Smith-Nawazelski Conservation Area

482 Elm St, Hanson, MA 02341, USA

(781) 294-4119

Owned By: Town of Hanson

Hanson’s largest conservation property. More than 2 miles of trails through 101 acres of woods and wetlands, including a section of the Bay Circuit Trail. Rustic boardwalk over Poor Meadow Brook at the rear of the property. Popular with horseback riders. Part of the Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area.


The Town of Hanson acquired this property in 1989 for conservation and water supply protection purposes. Within you will see occasional old stone walls, and also a very large pile of stones, probably the result of the hard work of clearing agricultural fields! Portions of the property were once known as Stillman Farm. Probably the most intriguing feature is the boardwalk over Poor Meadow Brook, at the rear of the property.

According to the Hanson Historical Society, somewhere in the woods, on the side of the property that lies to the north of the power lines (to the right as you walk in from the parking area), or possibly on the grounds of the adjacent Hanson Rod & Gun Club, there is a large boulder that is hollowed out at the top. This was used by Native Americans as both a gathering spot, but more specifically as a grindstone for things like corn. If you can find the boulder, you can climb up on top of it and see where the corn was ground.

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. 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 (Main Street, Hanson) 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 to East Bridgewater and the Taunton River watershed.

To learn more about our local tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett, and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag, both share information on their websites. 

Trail Description

There are at least 2 miles of trails here — mostly wide cart paths but also sometimes narrow footpaths. Follow the main trail from the parking area, away from the road. It extends past some farm fields and a power easement. At least two side trails head off to the right, leading off the property toward the Rod & Gun Club.

There is more to see if you continue on the main trail and then turn left into the woods at about 0.21 miles, where there is an unmarked trail network that forms a rough triangle with a few short spurs. A portion of the Bay Circuit Trail runs through the property as well. It is marked with white blazes.

However if you continue along the power easement downhill, and all the way to the rear of the property, there will be another opportunity to turn left into the woods at about 0.46 miles. Look for a spur from this trail off to the right. This leads onto a boardwalk that crosses Poor Meadow Brook, to East Bridgewater. You can continue along the power easement to the left, through the meadows, and eventually back into the woods, where the trail returns to the boardwalk spur, but there are occasional washouts and wet sections that may be difficult to traverse.

Habitats and Wildlife

The forest here is primarily pine and oak, with maple, cedar, beech, and also a stunning grove of holly. There is a fair amount of red maple swamp on the property as well, plus lots of blueberry. Look for the occasional glacial erratic boulder. Deep within the property there is at least one vernal pool.

Poor Meadow Brook runs through the rear portion of the property. It rises from wetlands in North Hanson and joins with the Shumatuscacant River within Hanson’s Poor Meadow Brook Conservation Area. The stream continues to Robbins Pond in East Bridgewater, where it empties into the Satucket River, part of the Taunton River watershed.

Some of the animal species commonly observed here include white-tail deer, wild turkey, grouse, otter, mink, plus a variety of songbirds.

482 Elm St, Hanson, MA 02341, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 101 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking on Elm Street. Look for the property sign, across from the Elm Street entrance to Burrage Pond.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium


Informational kiosk. Boardwalk over Poor Meadow Brook. Geocache location.

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Poor Meadow Brook (Taunton River watershed)