UCONN Hillside Environmental Education Park
University of Connecticut Open Space
165 acres in Mansfield, CT
Parking: Small pull-off near 248 Hunting Lodge Rd Mansfield, CT
Trail Map Trails: 2 miles Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
The main trail at HEEP is a 3/4 of a mile gravel road between Hunting Lodge Road and Discovery Drive. This “hiking trail” is a wide path with a number of interpretive signs, added in 2018, which highlight flora and fauna as well as invasive species.
The small trails leading off towards the swamp are rough and underused but well marked with large metal signs. The trails could definitely use some stewardship. They wind their way along ridges around vernal pools before reaching a marsh. At the northwestern edge of the marsh is a finely built viewing platform that is out of place in contrast to the state of the trails. Continuing around the created wetlands entered thigh-high grass and the trail petered out along a slope. However, I could see where the trail resumed on its way towards C-Lot, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. In total there must be about 2.25 miles of trails
Across the street from the Hunting Lodge Rd parking is Shelter Falls. This entrance is almost fully overgrown for most of the year, but it is exactly across the road. The two could be combined for about six miles of hiking.
The DEEP requested that UCONN remediate pollution from the landfill, chemical pits, and surface water in 1998. In the following decade, the university developed a mitigation plan and preserved the wetlands here partially turning it into an environmental park, which was completed in 2008.
Kristen Schwab – Original Design Plan
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Last updated July 2nd, 2018
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