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Cutthroat Brook Tree Farm

Cutthroat Brook Tree Farm is a 350-acre Forest Stewardship Council certified tree farm that abuts Harvard Forest. This land provides a critical wooded buffer to Harvard Forest’s long-term ecological studies that monitor the health of eastern forests, as well as extends a significant corridor of conservation land that will allow unimpeded wildlife passage from the Quabbin Reservoir north to New Hampshire.

Owners Ben and Susie Feldman thoughtfully conserved their property with Mount Grace in 2016 and have been creatively designing trails to roam at your leisure. There are a total of about 15 miles of available trails for exploration. Marked routes vary from the short-and-easy Flatlanders’ route to the hillier 5-mile Curley-Q Trail. Garden gnomes and the occasional mermaid can be found throughout the property, peering out at hikers and riders as they use the miles of foot and equestrian trails. Mount Grace worked with Susie and Ben to create the Forest Learning Loop, where you can learn about the trees and natural features around you. At one point on this trail, you will encounter the Tri-Town Marker where you could physically be in Athol, Phillipston, and Petersham all at the same time.

Public Access

Cutthroat Brook Tree Farm is open to the public for hiking, nature watching, and horseback riding.

Download Our Gnome Scavenger Hunt Worksheet for Youth

Directions

586 Briggs Rd. Athol, MA 01331

From the center of Athol: Take Rte. 2A East, take a right onto Rte. 32 going south and in 0.3 mile, take a left onto Briggs Rd. 

From the center of Petersham: Take Rte. 32 north for 5.0 miles and take a right onto Briggs Rd.  

Parking is available in the parking lot to the left on Briggs Road.  

Ownership

Ben and Susie Feldman

Year Protected

2016

Property History

In 1947, Barbara and Richard B. Ellis bought 40 acres at the top of Briggs Road in Athol. The hunting cabin and colonial barn on the land had no electricity or running water, so the couple embarked on the first of a series of remodels and additions as they raised their children on the land. Barbara Ellis, a noted watercolorist, and Richard, principal of Athol High School, also began purchasing other neighboring parcels as they became available to piece together what was the historic Briggs Farm. When their daughter Susie moved back to town, after marrying her husband Ben Feldman, the family owned hundreds of acres of contiguous land in Phillipston, Petersham, and Athol. In 2016, Ben and Susie Feldman permanently protected 297 acres with a conservation restriction (CR), keeping that land in private ownership and undeveloped forever.

Funded by the MA Landscape Partnership Program, this was part of the multi-landowner, multi-partner Quabbin Heritage Landscape Project. The Athol Conservation Commission, Petersham Conservation Commission, and Phillipston Conservation Commission all co-hold this CR. The conservation of this property also leveraged the Quabbin to Wachusett Forest Legacy project.