Ruth Stimson        
Salt Marshes, #1        
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Saving the Salt Marshes, Part 1

picture Salt marsh artwork by Ruth
As a historian, Ruth appreciated how valuable Hampton's salt marshes were to the early settlers. In fact, without the salt marshes, they might not have settled here in 1638.

The first settlers were farmers. They had cows, oxen and horses to feed. Salt hay from the marshes was abundant, and nutritious. As they built their houses, salt hay proved a good form of insulation. In their barns, it made nice bedding for their animals.

As a conservationist, Ruth had a deep sense of the importance the salt marshes had in sustaining Hampton's future. She conveyed this in a 1962 article in Forest Notes, NH's conservation magazine.

"Among New Hampshire's people today there are some who ask what good are these marshes. They would like to dredge and fill them, to create house lots to attract more people to New Hampshire's coastline. With more new land and residences, they hope to alleviate the tax burden. This line of reasoning regards the Hampton marshes as wasteland. Marshes are wetlands, not wastelands."

picture Salt marsh artwork by Ruth
Ruth then identified the value salt marshes provide:

She continued, "Salt marshes are unrivaled in their natural state for seacoast protection, as the vegetation is resilient and emerges undamaged from storms that will sweep away houses and stones in breakwaters. For these reasons, recreational, scientific, and economic conservation-minded citizens and organizations are concerned and hope to take measures to preserve the Hampton marshes."

And this is exactly what Ruth did. Learn how in Part 2.