Haskell Swamp Wildlife Management Area protects a broad expanse of forest scattered with wetlands. Hunters come here for the diverse array of species that can be harvested from the dense woodlands, including white-tailed deer and ruffled grouse. Hikers, bird-watchers, and trail bikers that are comfortable navigating their way without a map will find an adventure of their own in this forest, too.
For safety, explorers and accompanying dogs should wear blaze orange during hunting season.
Miles of trails unfold from Haskell Swamp Wildlife Management Area’s parking lot at Dexter Lane. These wide, flat paths are along old logging roads, making for easy walking. However, the trails are not mapped and have no signs; as such, we recommend these trails for active explorers who are comfortable using a compass.
As befitting its name, you’ll find rich swampland to explore here no matter which direction you choose to walk. Head west along the trails to explore the wetland that gives this WMA its name — Haskell Swamp — and Towsers Swamp, separated by a narrow ridge of upland called Towsers Neck. Walk to the eastern corner of the reserve to explore Bear Swamp. If you’re up for a long hike, head to the Atlantic white cedar swamp in the southeastern corner of the property. This pristine habitat joined the wildlife management area in 2011, and is a great place to listen for the unusual call of barred owls.
Habitats & Wildlife
Haskell Swamp features forest, upland, and wetland habitats, which allows for great diversity of plants and wildlife. Look for several pine species, as well as holly trees, oaks, Atlantic white cedar and patches of hemlock. Because this area was previously managed for timber harvesting, its woodlands contain many mature trees, which tower overhead in a scenic canopy.
Between the trees, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife: whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, coyote, foxes, rabbits, wild turkey, and box and wood turtles can all be found here. In the canopy above, look and listen for red-shouldered hawks, owls, woodpeckers, and the musical hermit thrush. If you’re exploring the Atlantic cedar swamp, look carefully for water-willow borers, a rare species of moth only found in Massachusetts swampland.
The Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game works to preserve the state's natural resources and people's right to conservation of those resources.