Access to the marvelous trails on Moose Mountain’s south ridge is permanently protected, thanks to the generous gifts of conservation easements by Kay and Peter Shumway and Elisha and Anne Huggins in 2015.
For years, these two families built and maintained trails near Moose Mountain Lodge, welcoming the public to enjoy them by parking on their land and crossing their property to reach the trail network on the abutting Dana Pasture Natural Area (owned jointly by the Town and private heirs) and beyond.
The conserved Mill Pond Forest includes the north shore of Mill Pond, Hanover’s highest water body and the primary headwaters of Mink Brook as it spills from the pond and falls down the mountainside through the conserved area. The easement also protects two early 19th century mill sites on impressively steep terrain. Equally impressive are resident beavers’ own dam-building skills- their dam is so large it can be seen on satellite imagery! The Huggins Trail Access forever protects public use of the main foot trail and parking area.
How to get there
From Ruddsboro Road, take Old Dana Road approximately a mile in, then follow the (unsigned) gravel Moose Mountain Road to the very top, where a sign and gravel lot mark the Huggins Trail Access. Public trailhead parking is also available in several spots along Moose Mountain Road; all these trails connect to the Shumway Forest as well.
The Huggins Trail Access forever protects public use of the main foot trail. Miles of trails connect to the trailhead at the top of Moose Mountain Road, from the Shumway Forest to the Baum Conservation Area, the Dana Pasture Lot to the Appalachian Trail and beyond. Print a copy of the trail map to take with you on your hike!
From the parking area, enter the woods on the downstream side of Moose Mountain Road, and follow Mink Brook for just a few dozen yards. You’ll discover historic mill foundations in remarkably good condition. The steep slope and ample stone made this a perfet place to harness the power of Mill Pond!
NEW! Look back on a century of skiing on Moose Mountain and the historic Moose Mountain Lodge:
“This trail network is a well-known treasure,” observes Adair Mulligan, Executive Director of the Hanover Conservancy. “It connects hikers, snowshoers, and back-country skiers to some of the most beautiful woods and dramatic views in our region. We are deeply grateful that the landowners allowed the public to cross their property to enjoy these trails for so many years, and were willing to donate easements to ensure they will always be welcome here.”
“We are so happy to finally have found a way to conserve the mill and the pond,” Kay Shumway writes. “It would be such a shame to see this place changed.”
“The most important thing is to see people using the trails and enjoying being up there,” Elisha Huggins agreed. “I’d get comments from people, especially in fall, about how grateful they were that this existed in Hanover.” The easements will run with the land, ensuring that the forest, natural pond shoreline, and public trail access will remain forever.
The Conservancy appreciates the many contributions that, with grants from the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership and Elizabeth Parkhill Charitable Trust, helped fund the project’s costs.
The protected land is the high, forested home of black bear, moose, bobcat, snowshoe hare, deer, fox, and beaver, offering a measure of refuge from climate change. Mill Pond Forest adds valuable wooded shoreline and upland habitat to the 2,345 contiguous acres of already protected forestland on Moose Mountain north of the pond. Protecting Mink Brook’s headwaters benefits brook trout and water quality as the stream flows toward Etna and on to the Conservancy’s Mink Brook Nature Preserve.