We've just launched a new website—please explore!
The forest is located on N’dakinna, the homelands of the Abenaki, Penacook, and other Wabanaki peoples
Located on the shores of the Squam Lake, Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest is one of NEFF’s most beautiful forests and not to be missed. NEFF considers this ecologically important forestland—whose nearly mile-long shoreline is a critical nesting area for loons—the crown jewel among 10 also-remarkable Community Forests in the area.
Chamberlain Reynolds’ has well-maintained trails that wind through woodlands, along sandy shorelines, and past dramatic views of the lake and mountains. The property includes five waterfront tent sites as the only place across NEFF’s more than 150 properties where camping is allowed. Find out how to make a reservation for one the designated sites further down the page.
Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest was donated to NEFF by John Wister and named for his two friends, Allen Chamberlain and Harris Reynolds. Harris Reynolds founded NEFF in 1944; Chamberlain was a founder of the Massachusetts Forest and Parks Association, and preceded Harris Reynolds as the organization’s Executive Secretary.
NEFF conserves its Community Forests through ownership, and they are open daily, free to visit, and offer outdoor recreation opportunities. Unlike NEFF’s Community Forests, land protected by NEFF conservation easements—a legal tool—aren’t open to visitors unless their owners explicitly state so, because many belong to private individuals.
NEFF uses easements to conserve land owned by others. When a landowner grants NEFF an easement, it means they have permanently donated or sold to NEFF the landowner’s right to develop their own property, while the landowner otherwise retains ownership of their land; NEFF ensures the easements’ terms are met and enforced.
Camping is not permitted on our properties, with the exception of Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Reservations are required, and must be made through The Squam Lakes Association by contacting them at 603-978-7386 or visiting their website at squamlakes.org/camp. Fires are prohibited in all NEFF forests.
Squam Lake sits just south of the rugged southern ramparts of the White Mountain National Forest. Reflections of the forested slopes of Mounts Whiteface, Osceola, and Passaconaway shimmer off the lake’s waters, which draw visitors from around the world. New England Forestry Foundation has had a role in conservation of the lake and its watershed since 1953, when John Wister donated the Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest to NEFF—the first conservation land along the lake and indeed in the entire watershed.
The property encompasses a peninsula that reaches out into the lake, giving it nearly a mile of shoreline. Coves along its shore give a feeling of seclusion, and the forest tends to tall pines, oaks and hemlocks that provide a shady and peaceful context. All summer long, campers occupy tent sites managed by Squam Lakes Association (SLA), part of a decades-long partnership with NEFF. Swimmers and boaters flock to the publicly accessible beaches on the lake along the property’s southwest edge. Many forms of wildlife make their homes there, including loons that regularly nest in Heron Cove.
Today, thanks to private conservation efforts led by groups such as Squam Lakes Conservation Society (SLCS), land conservation in the watershed has blossomed. Fully 30 percent of Squam’s land is now permanently conserved. Many of those conserved lands offer breathtaking views of the lake and its mountainous backdrop. West Rattlesnake Mountain, for example, provides a near view of the lake from ledges a few hundred feet above the water—attracting hikers and photographers year-round. NEFF’s lands in the watershed are also heavily visited. These three NEFF forests and their vistas are well worth exploring: Whitten Woods Community Forest high on the watershed’s western edge, the Newsom and Stevens Memorial Forests that front on Little Squam Lake, and Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest—considered by many to be the crown jewel of the watershed’s conservation lands.
In the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, where Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee are merely the largest among many, NEFF protects 10 Community Forests totaling 5,045 acres, and another 1,989 acres of conservation easements, a great example of the success of private conservation. Although the White Mountain National Forest to the north was protected through public action, nearly all the protection in the Squam watershed was accomplished by private nonprofit organizations like NEFF that depend on donor generosity for their success. SLCS, SLA, NEFF, New Hampshire Audubon Society, the Forest Society and other groups have created a conservation mosaic that protects the lake and its watershed, preserving water quality and providing access to some of the most breathtaking views in New England. NEFF is proud to be a partner in this effort.
On October 20, 2018, the Squam Lakes community joined NEFF staff and Board of Directors members to celebrate the Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest as another step was taken to safeguard the land. John Wister’s 1953 deed to NEFF was vague and at times contradictory as to his intent. In September 2018, NEFF voluntarily registered a Declaration of Trust with the State of New Hampshire, committing NEFF to never develop the property and pledging to keep the property in its natural state, just as the organization has done for its first 65 years of ownership.
This celebratory date also makes for a good forestry benchmark.
Between 1953 and 2018, NEFF conducted 10 harvests at Chamberlain Reynolds and extracted 1.1 million board feet of lumber, an amount that could build 22 single-family homes. Yet the property also had a third more standing timber on it as of 2018 then when it was donated, and looks nearly undisturbed. This is a living testament to the benefits of both NEFF’s Exemplary Forestry approach and to working with professional foresters. NEFF currently works with Peter Farrell of the New England Forestry Consultants. Peter has managed Chamberlain Reynolds since 1994 when he took over after the unexpected passing of his colleague, Mike Burke.
When one walks the property, magnificent pines and oaks shadow the trails leading to the beaches. Hemlocks that germinated before the American Revolution cling to boulders and wait their own turns in the canopy. Pines that reached the end of their natural life span and died in place now provide homes for woodpeckers, owls and other birds that nest in cavities. Here and there, interpretive signs identify the sites of previous harvests where the growth of the next generation of trees is already underway. A boardwalk crosses a pristine and rare shrub swamp, full of plants that one doesn’t find in most nurseries, such as leatherleaf and maleberry. And along the property’s beaches in fall, one can read the history of the wind and the trees, as leaves of different species wash up in distinct bands, reflecting different winds and waves when each species’ leaves fell into the water.
Want to head out and explore? Our interactive map of all NEFF Community Forests will help you get on your way. It provides property-specific trail maps you can download, as well information about each forest’s history, recreational opportunities, natural features, and more.