New England Forestry Foundation

Visitor Safety and Guidelines

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Balancing risks and rewards is a normal part of everyday life, and enjoying the outdoors is no exception. There are inherent rewards in enjoying a simple hike, snowshoeing, watching wildlife, or blazing a new trail; however, safety should always be an important consideration. NEFF owns and manages more than 40,000 acres of woodlands throughout New England. With rare exception, these forests are open and free to the public for you to explore and enjoy. Here are just a few guidelines and tips to keep in mind when to remain safe while pursuing a wide variety of activities in our woodlands.

  • NEFF Forest Guidelines
  • General Safety Tips
  • Tips to Prevent Lyme Disease

There are a few practical considerations and rules to keep in mind when preparing for your visit to a NEFF Community Forest.

Time Your Visit

Our forests are open from dawn to dusk. If you or your group would like to explore our properties at night, please be sure to contact us for permission.

Leave No Trace

Please help us care for our properties by following Leave No Trace practices. All trash must be carried out and disposed of responsibly.

Access and Parking

Parking availability varies with each forest. During high-traffic times, visits may need to be coordinated to space availability, as parking on public roads is under the jurisdiction of local towns and thus can neither be encouraged nor permitted by NEFF. When gates are present, please do not block access with your vehicle. The majority of our driveways and parking areas are not plowed during winter. As a result, we cannot guarantee access during these months.

Camping and Fires

Camping is not permitted on our properties, with the exception of Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest in Center Harbor, N.H. Reservations are required, and must be made through The Squam Lakes Association by contacting them at 603-978-7386. Fires are prohibited in all NEFF forests.

Motorized Vehicles

Because they may cause extensive damage to the ecological, cultural, and economic value of the forests we are working to conserve, all motorized vehicles are prohibited on our properties. On occasion, formal snowmobile clubs may be granted permission to use trails on our properties, but this permission is at the sole discretion of NEFF. Under no circumstances is individual permission granted.


Alcohol is prohibited at all NEFF forests, without exception.

There are inherent rewards in enjoying a hike, snowshoeing, watching wildlife, or blazing a new trail; however, safety should always be an important consideration. Below are our best tips to remain safe while pursuing a wide variety of activities in our woodlands.

  • When possible, travel with a companion. If you like to explore the forest on your own, let others know where you will be and what time you expect to return.
  • Respect your physical condition. Establish and maintain a comfortable pace for your fitness level.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the season and trail conditions. Be aware of the weather forecast, and always be prepared for changing weather patterns.
  • Check your equipment before you begin your trip. If you are using a GPS unit to help you navigate, always bring extra (charged) batteries, and be sure to bring a compass as a backup.
  • Learn basic repair skills for your bike, snowshoes, skis, or backpacks in case they require mending in the field.
  • Carry a portable first-aid kit with you. You can buy these kits in most grocery and retail stores.
  • Always wear sunscreen, and bring extra if you plan to be outdoors for more than four hours.
  • Drink water before a hike or strenuous activity (trail-building, etc). Bring water along with you to ensure you remain well hydrated. Though water can be heavy to carry, dehydration can happen quickly and create a life-threatening situation.
  • Familiarize yourself with poisonous plants and venomous animals.
  • Unless you are an expert at identifying mushrooms and edible plants in the wild, do not consume unfamiliar fungi or plants.
  • Never feed or approach wild animals, as any species can be dangerous or unpredictable. There is often little need to fear wildlife; however, please respect their wildness.

If you spend time outdoors, ticks are an inevitable menace. These suggestions can minimize your risk of Lyme disease.

  • Wear light-colored clothing so ticks are easier to spot.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks (no one said outdoorsy folks look cool!).
  • Conduct frequent tick checks.
  • Consider a tick repellent.
If you find a tick on your skin:
  • Do not place any substances on or attempt to burn the tick. These methods will be ineffective and may only irritate the tick into depositing more potential pathogens into your skin.
  • Use tweezers to grasp the tick lightly as close to the skin as possible (as closely to the embedded mouthparts as you can). Do not grasp the tick by the body.
  • Avoid squeezing tightly, as this motion can expel a tick’s salivary secretions and gut contents into your skin.
  • Pull the tick with a straight, slow, consistent force.
  • Clean the bite wound with disinfectant or antibiotic ointment.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.