Second College Grant

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The Second College Grant is a large tract of land owned by Dartmouth College in northern New Hampshire. In 1789, to encourage the the college’s development, the State of New Hampshire gave to Dartmouth College a grant of land in Clarksville, New Hampshire. Most of the land of this First College Grant was sold quickly to raise funds to keep the young college in operation. In the following years, the trustees of Dartmouth periodically petitioned for an additional grant of north country land.

By act of the New Hampshire legislature in 1807, Dartmouth acquired the Second College Grant, a township of nearly 27,000 acres. For generations now, Grant-lovers have been grateful that Dartmouth has managed to hold onto this wild, rugged piece of the New Hampshire north country. The Dead Diamond River enters the Grant from the north and twists down perhaps ten miles to join the Swift Diamond coming in from the west. Below the junction of the two rivers near the Diamond Peaks, the Diamond River plunges down through a deep gorge and then flows into the Magalloway River at the southeast corner of the township, next to the Maine border.


Dartmouth uses the Grant for timber production and recreational purposes. Visitors should take note of the superb management practices of the Grant forester: marking individual trees for cutting, leaving behind tall and healthy young trees in the logged-over areas, and working in cooperation with New Hampshire Fish and Game to upgrade wildlife habitat. Locked gates control vehicle entries into the Grant, though foot travelers are welcome at any time. Arrangements for vehicle access, which is restricted to Dartmouth-affiliated visitors and their guests, must be made in Hanover. Overnight camping and open fires are prohibited.


For the use of its members, the Dartmouth Outing Club maintains three rental cabins in the Grant: Peaks, Alder Brook, and Stoddard. The Office of Outdoor Programs maintains seven more for the use of Dartmouth-affiliated individuals and their guests: the Management Center, Sam’s, Johnson Brook, Merrill Brook, Hellgate Hilton, Pete Blodgett Cabin, and Hellgate Gorge. In addition, the Gate Camp is used for housing work crews and for off-season rental. To learn current rental policies and to make reservations for the cabins in the Grant contact the Outdoor Programs Office at Dartmouth in 19 Robinson Hall, or call (603) 646-2834.

Winter Grant Weekend

A magical way to spend your weekend, away from the bustle of campus in the remote North Woods! You can participate in your choice of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, learning survival skills, dog sledding, relaxing in the cabin, eating yummy food, and listening to folk tales and poetry of old and Grant history, all in the company of the fabulous OPO staff and friends from all walks of campus!

Trip Report:


Leader: Maddie Lesser

Co-Leaders: Molly McBride and Zach Martinez

Trippees: Katie Jacobs, Rphan Chaudhary, Kira Adams, Alyssa Eisenberg, Becca Novello, James Kennedy, Alison Helzer, Patton Lowenstein, Tommy Gordon, Graham Findlay, David Clemens-Sewall, Chris Rhoades, Will Bishop, Billy Zou, Adam Schneider, Ruotian Wang, Tara Kedia, Athena Aicher (not exactly a trippee)

Group Size: 21 (+ Athena!)

Weather: LOTS OF FLUFFY NEW POWDER!!!!!! Kind of cloudy. No wind, not that cold.

Gear: hiking/snow boots, layers, mittens (overmitts!), hats, daypacks!, gaiters, x-c skis/boots/poles, snowshoes, warm winter jackets, wool socks, water jugs, water bottles, sleeping bags/pads


We had the group split in two, one earlier vehicle, one later. The first group met at Robo at 3 and packed the sprinter van with personal gear and some of the food. Went to DOR to pick up special gear there and load it into the van.

NOTE: Fill up your water jugs at DOR. Contrary to popular belief, i.e. we were just dumb and forgot about the whole winter thing, THERE IS NO RUNNING WATER IN THE GRANT IN WINTER. We were able to melt snow pretty readily, and the 2nd vehicle came with their full water jugs, so it turned out to be not a huge deal, but could have had much worse repercussions had we not been so lucky.

The sprinter van left campus at 3:50pm on Friday (2/24) and the micro-bus left probably around 5 pm. The micro-bus stopped on the way up to get some snacks. Arrived at the Grant at about 7:30 or so. Had some difficulty with the sprinter van (almost got it stuck).

NOTE: in winter there are TWO gates to the Grant. Do not be alarmed that you are going the wrong way just because there is a second gate (which is the reason we backed out, as it was too narrow to turn around with lumber, and when we finally reached part where we could turn around, almost got stuck, when in the end we never needed to turn around at all!).

Arrived at Sam's Cabin to be greeted by Brian Kunz and Dan Nelson, who so thoughtfully had already started a fire going in the wood-stove. While cooking dinner, some trippees went on a walk, and then the micro-bus arrived. Everyone ate, settled in, and met each other. Some more people went out on night walks. Friday morning, after breakfast, we went to the Management Center to meet OPO staff and the men from the dog-sled company and the other guests at the Grant, and to hear about the options for the day's activities.

NOTE: MAKE SURE to include small daypacks in the gear list. Would have been really useful to carry water/snacks for the outings and most importantly to regulate temperature by allowing people to be dressed more appropriately (enables them to take off/put on layers accordingly (whether they are stationary or active).

People spent their mornings doing one of four activities: dog-sledding, cross-country skiing with Dan Nelson, snowshoeing with Brian Kunz, or snowshoeing and learning survival skills with Mark (last name?). Groups met up in the cabin for lunch, and then people split into a groups to do a different activity of their choice in the afternoon. Athena brought her BB gun, and we had the first annual Winter Grant Biathlon at Merrill Brook Cabin!!! It was quite the competition! Following dinner, we returned to the Management Center for desserts and a delightful story-time thanks to OPO! Jack Noon told us history of the Grant, Dan Nelson read us poetry, Brian Kunz shared the story of the plane crash after which the Grant's Airstrip was created, and Mark had amazing folk tales from all over the world. Additionally, sassy 10 year old girl interjected frequently, trying to impress Athena. Athena and Chroades then led a memorable musical performance involving various kitchen utensils, a bowl with some water in it, random pieces of wood, our water jugs, and a pot of cheese, played by Zach. Sleepy and oh-so-happy, everyone went back to Sam's and got themselves ready for the lotion party. People expressed that they wanted to return to campus earlier rather than later (although we were all really praying we'd be snowed in and stuck in the Grant FORVER!!!), so we woke up at about 7 am the next morning for breakfast (potatoes from the OPO fairies!) and to pack up. Dan and Brian helped us get the vehicles out through the deep powder. Some people even got in a dog-sled run on the way out! We left the Grant at about 10 am, did a quick tour of L.L. Cote (only the world's coolest store), and made it back to campus around 1:30.

Didymo Prevention

Let’s try to keep the invasive “Didymo” (“Rock Snot”) from entering the Grant waters.

Please do not use felt soled wading gear in the waters of the Grant. If you must use felt, please use approved methods to prevent felt soles from bringing invasive species into the Grant watershed.

Cabin Users:

If you use studded soled footgear please do not wear them into cabins. For more information check this:

[Protect Your Waters]