Brush Mountain Conservation Area was initially protected for its importance to the New England National Scenic Trail (formerly the Metacomet-Monadnock trail), which now winds nearly 120 miles from the Connecticut border to Mount Monadnock’s summit in New Hampshire. Unusual ecological features on the property include a 150+ year-old black gum and black spruce swamp, and a moist lichen habitat known as condensation gardens. Additionally, a small section of the trail has been refurbished using geo-synthetic techniques to alleviate some muddy conditions.
Brush Mountain Conservation Area is open to the public for non-motorized recreation including hiking and nature watching.
500 Gulf Rd, Northfield, MA 01360
From Route 2 take Route 63 north for 5.6 miles. Turn right on South Mountain Rd (look for a sign for the Linden Hill School on the corner) and follow the long climb for 3.6 miles and take a left on Gulf Rd. Continue for 1.75 miles and on your left will be parking and a kiosk.
Parking is available off Gulf Rd.
Town of Northfield
2005 and 2011
In the face of development, the Town of Northfield exercised its right of first refusal as allowed under the Massachusetts Chapter 61 current use enrollment program in 2005. Mount Grace pre-acquired the property on behalf of the town, and later helped the Town of Northfield apply for a Self-Help grant from the state (now called the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant) to protect 46 acres at the trailhead in 2005. In 2011, an additional 188 acres beside the Northfield sections of the trail in 2011 was protected. The resulting Brush Mountain Conservation Area, with trailhead parking to the New England National Scenic Trail, lies in the heart of this important stretch of the trail as it heads east toward Mt. Grace through the Northfield Town Forest.
During the conservation process, an important historical discovery was made. Two intact cellar holes and a functioning well on the property are the remains of the homestead of Calvin T. Swan (1799-1875), an African American carpenter and farmer. He worked with master carpenter Calvin Stearns to build many of the fine homes that still exist today along Northfield's Main Street. Swan was also a charter member of the Franklin County Anti-Slavery Society, an organization that was affiliated with a larger movement to abolish slavery in the Commonwealth.