the trustees of reservations
On The Land
The Trustees of Reservations

Monday, January 7, 2013

CR Properties open to the Public, Profile #2: Destruction Brook Woods in Dartmouth, MA

Conservation Restrictions mostly protect private land in Massachusetts.  Since nearly all of these are closed to public access, we ask you to respect the landowners' privacy, and not trespass upon them. 

However, cities, towns, and other land trusts often grant CRs to The Trustees of Reservations, as an extra layer of protection for their conservation land - and most of these are open to the public. These conservation areas provide beautiful vistas, valuable wildlife habitat, protect our wetlands and water quality, and best of all, are open to recreation for everyone to enjoy!  Think of these Special Places that we do not own, yet permanently protect, as honorary additions to our 107 Reservations!

Destruction Brook Woods Reserve - Dartmouth, MA

A Destruction Brook spillway adjacent to Allen's Mill.
Destruction Brook Woods in Dartmouth is over 280 acres of dramatically named land owned by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) - it is DNRT's largest reserve.  Local historians are unsure of the origin of the name, as Destruction Brook is in fact a very gentle stream overall!  Protection of this land represented a successful cooperative land protection project between DNRT and The Trustees of Reservations.

Threatened by development in the late 1990s, DNRT and TTOR collaborated to raise over $2 million between state funds and generous private donors to secure its protection, part of the Slocum's River project which protected over 1,000 acres in this area of Dartmouth.  DNRT owns the land, while The Town of Dartmouth Conservation Commission and The Trustees co-hold the conservation restriction which further ensures permanent protection of Destruction Brook's high wildlife habitat, rare species, and water quality protection values.  The project helped protect the historic, rural character of the Russells Mills Village area of Dartmouth as well. 

Alice's Spillway drains a pond in Destruction Brook Woods. 
The property's eight miles of trails (click for map) leads the visitor through agricultural field edges, a glacially carved landscape of mature hardwood forests with impressive ledges, punctuated by rare Atlantic Whitecedar stands, wetlands, vernal pools, ponds, an historic farm house site deep in the resurgent forest, and the historic Allen's Mill.  DNRT has even produced a YouTube Video which highlights the beauty of Destruction Brook. 

The restored 17th century Allen's Mill sits at the southern end of Destruction Brook Woods Reserve.
There is so much conservation land to explore in South Dartmouth!  Destruction Brook is just a stone's throw from TTOR and DNRT's jointly owned Slocum's River Reserve, and the state's adjacent Dartmoor Farm Wildlife Management Area, among other nearby conservation areas.  Spend a day exploring  Destruction Brook Woods on foot, or ski or snowshoe this time of year, for a tranquil time (despite the dramatic name) in a deep forest! Don't forget to budget another day to visit Slocum's River as well, to enjoy the sculpture art of 2012's River Project, which you can view until May 2013!

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