Quinebaug Highlands

The Quinebaug Highlands Landscape spans the border of the "quiet corner" of Northeastern Connecticut and south-central Massachusetts. Comprising a 34,000-acre forest block stretching across four towns in Connecticut (Ashford, Eastford, Union and Woodstock) and two in Massachusetts (Southbridge and Sturbridge), most of this natural area is contained within the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor known as “The Last Green Valley.”

A remarkably rural and forested tract amidst the sprawling Boston-to-Washington corridor, dense forests, crystalline rivers and vibrant farmlands are still found in the Quinebaug Highlands.

Healthy stands of oak, hickory and Eastern hemlock forests, dotted with northern hardwoods like white birch, harbor wide ranging mammals like black bear, moose, bobcat and fisher. Threatened migratory songbirds also nest and breed in these vast, relatively intact forests. Several rare natural communities and plants thrive in the landscape’s rugged and remote stretches.

People benefit from the solace and wonder of this area which covers nearly 269 square miles.

The Natchaug River System, a Connecticut State Greenway is recognized by federal, state, local and private agencies as a benchmark stream for water quality containing a rich diversity of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. The Natchaug and Mount Hope Rivers provide trophy trout fishing, paddling, hiking, history and beauty to area residents and visitors as well as supplying drinking water to 20,000 people.

Yet despite its working farms and rural character, the Quinebaug Highlands faces significant pressure from incompatible development.

Much of the land here is privately owned, and rising real estate prices demand cooperative, creative strategies to address changes in land use and other threats. The Conservancy is working with partners (see right sidebar for a list of partners) as well as farmers and private landowners like Ralph and Cecilia Otto to protect the region for both nature and people.


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