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Guiney Memorial Forest (Royalston)

Ownership: 
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Gift From: 
Father John Guiney (1998)
Directions: 

Follow Route 68 to South Royalston and turn onto River Road just north of the bridge over the Millers. Follow River Road about .4 miles to turn left on to Neale Road. Turn right when Neale Road ends at a T and head east on Neale Place, which becomes New Boston Road, for a total of .6 miles. Turn right on Morse Road. Park at the south end of Morse Road.

Father John Guiney’s family donated this 33-acre property to Mount Grace on the condition it be maintained as a wildlife sanctuary. Father Guiney retired from a parish in Watertown to a house on Morse Road adjacent to the land where he kept trails open throughout and spent much time walking there.

Guiney Memorial Forest is in the southeast corner of Royalston and abuts protected land forming thousands of acres of open space. The land to the south is part of the Army Corps of Engineers' Birch Hill Dam managed property. To the east, the abutting land is part of the Otter River State Forest, which, together with other protected land extends miles to the north and east.

Forest cover is principally old field white pine arising on land once used for farming. Stone walls and scattered old barbed wire fencing remains from past use of the land as pasture. The hurricane of 1938 impacted this area severely, and trees with large sweep, root throw mounds and down trees show evidence of the damage done. Some breakage occurred in the ice storm of December 2008, with the principal impact being downed trees and branches across the trail.

Topography is flat to gentle slopes with the highest land in the center, falling off to the east and west. A small perennial stream in the eastern third of the lot flows out of a small man-made pond on the northern border and runs to the south where it enters Beaver Pond whose outlet, Stockwell Brook, flows into the Millers River to the south.

The property is open to the public for non-motorized outdoor recreation including hiking, bird watching, and nature study. Hunting is prohibited at Guiney.