Camp Kiwanee Rd, Hanson, MA 02341, USA
Owned By: Town of Hanson
A retired cranberry bog surrounded by walking trails and wetlands. Formerly known as Smitty’s Bog. Car-top boat access to Indian Head Pond. Contiguous with the J. J. Shepherd Memorial Forest in Pembroke. Stroller-friendly.
This retired cranberry bog sits between Maquan Pond and Indian Head Pond. Just up the road is Camp Kiwanee, a former scout camp now owned by the Town of Hanson.
Through its Wetlands Reserve Program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service provided funding for a 5-year restoration program, to convert the streams and bog back to their natural state, a forested wetland environment.
Prior to European contact, the Mattakeeset band of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe lived for thousands of years in the North River watershed. Their village included most of today’s Pembroke and Hanson as well as parts of Duxbury. The word “Mattakeeset” means “place of many fish.”
To travel between the North River watershed and the Taunton River watershed, the Mattakeeset followed a trail that extended from today’s Indian Head Pond (adjacent to this property) to Crooker Place and today’s Indian Crossway Conservation Area, through the great Cedar Swamp (today’s Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area), through today’s Smith-Nawazelski Conservation Area (Elm Street, Hanson) to East Bridgewater and the Taunton River watershed.
A network of wide, flat dirt roads surrounds this former cranberry bog. For easy access, look for the stone gatehouse on Camp Kiwanee Road, which marks one major trailhead. There are also some spur trails into the woods that connect to Camp Kiwanee and the J. J. Shepherd Town Forest/Pembroke Town Forest. Some trails here are part of the larger Bay Circuit Trail, and are marked. The Bay Circuit Trail is 200 miles of linked green space from Plum Island in Newburyport to Bay Farm in Duxbury. This particular section is known as the Mattakeeseett Path.
Additional access from Indian Head Pond, at the Marcus L. Urann Fisherman’s Landing, off Route 58 (Indian Head Street). Use this entrance for car-top boat access to Indian Head Pond.
Habitats and Wildlife
The headwaters of Indian Head Brook are located on this property. Indian Head Brook flows north from Indian Head Pond, through Wampatuck Pond and Little Cedar Swamp, into the Indian Head/Drinkwater River, which then flows into the North River and out to sea.
The woods surrounding the cranberry bog are primarily pine, with some birch and oak. Maple trees have begun to take over some of the bog areas.
This is an excellent spot for birding. Watch for Great Blue Heron in the wetlands.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: Yes
Size: 103 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking at Cranberry Cove on Camp Kiwanee Road. Additional parking at Indian Head Pond (unmarked).
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Informational kiosk at Indian Head Pond.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Indian Head Pond (North River watershed)