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Tom Swamp Research Forest

The Tom Swamp Research Forest is 646 acres of land where Harvard Forest conducts internationally-important research on a wide range of forest dynamics.

Public Access

The Tom Swamp Research Forest is open to the public for non-motorized recreation, including hiking and hunting. Please follow posted restrictions to active research plots.


Tom Swamp Rd, Petersham, MA 01366

Parking is available off Tom Swamp Rd.

Trail Map


Harvard Forest

Year Protected


Property History

The Tom Swamp Conservation Project, completed with Mount Grace’s assistance in 2016, marked the first time Harvard University placed a Conservation Restriction on a parcel it owns. Mount Grace, through the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, was the lead partner on a federal Forest Legacy grant known as Quabbin to Wachusett (Q2W). Ultimately, Q2W protected more than 4,000 acres across six towns, in collaboration with dozens of landowners and conservation entities. The Tom Swamp tract was a critical component of this initiative, which was designed to protect the sustainably managed woodlands that filter the drinking water for more than 2.5 million people in the metro Boston Area. Tom Swamp is protected with Watershed Preservation Restriction held by the DCR’s Division of Water Supply Protection.