We are fortunate to have so many different conservation areas here on the South Shore. Thanks to the good work of the Trustees of Reservations and the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts, the amount of open space in our region that is accessible to the public continues to grow.
All fall approaches and the weather becomes cooler, I find myself drawn to taking walks in the late afternoon. Judging from the “crowds” (if you can call them that) I encounter at Marshfield’s Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Kingston/Duxbury’s Bay Farm, and Norwell’s Norris Reservation, I am not alone.
But this season, rather than visit my old favorites (as much as I love them), I’d like to try some new walks. Recently I consulted Jessica Schultz, the Director of Stewardship at the Wildlands Trust, for recommendations on some new places to visit. Maybe I’ll see you there this fall!
Tucker Preserve, Pembroke: Sidney and Harold Tucker donated this 78.6-acre property to the Wildlands Trust in 1993. You can access it via the Indian Head River Conservation Area, at the fish ladder in Pembroke. From West Elm Street, walk from the parking area along the south side of the river and into the woods. Once you reach the footbridge that crosses over a stream, you have entered the Tucker Preserve. The property extends from there along the river, as far as the island. There is a loop trail with a couple of spur routes. Beyond that is private property, so mind the No Trespassing signs. (1 hour)
Striar Conservancy, Halifax: This 164-acre preserve along the Winnetuxet
River was donated to the Wildlands Trust in 1999 and 2000 by Steven and Brian Striar and Soozen Tribuna, and purchased in 2001 with help from L. Knife and Son, Inc. and the Sheehan Family Foundation. Access is off of Route 105, also known as Thompson Street, about 2 miles south of Route 106. There is a parking area at the trailhead. The trail meanders along the river corridor to a former millpond and a field beyond. Trail maps are available on site. (1 hour)
|At the Striar Conservancy in Halifax.
Halfway Pond Conservation Area, Plymouth: This 409.6 acre area is comprised of numerous smaller land donations and purchases over the last 20+ years. Access is available at several locations, but the primary trailhead parking area is on Mast Road, about 2 miles south of Long Pond Road. Trail maps are available on site. There are many trails throughout the property, and visitors can also paddle kayaks or canoes on the pond, or simply walk the road along the shore. Unlike many ponds in the Plymouth area, Halfway only has a handful of homes on its shoreline, so it feels wild and remote. This area abuts Myles Standish State Forest, with additional hiking opportunities. (2 hours)
Phillips Farm Preserve, Marshfield: This 40-acre property was purchased through the generosity of multiple donors in 1999. Together with the Town of Marshfield’s Union Street Woodland and Corn Hill Woodland, and the New England Forestry Foundation’s Nelson Memorial Forest, all adjacent or within walking distance, it forms a giant open space parcel that could keep you occupied all day. The network of trails that links the separate properties leads you to numerous views of salt marshes and the North River, through hemlock, beech and pine groves, and so much more. The Phillips Farm preserve is accessible from Highland Street, or you can park in any of the adjacent properties’ parking areas – two on Union Street, and one more on Highland.
A terrific resource for more information on walking places and other open space areas on the South Shore is the Wildlands Trust’s publication “Lands in Trust.” You can contact the Wildlands Trust at 781-934-9018 or visit www.wildlandstrust.org
By Kezia Bacon-Bernstein, Correspondent
Kezia Bacon-Bernstein’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation of the North and South Rivers and their watershed. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168.