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  • Correspondent photo by June Lemen

    Navaho Park is a big park, practically next door to Lincoln. It’s not a manicured space. Navaho Park is used as a practice field for the Nashua Northwest Rookie League A and AA teams. Navaho Park actually fronts on Broad Street, across from the power station, but the access to the park is by means of a dirt path off Beaver Street – between numbers 17 and 19.
  • Correspondent photo by June Lemen

    Howe’s Wildlife Sanctuary is located on Broad Street, at 409, between numbers 407 and 411. However, no access to the sanctuary could be found.
  • Correspondent photo by June Lemen

    Lincoln Park is a fine, big park, with four entrances; the first on Coliseum Avenue; a second at the intersection of Marie Avenue and Greenlay Street; another entrance on Marie Avenue; and a fourth at the end of Seminole Drive and Cheyenne Drive.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ward 1 offers 2 parks and a tough-to-find sanctuary

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a summer series by June Lemen. In this series, she will explore the green spaces and parks of Nashua by ward.

I am approaching this series as if I were new to Nashua. So, assuming that I just moved to the city and lived in Ward 1, it’s safe to say that the first parks and green spaces I would want to check out and become familiar with are those of Ward 1.

There are two parks in Ward 1: Lincoln Park and Navaho Park.

I started with Lincoln Park, as it was the easiest to find. Drive to the end of Coliseum Avenue and the footbridge into Mine Falls Park is on your left. Lincoln Park is on your right.

Lincoln Park is a fine, big park, with four entrances that I could easily find. The first is on Coliseum Avenue; a second at the intersection of Marie Avenue and Greenlay Street; another entrance on Marie Avenue; and a fourth at the end of Seminole and Cheyenne drives. I went in at each entrance.

Jackson Field is the big, lighted baseball park that can be seen from the Coliseum Avenue entrance to Lincoln Park. At the Greenlay Street entrance, there is a play area with a climbing structure for young kids and two baseball fields: Dominico Field, named in remembrance of Jeanne Dominico, tragically murdered in 2005, and Zapenas Field, named in honor of Michael Zapenas, longtime president of Nashua Northwest Baseball.

The entrance at Marie Street has a small parking area and a path down to the fields, which had soccer goals set up on the day that I visited, along with a couple enjoying the day and each other while lying on a blanket in the sun. They told me that they had just discovered Lincoln Park.

I hadn’t.

I’d been there on a walk before with my friend Alison, who lives in the neighborhood, and we went in at the entrance on Seminole. I love that because there’s a little opening in a chain link fence and it looks as if you are going into a never-ending green space. This time, when I visited, there was no snow. Just dragonflies.

Navaho Park is a big park, practically next door to Lincoln. It’s not a manicured space. Navaho Park is used as a practice field for the Nashua Northwest Rookie League A and AA teams. Navaho Park actually fronts on Broad Street, across from the power station, but the access to the park is by means of a dirt path off Beaver Street – between Nos. 17 and 19.

It can also be reached by a path from Denise Street. If you try to get to it from Navaho Street, as I did, you will end up covered in poison ivy and brushing off ticks. Which happened to me.

But there were three green spaces on my Nashua Street map of Ward 1: the two parks I mentioned, and found, and then another place called “Howe’s Wildlife Sanctuary.”

I went in search of Howe’s Wildlife Sanctuary. I found it listed on Google Maps, printed out directions, and drove to where it was supposed to be.

After circling the block so many times that a dog walker became visibly nervous and started patting her pockets in search of her cell phone, I still could not find anything resembling a wildlife reservation. I put a call out to my Facebook friends, describing where the reservation was supposed to be in relation to city maps, and got back one message, saying that she lived in the area and had never heard of a wildlife reservation, just a frog pond. I called Parks and Recreation, and they knew where it was, but it was not one of the places they maintain. I still wanted to find it.

So, I sucked it up and went on the Nashua Geographic Information System and located it by parcel.

Howe’s Wildlife Sanctuary is on Broad Street, at 409, between numbers 407 and 411. I took my life in my hands, parked my car on the shoulder, and dashed across Broad Street to take a picture of this space. It may indeed be a wildlife preserve.

However, I could find no access to it other than by clambering over the guardrail and bushwhacking through the undergrowth. My friend Erika saw my car pulled over and stopped to see if I needed help. I did, but only in determining why this parcel was listed as a city green space. How can it be a green space, if there’s no real way to access it?

After touring the two parks and attempting to enter the wildlife sanctuary, I was surprised. I honestly thought Ward 1 had more parks, because I think of Ward 1 as green. Even though Ward 1 includes the Nashua Mall and quite a lot of Broad Street, it still has quite a lot of open and lovely land.

One of my favorite drives in Nashua is to go out Pine Hill Road toward Hollis and then wander off Coburn Avenue. In the fall I sometimes take Lucy to Sullivan Farm to get a fresh apple that comes off a tree in Nashua. Sullivan Farm is also in Ward 1. A working farm and a mall in the same ward. Only in Nashua.