The hermit thrush can be found at the David H. Smith Preserve.
Hermit thrush The hermit thrush can be found at the David H. Smith Preserve. © Becky Matsubara

Places We Protect

David H. Smith Preserve and Fire Trail


David H. Smith Preserve is currently open to the public.

To support community health and safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please adhere to Massachusetts social distancing guidelines while visiting the preserve. This includes: maintaining 6 feet of distance from other groups, wearing a face covering or mask, maintaining group sizes of 10 or fewer, and thorough hand washing following the visit.

An educational trail offers a look at the use of controlled burning to restore coastal sandplain communities.

Why You Should Visit

The David H. Smith Preserve features scrub oak shrubland and oak woodlands habitat on the coastal sandplain of Martha's Vineyard. The Nature Conservancy created a .75-mile educational trail on the property, called the Fire Trail. This trail features interpretive displays on the natural history of fire on Martha’s Vineyard, and the role that controlled burning plays today in restoring rare natural communities and species.

Why TNC Selected This Site

TNC protected the David H. Smith Preserve and facilitated the protection of the 801 acre "Hazy Acres" portion of the adjacent Manuel F. Correllus State Forest by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in 1995 because the site includes a portion of the largest remaining coastal sandplain habitat left on Martha's Vineyard. The Preserve is named after a philanthropist who generously supported TNC’s work on the Vineyard.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

TNC completes regular monitoring and preserve maintenance on this property.

What to See

Visitors can see the effects of fire on oak forest, as well as on wintergreen, sweet fern, blueberries, and huckleberries. Visitors may also see woodpeckers, neotropical migrant songbirds, bluebirds, quail and hermit thrush.

Preserve Policies

  • Preserve open daily from dawn to dusk
  • Foot traffic only
  • Groups larger than 10 people are asked to coordinate their visit with our Islands Office at 508-693-6287.
  • Please stay on the trail
  • No collecting of plants or animals or metal detecting.
  • Carry out all litter
  • No fires, smoking or camping


All reasonable requests for special accommodations will be made with ample notice.

The Fire Trail, the only maintained trail in the preserve, is an easy walk.

If you have any questions while planning your outing, please contact our Islands office at 508-693-6287.