Porcupine Hill – White Oak acquired this 50-acre parcel in 2008 through foundation grants and the help of many contributors. Located on the north side of Rt. 31 near the Holden/Paxton border, it was formerly used as a nature camp. White Oak has established a marked trail system and parking lot. Access is through property managed by DCR.
Potter Sanctuary – Adjoining and extending the trail system of Porcupine Hill, White Oak’s acquisition of Potter Sanctuary in 2011 reunites the campus of the Nature Training School. The additional 24 acres of the sanctuary hosts Rotary Lodge and Potter Lodge.
North Street – White Oak’s lands off North Street were acquired in the 1980s as land which had became town land by tax default. Today they function as an extension of the Trout Brook Conservation Area, which is owned by the town. The new White Oak trail traverses these lands, and is a great way to start exploring the wild areas of Holden. It begins on the eastern side of North Street, loops around to the north and west, and emerges 5 miles later at the North St. parking lot. It connects with the trail system in Trout Brook.
Eagle Lake Dam – The acquisition of this dam represents one of White Oak’s earliest achievements. Plans were in place in the early 1980s to drain the lake and build on it, after the dam fell into disrepair. Through a major fundraising effort and the support of the public, this was averted, the dam repaired, and Eagle Lake remains as a destination for fishing, swimming, canoeing, ice skating, and hockey.
Chapin Road – In 2004, the late Harold Henrickson gave us the balance of his 11-acre parcel, reserving a small area around the house, which he subsequently sold. Part wooded and part open field, the parcel contains an extensive wooded wetland that continues along the northern boundary. It is open to the public, but White Oak should be contacted before visiting, since at present it is being treated as a wildlife preserve.
Worcester Line – Camp Kinneywood, formerly operated by Girls, Inc, has been placed into permanent restriction. Owned by the Greater Worcester Land Trust, it is open to the public for hiking. It is accessible from Dawson Road in Worcester.
Holbrook Forest – Fisher Road.
Zwiep Lot – This is a 7-acre parcel of mostly wetland, donated by Mr. & Mrs. Donald Zwiep, and is located near Ann Street and Pilgrim Drive in the Birchwood area of Holden. A neighborhood group of members has been active in cleaning up this parcel, and a trail is planned.
South Road – White Oak was given a 12-acre parcel along the western edge of South Road in 1990 by Mr. and Mrs. George White, as part of an attempt to preserve the rural nature of this part of the road. Several years after the donation, three other landowners on the road decided to donate conservation restrictions on their own land for the same reason. (See below) The 12-acre parcel serves as a trailhead for the Asnembumskit Ridge Trail.
Salisbury Street – In 2000, the Waterman Broadcasting Corporation gave us an 8-acre parcel on Salisbury Street, which includes two vernal pools, and part of the headwaters of Poor Farm Brook. The parcel is open to the public, but has a forbidding growth of poison ivy along the wooded upland by the street, and access to the vernal pools is difficult because of intervening marsh. There are no trails.
Zimmerman Lot – An 11-acre parcel was donated by the Zimmerman family. It’s located off Salisbury Street on Stanjoy Road and is characterized predominantly as woody swamp.
The following lands are preserved from development but are not open to the public, though the owners sometimes allow limited access, and our stewards review the land at least annually.
Main and Malden Streets conservation restriction: In 2007, Ruth and Robert Price donated a conservation restriction on approximately 6 acres along Main Street and Malden Street. This strategic parcel preserves rural scenery along Main Street, and protects important wetlands which feed into the Quinapoxet River, a tributary of the Wachusett Reservoir. The property exhibits a meadow, stone retaining wall as evidence of original location of Main Street, and the remnants of a fieldstone foundation from a long-ago homestead. This donation continues the generosity of the Price family, beginning with Robert Price who served on the original board of directors of White Oak, wrote its charter and Articles of Incorporation.
Kendall Road conservation restriction: Mr. Weyman Lundquist donated the first conservation restriction to White Oak in 1979. The property, also known as The Grove, was the site of a popular camp run by his family around the middle of the 20th century. The camp included a famous toboggan run which started on the other side of Kendall Road and ended at Eagle Lake, as well as a swimming/boating area along the shore. The highlight of this 22-acre property is a magnificent grove of pine trees on a hill overlooking the lake. The beach is used by snapping and painted turtles as a nesting site. Kendall Road was named after Caleb Kendall, who ran a saw mill and grist mill on the site of the old Jefferson Mill.
Whitney Street conservation restriction: Development rights on this 4-acre parcel were donated by the Costello/Haran family in 1997. The land consists of fields that have been kept open continuously since the 18th century. Along with the historic Willard-Fiske house, the fields are an important feature of the landscape of this rural road. The surrounding forested land is owned by the City of Worcester, and is off limits to the public at this time for reasons of watershed protection.
South Road conservation restrictions: The Brooks and Durham families donated the development rights on their family lands, a total of 133 acres, in 2001. This is part of a neighborhood conservation project. At the end of 2005, the Dearborn family added to these a conservation restriction on their beautiful parcel of over 20 acres, with extensive views over the reservoirs. Not only is the land important wildlife habitat, but it also protects the Worcester water supply. This brings the total area now conserved on South Road to over 150 acres.
Sunnyside Avenue: In 2003, Nancy Wilson donated a CR on the back parcel of her land in the center of the town, which runs up a steep wooded hillside to the high school playing fields. This is the source of Glenn Spring which in the 19th century served as a water supply for the neighborhood, and also fed a horse trough that is now in the cemetery. It contributes to Warren Tannery Brook, which joins the Quinapoxet River and runs into Wachusett Reservoir.