Sprague Land Preserve

41.647576, -72.122008


Sprague Land Preserve

Sprague Town Park

Location: 625 acres in Franklin and Sprague, CT

Parking: Small lots past 154 Holton Rd North Franklin, CT

Out-of-Date Trail Map     Trails: 11 miles      Rating: ★★★★☆

The Sprague Land Preserve is a large and varied property along the Shetucket River.  It is formerly known as the Mukluk Preserve. Most visitors to the Sprague Preserve are awed by the exceptional terrain and habitats in an otherwise unassuming area The terrain ranges from mixed lowlands along the river to fern hillsides and hardwood ridgelines Thanks to the Friends of the Shetucket River Valley and many other local conservation foundations the property has grown from 270 acres to approximately 625 acres with the addition of the Watson Farm and Robinson properties.
There are eleven miles on a network of hiking trails, dirt roads, and utility corridors.  Along the blue trail, there is a small waterfall that runs strong after rains but slows to a trickle in the summer. There are also two other waterfalls on the property (four if you include the Shetucket River dam).  All three are along the blue trail.  The entire property is hilly with several steep up/downhills.  There are a number of downed trees, but side paths have been created around them.  Other destinations include the overlook along the yellow trail and the Shetucket River.  Along the river is a wide gravel and sand access road leading to the Shetucket River dam.  The dam falls outside the boundary of the preserve, but a nice sign thanks you for visiting and welcomes you back. The dam is hydroelectric and occasionally releases water.
The Preserve is also a popular horseback riding destination and unfortunately is occasionally popular with dirtbikes as well.
Looking forward, the First-Selectman of Sprague, Cathy Osten, said, “We’re looking to add some 2,000 more acres and be around the 3,000-acre mark. We will do that through a mix of private donations and land acquisition grants.”  According to the Friends of the Shetucket River Valley, the property is already a “keystone landscape within a 3,000-acre wildlife corridor.”  They too aim to add more land through purchase or easements.  The corridor refers to nearby Bailey’s Ravine at Ayers Gap Preserve and the Mohegan State Forest.  In addition to a bicycle route and road signage from Baltic Village to the Preserve, the 2018 Sprague Plan of Conservation and Development recommends to, 
“Work with property owners, State, Friends of Shetucket, and others to acquire additional open space parcels and/or conservation easements along the Shetucket River with the goal to create a trail from Baltic Village to the Sprague Land Preserve that includes handicapped access, exercise equipment, art, education, parking, and river access.”
Mountain Biking
Though this technically falls outside the boundaries of the preserve, the property has over a mile of waterfront along the Shetucket River.  So, I thought I would include boating for this section.  The dam is about 1/3 of a mile from the property and while there is no easy water access from the preserve, there is a portage site just outside the boundary for circumventing the dam.  There are annual events kayaking down the river to Baltic, timed with the release from the dam.


The original 270 Mukluk Preserve was purchased in 2005.  The 230-acre Watson Farm property was purchased in 2012 and the 125-acre Robinson property was added in 2016.  The property has been used for many things since the early 1700’s so it is a wealth of historic and cultural artifacts, including stagecoach roads, tavern and barn foundations, ice ponds, etc.


Peter Marteka – Sprague Offers One Of Largest Preserves In Southeast Connecticut (2010)

Peter Marteka – A beautiful eastern Connecticut preserve in Sprague grows bigger (2019)

Town of Sprague – Ride the Shetucket River

Town of Sprague – 2018 Plan of Conservation and Development

Tiffany Young @ the Outbound

Lois Bruinooge @ The Last Green Valley

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Posted in Town Parks

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