The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve was designated in 1989 and is part of a network of 28 Reserves across the nation. The Great Bay Reserve is managed by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program sets aside important estuarine areas for long-term research, education and stewardship.
The Great Bay Reserve includes all of Great Bay, Little Bay and the tidal portions of the Bellamy, Oyster, Lamprey, Squamscott and Winnicut rivers. In addition, there are 2,935 acres of upland that comprise the boundary of the Reserve. The Reserve is a member of the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership and has identified over 20,000 acres for future acquisition. All Reserve lands are open to the public for hunting and fishing. Go to greatbaypartnership.org to view maps highlighting all conservation lands in the Great Bay area.
Educational efforts of the Reserve are focused at the Great Bay Discovery Center and the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center in Greenland off Route 33. The 50-acre site includes a 1,700-foot boardwalk, a high-tide-only boat access, and indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring the cultural and natural history of the Great Bay Estuary. A new exhibit on coastal antique hunting and fishing artifacts was opened in 2010. The interpretive centers are open May to October and are free of charge.
During the summer months, the Reserve holds a number of special programs including interpretive kayak tours, programs for children, and an evening lecture series. The Reserve also provides technical training for Coastal Decision Makers through its Coastal Training Program. The facilities feature a number of innovative technologies for managing stormwater and reducing energy consumption, including a porous pavement parking lot, composting toilets, solar roof and a geothermal heating and cooling system.
For additional information about the Reserve and its programs, visit the Reserve’s website, greatbay.org. The Reserve is also supported by a local friends group, the Great Bay Stewards (greatbaystewards.org).
Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
N.H. Fish and Game Department
225 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824
Great Bay Discovery Center/
Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center
89 Depot Road, Greenland, NH 03885
Volunteer for Great Bay!
Share your passion for the Great Bay and join the volunteer family at the Great Bay Discovery Center. Education volunteers are needed to help implement the school and summer programs, staff the exhibit rooms, work on special events, and keep the grounds and gardens looking great.
Are you the biologist type? Then why not become a Community Land Steward with Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Stewards volunteer to become the eyes and ears of a property within the Reserve boundary—monitoring invasive species, walking property lines, recording wildlife observations and general stewardship activities.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.