Eshqua Bog is a haven for many species of dragonflies. Come explore the plants and animals native to this Vermont preserve. View All
If winter days are starting to drag, cast your mind forward to spring and summer when The Nature Conservancy's natural areas will be bursting with color and new growth. One of the most colorful places to visit -- especially in June -- is Eshqua Bog. Eshqua Bog is a botanical world of cold-climate holdovers — small pockets of bog plant species and a two-acre fen — from the post-glacial era 10,000 years ago. This preserve contains a diverse array of bog and fen plants: Labrador tea, cotton grass, pitcher plants, showy lady’s slippers, larches, and buckbean. See the Slideshow.
Susan and Dean Greenberg, volunteer stewards of Eshqua Bog, advise visitors: "The showy lady's slippers are usually in bloom around June 20th - depending on weather. Yellow lady's slippers are about two weeks earlier and there are much fewer than the hundreds of showys. There are also northern bog orchids and green orchids which are blooming about the same time or a little after the showys."
A 200-foot boardwalk is the centerpiece of a one-mile trail system, which both encircles and passes through the bog. From the boardwalk, visitors can experience the unusual and rare natural history of this plant community first-hand, without impacting its fragile ecology. A memorial bench constructed by the Hartland Nature Club stands near the beginning of the trail in memory of Graceann Ridlon and her work to protect Eshqua Bog. Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
This bog, which is technically a fen, supports a diverse community of native plants such as the alder-leaved buckthorn and shrubby cinquefoil. The difference between a bog and a fen is the water source and the acidity of the site. Bogs tend to be acidic; fens are more alkaline. Water flows into bogs solely through rainwater and run-off, while fens are also fed by calcium-rich groundwater.
A number of mammals use the fen including deer, hares, and red squirrels. Eshqua Bog is also a haven for many species of dragonflies.
Eshqua Bog Natural Area is located in Hartland. Traveling east on Route 4 from Woodstock village, take a right onto Hartland Hill Road. Travel about one mile until you reach a fork. Take a right onto Garvin Hill Road. Travel about one mile and look for the Nature Conservancy sign on the right. There is a small pullover on the right for parking.