This week, land preservation took a major rabbit’s leap forward. The Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge was established through its very first land acquisition, Dover’s Nellie Hill Preserve. It’s a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service effort, intended to protect habitats for cottontails and other shrubland animals that are increasingly disappearing due to human development and natural transitions into mature forests.
The Nature Conservancy, which has managed Nellie Hill for 25 years, donated the preserve’s 144 acres of vast grasslands, oak forests, limestone woodlands, flowing springs, and ponds.
“Dover is very involved with ecotourism, so the lands that are protected will remain so for all generations,” said Town of Dover Supervisor Linda French in a released statement. “I know as we all go forward as a team we will always do the right thing especially for the Town of Dover.”
With the Great Thicket now formally established, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work to continue its growth. The process may take decades, though when complete, it’s expected to span up to 15,000 acres and encompass parts of six Northeastern states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.
To learn more about Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, click here.