, or the AT, and thus to the Water Company Land, Lord's Hill, Monahan Valley and Slade Brook. These connections also facilitate protected passage for wildlife across the landscape of the town.
- Connections and Buffers - See Recreation.
- Class VI Roads - Two segments of Etna Highlands Road lie in this area. This was part of a coach road in colonial times which crossed Laramie Road and proceeded through the Morton Horse Farm.
- Scenic Assets - Views abound in the King Road Connection. From Hayes Hill, one can see in every direction, including 35 miles to the Green Mountains in the west. Mt. Ascutney can been seen from the fields crossed by the AT above Ruddsboro Road. Moose Mountain is visible from many locations. The Scenic Locales Report gives priority to the views from the fields adjacent to King Road, from which the Vermont mountains are visible from southwest to north.
- Historic Sites and Cultural Landscapes - Reflecting former times, old farms, logging roads, and cellar holes are found here.
- Education - A good sense of the shape of Hanover's landscape, and its most prominent features, can be obtained from several locations in King Hill Connection. Local residents feel a close sense of connection with the larger wildlife which frequent the area.