Gerard Desrochers Memorial Forest

Generous donation of family land next to South Berwick Town Forest

From the Summer 2013 newsletter:

With soft pine needles under foot and the sound of birds overhead, amble along a woods road to reach the Gerard Desrochers Memorial Forest in South Berwick. Made possible through the generosity of the Gallo family, this 135-acre property is Great Works’ newest conservation parcel.

South Berwick resident Patti Gallo recently donated this large, desirable tract of land to Great Works Regional Land Trust in honor of her father, Gerard Desrochers. “The donated land is named after my father who had great fondness for animals and nature,” said Gallo. “And, my daughter and I have wonderful memories of walking this land with him.”

Located next to the 88-acre South Berwick Town Forest, the parcel features frontage along the Great Works River, a tributary of the Salmon Falls River. Except for several acres of mature pines and hemlock near the river, the property consists predominantly of young, hardwood forest interspersed with wetlands. The property is accessed on the Town Forest Road at Knight’s Pond Road, and begins about 400 feet beyond the Town Forest sign and parking area.

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The Great Works River from the new conservation property.

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Like other Great Works’ donors of land or easements, Gallo understands the value of preserving the natural landscape that she and other community members appreciate. A donation like this not only prevents development on special landscapes, but also protects the water quality that is so necessary to quality of life. “I grew up in South Berwick and I raised our daughter here,” said Gallo. “I am familiar with the diligent efforts of Great Works Regional Land Trust to conserve and protect land, including wetlands and river frontage in this area.”

Pat Robinson, who is a Great Works Board member from South Berwick, worked closely with Gallo and the town on the donation. “It never ceases to amaze me how generous people like Patti Gallo come forward to donate land with conservation value, and how municipalities cooperate,” said Robinson. “We hope that when townspeople enjoy the Gerard Desrochers Memorial Forest, they’ll remember it was walked by Gerard, Patti, her husband and her daughter. They will continue to pass along this wonderful legacy.”

Robinson, who donated her time to this project, says that in addition to Patti Gallo’s generosity, local attorneys Bruce Whitney and Emily Mundo who donated their legal expertise. They spent several hours procuring for Great Works an access easement over the Town Forest Road. It allows public parking and vehicular entry by Great Works for periodic management and timber harvesting activity.

Keep posted for details on trails for this lovely setting. The spot is ideal for low-impact recreation, such as walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. As with other Great Works’ lands, the Desrochers preserve will be managed by Darrell DeTour, Stewardship Coordinator for the Land Trust.