McElwain-Olsen Preserve

Open to the Public


Things To Do

Open for scientific, educational and passive recreation. There are no trails. View All

Plan Your Visit

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Why You Should Visit
This preserve lies on an east-facing slope in the southeastern corner of the Berkshire Mountains. It was once farmed and pastured as was the case in most of Western Massachusetts, but now supports an upland forest community. The Preserve also protects a portion of Glendale Brook including the remains of an old mill.

Arthur Pease Road, Middlefield, Massachusetts

62 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
This property was a gift from the Olsen family in 1973, however, the Nature Conservancy has since identified the Westfield River watershed as a priority for conservation action. This area provides unique conservation opportunities based on the combination of intact forests and high-quality rivers and streams. This area offers one of the last and best opportunities for large-scale forest and aquatic system conservation in southern New England. The Nature Conservancy’s goal is to conserve the integrity of these forests and rivers.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Since 2004 The Conservancy has protected an additional 108 acres in the vicinity of this property and continues to preserve the upland forest and brook and the habitat they provide through annual preserve monitoring and maintenance.

What to See:
This Preserve is open for scientific, educational and passive recreation, however, there are no trails. The west side of the Preserve has a 100-year-old beech forest with white pine and hemlock, a red maple swamp with nannyberry, black alder, and several fern species. The east portion of the Preserve includes a ravine that descends into Glendale Brook. The ravine includes a mature hemlock forest and contains the stone remains of an old mill (access is from the stream crossing at Root Rd on north side of the preserve). You may see white-tailed deer, red squirrel, barred owl, ruffed grouse, and black bear.

Preserve Policies
Please read our complete list of preserve use policies.

  • Preserve open daily from dawn to dusk
  • Foot traffic only
  • Groups larger than 10 people are asked to coordinate their visit with our Western Massachusetts Program at (413) 229-0232.
  • No collecting of plants or animals
  • Carry out all litter
  • No fires, smoking or camping


  • All reasonable requests for special accommodations will be made with ample notice.
  • There are no trails.

Open for scientific, educational and passive recreation. There are no trails.

If you have any questions while planning your outing, please contact our Boston office at (617) 532-8300.


From Middlefield Center:

  • Take Bell Road east. 
  • Where Bell Road intersects Arthur Pease Road, turn left and continue to the Olsen homestead, just north of the cemetery.
  • Parking is along the shoulder of Arthur Pease Road.
  • The preserve can be accessed through the cemetery on the west side of the road and from the road edge on the east side of the road. Best access to Glendale Brook is around the corner on Root Rd where the brook crosses under the road.

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