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New maps throw light on town

WILTON – To understand the significance of the town’s land and its resources, the municipal authorities of Wilton plotted various categories of natural resources pertaining to the town into a series of maps. Those maps have then been combined in various ways into three “analysis maps,” containing several layers of information.

David McGraw, of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, has compiled the information and detailed the work for the Conservation Commission, which had authorised the study. The maps will be available to all town agencies, particularly the Planning Board.

The five individual maps are:

• A map compiled from aerial photography made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this year. McGraw said similar maps from 1998 and 2003 are available for comparison.
• A map of historic and cultural resources compiled from various town sources.
• A farm and forest map highlighting good soils and open lands. Agricultural lands also include “scenic viewsheds.”
• A map of wildlife habitats showing “unfragmented lands” – those areas that are not crossed by roads or other man-made features, which are critical for wildlife corridors. McGraw used the resources of the state Fish and Game Department, including their new Wildlife Action Plan, to create this map.
• A water resources map that includes setbacks and buffers, wellhead protection areas and potentially contaminated areas. Information for this map was provided in part by the Department of Environmental Services.

The analysis maps – combinations of the other maps – showed where more than one resource is located in the same place, giving the land a higher importance. One of the analysis maps shows the separate parcels with map and lot numbers, and how the other maps overlay them.