Conservation and Recreation areas
Great Brook Farm State Park
About 25% of Carlisle is protected conservation land, which
makes for excellent recreational opportunities. The following is a
list of conservation and recreational lands in Carlisle. Complete
trail maps are available in the 'Trails in Carlisle' Booklet,
compiled by the Carlisle Trails Committee. The booklet is
available for purchase at the Town Hall. Check other regional town
halls for published maps of their towns. Noteworthy, are those in
Lincoln, Harvard and Wayland. The National Park in Concord offers
a walkway from Lincoln to Concord and the Old North Bridge to
commemorate Battles of the revolution and the role of Concord area
What's New -->
Approximately 40 acres; Cross country skiing, hiking,
soccer/baseball/softball. Trails on the Banta-Davis Land link
Spaulding Field and the town center with Rodgers Road. One can
continue down Rodgers Road to Stearns Street and then pick up the
Two Rod Road trail that leads to Concord. Please view the Happy Trails article on page 10
in the 11 Nov 2011 issue of the Carlisle Mosquito.
71 acres of undeveloped woodland, bounded by Pope Road and West
Street, donated to the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) in
2001 to be devoted to "conservation purposes." Those purposes "may
include hiking and other passive recreation," but only after
expiration of the "life estate" which he reserved on the property
during his lifetime.
Benfield grants another seventy-one acres for conservation
Open letter of appreciation
Please view the Happy Trails
article on page 10 in the 21 Oct 2011 issue of the Carlisle
Mosquito for information about the new wildlife viewing platform.
See also pictures and a trail map at : http://ccf-web.org/ccf_platform_progress_0211.html,
Bisbee-Land (35 acres) and Spencer Brook Reservation (31.5
Open fields along Concord Street that slope into the woods and
wetland mark the approach to Carlisle from Concord. The lowland
portion lies in the Spencer Brook valley, an important Carlisle
water source. The Spencer Brook Reservation is largely wetlands with
some lovely fields. [satellite
In 1901 a tract of over one hundred virgin white pines was saved
from logging and given to the Appalachian Mountain Club to hold as a
public reservation. According to Sidney A. Bull in his 'History of
the Town of Carlisle Massachusetts 1754 - 1920, many were over 100
feet tall, and may have already been mature trees at the time of the
Revolutionary War. Today only about a half a dozen are still
standing. They remain impressive, and are joined by several ancient
hemlocks. The 22-acre property is now managed by nearby Great Brook
Farm State Park. [satellite
Sixty-four scenic acres of Clark Farm, including the hayfields
visible from Concord and School Streets, were placed under permanent
conservation restriction by the Wilson and Clark families in 2003.
(Photo by Midge Eliassen)
Conant Land: Map
This 57-acre property lies on and behind the Fire Station and the
new Town Hall. The land is mostly wooded, and contains hills and
wetlands, stonewalls, a pond, and a large ledge outcropping called
Castle Rock. The land is frequently visited by Carlisle school
classes studying natural history. Looping trails connect to a
north-south trail, which connects to the Old Morse Road Trail which
in turn eventually reaches Curve Street and the Cranberry bog.
Approximately 57 acres; Cross country skiing, hiking.
Approximately. 310 acres, half in Carlisle (151 acres) and half in
Chelmsford; Carlisle's half includes about 40 acres of actual
cranberry bog. This is the site of the last continuously working
cranberry bog in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The Nickles
brothers of Carlisle began the bog in the late 1800's. Chelmsford
and Carlisle bought the 300+ acre bog and adjoining lands for
almost 2 million dollars to protect it from development in the year
Duffy currently farms the 40 acres of actual cranberry bog for
the Town of Carlisle. Berries
(click for photo) from the bog are on sale at the ice cream
stand at Great Brook Farm State Park. The rest of the land contains
large ponds, wooded uplands and wetlands. The land is rich in
wildlife. Activities include an interpretive trail, cross country
skiing, hiking, horseback riding. Cranberry picking usually begins
around Oct 15th. Three fruits - the Concord
Grape, the blueberry,
and the cranberry can trace their roots to North
Duffy riding a cranberry beater, October 2004 (photo credit
Ellen Huber, Carlisle Mosquito
More information is available in the Carlisle
Mosquito's archives, search on cranberry.
On the web, search on 'The History of the Chelmsford
Carlisle Cranberry Bog' by Susan B. Pickford, Tazewell
Approximately. 112 acres, purchased 1974-79, ties to the Two Rod
Road Trail which goes into Harvard University's Estabrook Woods. Two
Rod Road dates from 1744, and is named for its width - there are two
rods, or 33 feet, between the stone walls that border much of the
trail. Estabrook Woods is a 675-acre forest located partly in
Carlisle and partly in Concord. Two Rod Road leads in about two
miles to the Punkatasset Hill conservation area in Concord. Davis
Corridor and Malcolm Lands can be viewed at the Carlisle
Trails web page and also below at conservation web page for
nearby Concord .
Estabrook Woods is a 675-acre forest located partly in Carlisle and
mostly in Concord. Two Rod Road, accessed from the Stearns Street
bend, leads in about two miles to the Punkatasset Hill conservation
area in Concord.
Approximately 57 acres, purchased in 1971; Borders the Great Meadows
National Wildlife Refuge and the Concord River. The Refuge land is
closed to the public. There are many trails winding through the
property. The land is flat, and the dirt road to the gardens and
some of the other trails are wheelchair accessible. Cross country
skiing, hiking, horseback riding, public gardens.
Approximately 11 acres, purchased 1980; contains a large field
visible from Bedford Road and Stearns Street. Hidden from view is a
second, hilly field. There is also a patch of woods and a small
stream. The fields are mowed by a local farmer. Dog walking and
horseback riding are popular here.
Approximately 934 acres; The >park was created in the 1970's; it
contains great variety of habitats, including fields and forest,
several ponds and Tophet Swamp. Parking lots by the dairy barn on
North Road and by the ski barn on Lowell Street provide access to an
extensive trail system. Non motor boating, cross country skiing,
skating, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, ice cream.
Brook On line trail map
Hint: View using File / Print Preview, increase magnification to
200 for more resolution.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Approximately 242 acres, purchased in 1973. Eight adjoining acres in
Billerica are owned by the private Carlisle Conservation Foundation;
In winter, people cross-country sky along the trails, and the large
pond is popular for ice-skating. Hiking and horseback riding can be
enjoyed on trails near hay fields, the 15 acre Greenough Pond,
wetlands, 1800 feet of frontage on the Concord River, and pine
groves. [satellite view]
Mark and Rachel Page Elliott River Preserve:
Approximately 9 acres; Includes a wooded bluff seen to the south
from bridge over the Concord River on Route 225. Nearly 1000 feet of
frontage on the river, abuts the Great Meadows National Wildlife
Refuge and contains Priority Habitat for a state-listed rare
species. Please view the Elliot
Farm article on page 9 in the 21 Oct 2011 issue of the
Carlisle Mosquito for more information.
River Meadows National Fish & Wildlife:
O'Rourke Land, approximately 129 acres. The site is sandwiched in
between the Greenough Land to the north, and the Great Meadows
National WildLife Refuge to the south. A new 6-mile public
River Trail network including 200 feet of boardwalk is
accessed from trailhead parking lots on the south at the Foss Farm
Conservation Area on Route 225 and the Greenough Land on the north,
near the Billerica line on Maple Street. The entire 620 acre 'river
reservation' along the Concord River also includes a portion of the
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
Spencer Brook Reservation:
31 acres deeded to CCF in 1960 by A. E. "Ben" Benfield.
Photo by Susan Goodall,
Carlisle Mosquito), [satellite
A flock of sheep, one shepherd and three dogs go to work in
Carlisle Comments Spencer Brook Reservation's herding dogs have
Approximately 112 acres, first major piece of conservation land
purchased by town in 1968-80; Cross country skiing, hiking. Contains
a rich variety of terrain. Rolling fields, rocky hills in the
surronding woods, small streams and wetlands. There is also a small
pond near the Westford Street parking area. Once common in North
America, bobolinks still nest in Towle Field, after wintering in
South Ammerica. Towle Field is mowed in the summer to give the
bobolinks time to finish their nesting season. Near the small pond
by the parking lot is a cow tunnel built around 1912 the runs
beneath Westford Street near the speed limit sign.
The Redcoats are coming?
Counting sheep · by the millions
A flock of sheep, one shepherd and three dogs go to work in
Approximately 69 acres; Cross country skiing, hiking. The land
slopes down from the road to a wetland. Behind the wetland, the
central portion of the forest contains a network of looping trails.
The adjoining 8-acre Heidke conservation land is primarily
wetland. [satellite view]
Local Conservation Organizations:
Carlisle Conservation Commission
Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee (CRAC)
CRAC maintains a database of conservation
restrictions (CRs) and monitors them to ensure they are maintained
appropriately. CRAC advises the Conservation Commission on issues
pertaining to CR violations, and other matters regarding
conservation restrictions. CRAC members are appointed by the
CRAC's mission is to raise awareness of CRs so people know
what steps to take when dealing with a CR on their property.
Founded in 1960 the Carlisle Conservation Foundation
(CCF) is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to
receive, acquire and protect open land as well as to promote
conservation in Carlisle. It was founded with the mission of
preserving the natural beauties and the rural character of
Carlisle. A Board of Trustees, all residents of Carlisle, heads
The Carlisle Land Trust was formed and is operated
to benefit and carry out the purposes of Carlisle Conservation
Carlisle Pesticide Awareness Group
Our purpose is to educate residents about the health
hazards of using pesticides and about safer alternatives and
methods of taking care of our land (lawn, garden and fields),
including organic approaches and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The long-term goal of the group is to create a healthier
environment for our residents, animals, and the ecology of our
forests and wetlands, inhabited by a diverse population of
birds, fish, mammals, amphibians, insects, and flora. We would
also try to educate residents about use of other toxic chemicals
in the home, especially those that go down the drain into septic
systems, and eventually into our drinking water system.
Carlisle Trails Committee
See this MapMaster page for detailed PDF maps of
the various conservation land areas in town.
Other Local Massachusetts Town Conservation Web Pages
- Bedford, MA
- Concord, MA Carlisle's Davis Corridor
meets up with Two Rod Road in Carlisle which crosses over into
Concord as shown on the Estabrook Woods / Punkatasset
Conservation Land segment of their townwide map. (See trail on
eastern most border of the Harvard Univeristy land.)
Two Rod Road is one of Carlisle's earlist roads to/from Concord.
It is a leave strewn 33 foot wide path, a delightful hike,
especially during the Fall and Winter seasons. See Davis
Corridor below in the Concord trails section
- Chelmsford, MA
- Sudbury, MA
Additional State and National Conservation Organizations:
Sudbury Valley Trustees is a regional land trust, founded in
1953 by a few foresighted individuals who recognized that change,
planned or unplanned, has a significant impact on the environment,
on the region, and on the quality of everyday life in our
communities. Today, over 3,000 members support SVT’s work in 36
communities around the watershed of the Sudbury, Assabet, and
SVT carries out its mission, to protect wildlife habitat and the
ecological integrity of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers
Valley for the benefit of present and future generations through
land acquisition and stewardship, advocacy and education, in
partnership with towns, watershed associations, and other
environmental organizations within the greater Concord River
Basin, as well as with individuals and businesses. SVT’s efforts
have a direct impact and influence on the quality of life of more
than 650,000 residents in the region.
Of specical interest is the
Ralph Hill conservation area off Treble Cove Road in
Billerica which is just a mile from Carlisle's north eastern
The Middlesex Conservation District helps landowners and
municipalities identify natural resource concerns and plan
solutions. We were founded in 1947 as a not for profit division of
state government dedicated to the conservation of soil and water
in Middlesex County. We are guided by an elected volunteer Board
of Supervisors and work in partnership with federal, state and
local agencies and organizations. The district’s goal is to help
people in the wise management of land and natural resources by
offering technical assistance and information.
Massahussetts Community Preservation Act, by Citizens Housing
and Planning Association
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a new tool to help
communities preserve open space and historic sites and create
affordable housing. This web site has been created to assist
individuals and municipalities in understanding and implementing
Land Trusts Near You, Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition
Purposes of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition
- Increase the effectiveness of land trusts and conservation
organizations in Massachusetts in working with the legislature
and governmental agencies on issues of direct interest to the
- Promote high ethical and professional standards as outlined
in the Land Trust Alliance Statement of Standards and
Practices for Land Trusts. Members agree to support this
Statement as a general guide for their work.
- Assist The Trustees of Reservations in organizing and
presenting the annual Massachusetts Land Trust Conference.
- Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, skills, and
information within the conservation movement.
From the beaches of Cape Cod, the river floodplains of central
Massachusetts, and the clear mountain streams of the Berkshires,
our natural resources belong to all residents of the Commonwealth.
MassWildlife, your state fish and wildlife agency, works to
conserve and manage our wildlife heritage by offering expertise
and assistance, addressing issues involving wildlife and habitat,
and making sure people understand and comply with laws designed to
protect our populations of wild plants and animals. We balance the
needs of people and wildlife today so that wildlife will be
available for our enjoyment tomorrow and always.
The Walden Woods Project aims to protect the landscapes of
Walden Woods and Thoreau Country in recognition of their worldwide
literary, historical, and environmental significance, and their
capacity to motivate others to identify, study, and protect the
Waldens that exist in their community. Since its founding, the
organization has protected six properties in Walden Woods from
inappropriate development. Totaling 140 acres, all are located in
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites you to visit Parker
River National Wildlife Refuge, near Newburyport, Massachusetts.
The refuge occupies in part, the southern three-fourths of Plum
Island, an 8 mile (12.9 kilometer) barrier island, and offers
excellent wildlife-oriented recreational and educational
opportunities with visitor facilities and programs provided to
enhance your experience.
(Note: Look into National
Park Entrance Pass Programs - Golden Eagle, Golden Age
Passport, Golden Access Passport.)
Regional Parks and Reservations:
National Historical Park
Pond State Reservation
- Massachusetts - Walking, Hiking and Biking
- search on Malcolm Preserve
- Bay Circuit Trail and
- A permanent recreation trail and greenway corridor extending
through 21 towns in Eastern Massachusetts and linking the parks
and open spaces surrounding metropolitan Boston.
RESTORE: The Maine Woods National Park and Preserve:
The RESTORE North Woods organization has a unique mission - to
restore, preserve, and defend wild nature in the North Woods.
Local writer Henry David Thoreau called for a "national preserve"
in the Maine Woods 150 years ago. RESTORE has proposed a new Maine
Woods National Park and Preserve worthy of Thoreau's vision.
RESTORE: The North Woods Massachusetts Office PO Box 1099
Concord, Massachusetts 01742 Phone: 978-287-0320 Fax: 978-287-5771
The Maine Woods National Park, a 3.2 million acre wild land, would
truly be the “Yellowstone of the East.” As a vast core wilderness,
the Park would anchor a system of ecological reserves stretching
to the Adirondacks on the west, the Central Appalachians on the
south, and Canada on the north.
For more info check out their website. restore.org
Read "Crimes Against Nature" by Robert F.
Kennedy, Jr. ISBN: 0-06-074687-4
...Amid the general environmental bad news that envelops
our world, there are distinct sparks of hope and creative
thinking, including the attempts of scientists,
environmentalists, and others to re-imagine our
relationships with even the largest and most dangerous of
animals, those capable of preying on us....
The White House may be dragging its heels on The Greatest
Environmental Threat facing the planet today. But across
the political spectrum, Republicans, Democrats, governors,
senators, and industry leaders agree that climate change
is for real and must be dealt with—now.
One important issue not understood by the general
population is the impending geological phenomenon known as
"Peak Oil." It is extremely unfortunate that our
corporate-controlled media conglomerates do not report on
the significance of global Peak Oil. It would seem the
European community is openly discussing this issue, and
trying to make preparations to reduce their overall energy
consumption.. ====> full article
Hubbert Peak of Oil Production
Association for the Study of Peak
Oil & Gas
The Effects of Global Warming
- The Price of Climate Change Global
warming has already touched all seven continents as
icebergs melt, oceans rise and nature reacts. While
climate change can't be blamed for any one head wave or
flood, scientists predict that a hotter planet will
suffer more incidents of extreme weather.
- Permission to use the cranberry vine image granted by The Cape
Cod Cranberry Grower's Association, Wareham, Ma (508)295-4895
- Site descriptions derived in part from the 'Trails in
Carlisle' booklet compiled by the Carlisle Trails Committee and
published by the Carlisle Conservation Commission in June, 1994.
©2004 Town of Carlisle, Massachusetts