JJ Shephard Memorial Forest, 451-483 Mattakeesett St, Pembroke, MA 02359, USA
Owned By: Town of Pembroke
Arriving at this property you will only see athletic fields. Continue toward the woods past the fields to find the woodland trails of the J. J. Shepherd Memorial Forest, which was originally established in 1924. Several miles of trails lead through the forest and around wetlands. Additional trails extend around the Andruk cranberry bogs.
Hunting and firearms are prohibited.
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 (just around the corner from the JJ Shepherd Forest) 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.
Primary trail access is from the large on-site parking area. Additional access from an unpaved pull-off between Great Sandy Bottom Pond (across the street from the trailhead) and #365 Mattakeesett Street, or from a small parking area on Maquan Street.
This property features numerous intersecting trails through woods and wetlands, and around a retired cranberry bog. Many of the trails wide and flat, but some are narrower and more difficult. One trail offers pedestrian access to Indian Head Pond. Another trail, marked with white blazes, is part of the Bay Circuit Trail. It connects to the Alton J. Smith Reserve in Pembroke. 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.
Habitats and Wildlife
The woods at this property are mostly pine, with some oak, birch, maple, beech, sumac, and sassafras, plus ferns, greenbrier, and sweet pepper bush.
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.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 139 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Ample on-site parking.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Porta-potties adjacent to the athletic fields.
Dogs: Dogs are permitted on the trails, but not on the athletic fields.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Indian Head Pond (North River watershed)