Protected Lands - Hiland Park/Slater Woods

Our most ambitious project, the acquisition of the 2.44 acre Jedrzynski property in 2007, the 66 acre Hiland Park property in 2010 and the adjoining 75 acre Slater Woods property in 2011 has realized our goal of creating a major green/wildlife corridor in eastern Dudley. Now hikers can traverse 1.5 miles of protected land from the Mass Audubon holdings along Dudley Oxford Road in Dudley to Peter Pond in Dudley. The total cost to acquire these lands was $150,000, and again we are indebted to the local community and grant foundations for their benevolence. We also want to thank the land owners for donating/selling us these properties. They include Thomasine Tavormina in memory of her parents Thomas and Rochelle Jedrzynski; Barbara Schlichter (Hiland Park) as well as Bob Zipf and Joyce Harrington (Slater Woods). Lastly, we wish to thank Charlie Wyman of the Massachusetts Audubon Society for his invaluable technical assistance and Brandon Kibbe of the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game for working to secure a conservation restriction for Slater Woods.

Hiland Park/Slater Woods Brochure and Trail Map

Monitoring report for Slater Woods from Mass Fish & Game

A History of Slater Woods and Environs

“Slater Woods” is an approximate 75 acre parcel of mature 2nd growth forest of oak, maple and pine in the northeast corner of Dudley. The acquisition of Slater Woods represents the connecting link in a 1.5 mile long greenway connecting Dudley Conservation Land Trust holdings along Peter Pond in Dudley with Mass Audubon holdings along Dudley-Oxford Road in Dudley. With Slater Woods now held for conservation, there are almost 250 acres of DCLT and Mass Audubon protected land along the greenway. Furthermore, future conservation potential remains high as the northeast corner of Dudley (and the southwest corner of Oxford) represents an approximate 1000 acre parcel of undeveloped land that has been designated as one of five Heritage Landscapes by the Town of Dudley. This designation was given because the scale of undeveloped land is unique in the area combined with its historic connection to the Samuel Slater – the first textile manufacturer in the country.

The land is situated on a glacial ridge with bands of ledge that runs in a general north to south axis. There are also some wet areas and a bog that is approximately ½ acre in size. As evidenced by maps dating back to the 1830’s, the land was never cleared for cultivation and was only used as woodlots. Over time, the Slater family acquired almost the entire 1,000 acres in Dudley and Oxford in order to support its textile industry (wood and water power) along the French River. By the 1930’s, the textile industry was beginning to wane in Massachusetts, and much of the Slater land was sold or went into tax title.

The Dudley Conservation Land Trust envisions Slater Woods and Environs as a special place that will allow for quiet reflection, passive recreation and wildlife observation. Given that the land was never cultivated, invasive plants are minimal and the land has a remote, “wild” feel to the visitor. To allow for ease of public access, a trailhead and kiosk has been constructed at Dudley-Oxford Road on Mass Audubon lands. A simple path system has also been created that will allow for enjoyment of the rock outcroppings and wetland areas, finally leading to the arrival of Peter Pond. To this day, Peter Pond remains largely undeveloped. Back in 1884, a writer from the Worcester Spy had this to say about Peter Pond: “I first saw it near the close of a rare summer afternoon in the middle of June. It is not easily found and it cannot be seen as it lies nestled within a deep wood. It was profoundly quiet there, the sunlight pouring in among the trees, and the clouds floating overhead lent an indescribable charm to the passing hour, and made it a fitting place for great and tranquil thoughts.” In our busy 21st century world, places like “Slater Woods” are needed by all of us.

Protected Lands - Visit Another DCLT Property!
Bateman | Hiland\Slater | Keekamoochaug | Keith | Leovich | Morse | Tufts | Wieloch
Dudley Conservation Land Trust
PO Box 14
Dudley, MA 01571
(508) 949-0250