Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve
Non-profit Volunteer Organization Friends of the Oswegatchie Hills
457 acres in East Lyme, CT
Parking: Small lot at 98 Memorial Park Dr East Lyme, CT or small pull offs along Oswegatchie Hills Rd
Trail Map Trails: 6.5 miles Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Oswegatchie Hills contain nearly 6.5 miles of trails. The main points of interest include the Smith Cove Overlook (seasonal), the granite quarry, and vistas along Clark Pond. From the Friends of Oswegatchie Hills site,
“The Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve is largely comprised of two major rock ridges that run north and south parallel to the Niantic River… In between the ridges is the ravine or lowlands gouged out by glaciers; much of this lowland is wet, starting with Clark Pond in the south and the stream and wetlands to the north that feed into it.”
The organization is also promoting the growth of the rare pitch pine habitat. They have created a nursery on under utilized town land nearby with the hope of transplanting the young trees to existing stands on the preserve. Volunteers also hope to add an adjoining 236 acres of coastal forest to the preserve.
The trails here are well marked and cross through the varied terrain of the property. The main blue trails and the orange trail seem to roughly follow the two ridgelines with short connectors between. The cove overlook is well treed, but does provide some view of Smith Cove and the private property in between.
The granite quarry is a large open rock slope roughly descending southwest. Other points of interest are Mt. Tabor (at around 280ft above sea level), a blink and you’ll miss it rock “cave”, and a tiny quartz pit. The points of interest here seem to be grasping a bit, but the trails to them are a bit of an adventure themselves. Further research into each should grow their appreciation. The non-profit aims to add to the property size with a goal of 700+ acres.
Preserved in 2007. The site doesn’t offer any easily found information on why the property is named Oswegatchie Hills. I was able to find that the Oswegatchie people lived along what is now the northern border of New York and the word is guessed to be Iroquois for “going or coming around a hill”. There is archaeological significance to the area, though information is sparse.
Peter Marteka – East Lyme Preserve Features Pink Granite Quarry, Gorgeous Overlooks (2010)
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Last updated April 14th, 2017
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