The East Quabbin Land Trust encourages visitors to all of its preserves. Please be respectful of the land and other visitors. EQLT has several policies that guide use of the land, including a Dog Walking Policy, Hunting and Fishing Policy and Recreational Trail Use Policy. We encourage you to explore the several miles of trails at the Deer Park Preserve and the adjoining Coxhall Kitchen Garden preserve.
The Deer Park Preserve is a 78-acre property with access from Barre and Simpson Roads in Hardwick. To visit this property, park at the kiosk on Barre Road, just a under a mile from the Hardwick Common. The property was donated by two separate families in 2006 and 2007.
The property is mostly forested with areas of dense white pines, a ridge with mature oak and hickory, and mixed hardwood trees throughout. The ridge divides the property into two watersheds, with headwaters of Danforth Brook flowing westerly and Fish Brook draining the easterly part of the Preserve. There are several wetland areas associated with the Fish Brook drainage. A small 7-acre hayfield sits on Barre Road with easy parking and informational kiosk welcomes visitors to the property. There is a beautiful network of stone walls and interesting natural and cultural features, all of which make this preserve an ideal location for recreation.
The East Quabbin Land Trust manages the preserve for diverse wildlife habitats. A ten acre area that straddles Fish Brook is kept as early successional habitat. The trees were harvested in 2011 and again in 2016. Also a portion of that area and adjoining oak-hickory woods was treated with a prescribed burn to remove unwanted trees, such as white pine and non-native plants. A nesting box for American kestrel stands at the northern end of the hayfield. Bluebird boxes line the hayfield’s western edge.