Ossipee Lake Natural Area: Sandy Pond Shore System
Description: The Ossipee Lake Natural Area encompasses a 400-acre area near the mouth of the Pine River on the south shore of Ossipee Lake. The site contains a variety of exemplary natural communities and natural community systems, and also supports several populations of state-rare plant species.
The shoreline portion of the property is a sandy pond shore system, comprised of four rare and imperiled natural communities: water lobelia aquatic sandy pond shore, bulblet umbrella-sedge open sandy pond shore, twig-rush sandy turf pond shore, and hudsonia inland beach strand. The latter two, the twig-rush and hudsonia communities, are also globally rare, and Ossipee Lake is the only location in the state where the hudsonia community is found. The pond shore system formerly supported numerous rare plant populations, but currently only hairy hudsonia (Hudsonia tomentosa) and fine grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana) are present.
Approximately 80 percent of the property is covered by an excellent example of a poor/level fen bog system. This natural community system contains several component natural communities including bog rosemary - sedge fen, highbush blueberry - mountain holly wooded fen, and herbaceous seepage marsh. This system occupies much of the property between Rte. 25 and the pond shore system at the edge of the lake.
Sweet gale - alder shrub thicket is a narrow transitional community occurring between the sandy pond shore system and the poor level fen/bog system. Sometimes this dense shrub thicket community extends right to the edge of the water, essentially separating sandy strips of the pond shore system.
Behind sandy berms on either side of the mouth of the Pine River is an exemplary medium level fen system, dominated by a wire sedge - sweet gale fen peatland community. This fen is dominated by wire sedge (Carex lasiocarpa).
In a few locations, bottle-shaped sedge (Carex utriculata) dominates a small transition zone at the edge of the sandy pond shore system. These sites are influenced both by sandy deltaic deposits from the Pine River and the peatland conditions of the adjacent wire sedge - sweet gale fen community.
Between the boat launch at Rte. 25 and the lake, the Pine River is flanked by a relatively narrow but exemplary temperate minor river floodplain system characterized by red maple floodplain forest and buttonbush shrubland communities.
Directions: This site can only be accessed by boat. A public boat launch on Rte. 25 in Ossipee allows access to the lake via Pine River. Please note that some parts of the Ossipee Lake Natural Area are closed to the public, and can only be viewed from the water. A stretch of sandy beach in the middle of the Natural Area has been designated for public use. IMPORTANT: Please see DRED's brochure highlighting the location of the public use area and the rules that apply to the Natural Area.
Landowner: State of NH – DRED
Site Guide and Map
Bulblet umbrella-sedge (Cyperus dentatus) and other vegetation in a bulblet umbrella sedge open
sandy pond shore natural community at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area (photo by Ben Kimball)
Bottle-shaped sedge dominates a small, sandy transition zone between natural communities on
an inland beach strand at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area (photo by Ben Kimball)
Hudsonia inland beach strand community (foregound) at Ossipee Lake (photo by Ben Kimball)
A Natural Heritage Bureau staff member surveys for fine grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana)
at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area (photo by Ben Kimball)
wire sedge - sweet gale fen community at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area (photo by Ben Kimball)
Sweet gale - alder shrub thicket at Ossipee Lake (photo by Ben Kimball)
Sunset from the public use area at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area (photo by Dan Sperduto)
Fine grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana)
at the Ossipee Lake Natural Area
(photo by Ben Kimball)