I've been fascinated with old-growth tracts, forests which have never been cut, since learning about them in college and then living out West where much of the nation's ancient groves remain. However, upon moving East I learned in Orion magazine that states like Massachusetts still have many (small) areas that were never cut for one reason or another by early colonists. After visiting at least four of them, I arranged to do reporting projects on old-growth issues in Poland (report here) and then Sweden (here), two countries where much of Europe's remaining ancient forests are located.

So in celebration of Ashfield's 250th, on March 21 at 10 am, old-growth forest expert Bob Leverett will give a guided tour of our own old-growth patch which holds trees that germinated right around the time that the town was founded. This event is a repeat of a walk Bob led a few winters ago that was attended by many appreciative townsfolk. The site is on Sears Road a very short distance from 112 – one can see the crowns of old white pines on a small hill there, and there is a scattering of old hemlocks, birches, and maples too, all of them being between 170 and about 250 years of age. There is one exceptionally large white pine named the Mason Pine (for Howard Mason who was responsible for saving this rare piece of forest which has never been cut, back when it was under prior ownership). The land is now owned by Hull Forestlands and they are committed to preserving this piece of history; they welcome visitors to the tract.

Park on Sears Road near the junction of Route 112 and wear appropriate clothing and shoes – though it is a very short distance to walk, the last time we did this event, it went for over an hour in snow drifts protected by the deep shade of ancient trees, so it can be chilly.

For more information about these trees, see the Hampshire Gazette article below and Eastern Native Tree Society's page about the tract here.