MESHOMASIC STATE FOREST
Meshomasic State Forest began as 70 acres, acquired for $105.00 in 1903. It was the first State Forest in Connecticut and in New England, and the second in the country (Pennsylvania had the first). Meshomasic State Forest now exceeds 9,000 acres in the towns of Portland, East Hampton, Glastonbury, Marlborough, and Hebron.
The forest was originally purchased was to provide private landowners with examples of good forest management practices. During the Great Depression (1930?s) two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were located on the forest. It was the CCC who built most of the gravel roads on the forest.
Today, about 75 acres per year are harvested. This is a sustainable rate of harvest that also increases biodiversity in the forest and makes the forest more resistant to such disasters as uncontrolled wildfire and destructive insect outbreaks.
Eight miles of gravel roads are open in the forest for summer driving. The Shenipsit Blue Trail traverses the length of the forest. Rainwater from over half the forest drains into the Portland Reservoir. The largest known population of timber rattlesnakes in Connecticut is located on the forest.
Management goals include maintaining a quality supply of water for the Portland town reservoir and protection of timber rattlesnake habitat. Meshomasic State Forest also continues in its role as a showplace for proper timber management.
Meshomasic State Forest is located in central Connecticut and is one of the largest state forests in the state. Its history dates back to the early 19th century when the land was used for farming and logging.
In the early 1800s, the area was primarily agricultural, with settlers clearing land and tilling the soil for crops. However, due to the poor soil quality and rocky terrain, farming was not particularly successful.
As a result, the land was eventually abandoned by the farmers, and the forest started to regenerate naturally. By the mid-1800s, the state recognized the importance of maintaining forests for timber, water conservation, and wildlife habitat. In 1899, legislation was passed authorizing the state to acquire lands for the establishment of state forests.
In 1903, thanks to this legislation, the State of Connecticut purchased several parcels of land in the towns of Portland, East Hampton, Marlborough, and Glastonbury, which would eventually become the Meshomasic State Forest.
Over the years, the state continued acquiring more land for the forest, both through direct purchases and donations. Today, the forest covers over 9,000 acres and is managed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for multiple uses, including timber production, recreation, and conservation.
Meshomasic State Forest offers a wide range of recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. The forest also contains several trails, including sections of the blue-blazed Shenipsit Trail and the Airline State Park Trail.
In recent years, the DEEP has worked on various conservation initiatives within the forest, focusing on protecting water resources, wildlife habitats, and maintaining a healthy and sustainable forest ecosystem.
Meshomasic State Forest has evolved from agricultural land to a valuable natural resource for Connecticut, providing recreational opportunities and serving as an important ecological and timber resource for the state.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS
web page to learn more.
BBs / Inns
Located along the CT Shoreline midway between New York City and Boston, and only one hour from Hartford, with tons of local attractions both on the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River.
18.7 miles from park*