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Located in the ancestral homeland of the Nipmuc people
Kimball Memorial Forest consists of a variety of oaks with pine, hemlock, and other hardwoods mixed throughout its woodlands, which visitors can see from a foot path that follows an old railroad bed along the west side of the forest, as well as a half-mile long path through rhododendron connecting the roadside trailhead to the rail trail.
Please note: Hunting and trapping are prohibited on this property as a condition of its donation to NEFF.
NEFF conserves its Community Forests through ownership, and they are open daily, free to visit, and offer outdoor recreation opportunities. Unlike NEFF’s Community Forests, land protected by NEFF conservation easements—a legal tool—aren’t open to visitors unless their owners explicitly state so, because many belong to private individuals.
NEFF uses easements to conserve land owned by others. When a landowner grants NEFF an easement, it means they have permanently donated or sold to NEFF the landowner’s right to develop their own property, while the landowner otherwise retains ownership of their land; NEFF ensures the easements’ terms are met and enforced.
This forest was given to NEFF in 1996 as a gift from the wills of Chase Kimball (1902-1977) and Mary Lee Evans Kimball (1911-1989). The Kimballs had purchased the land in 1965 to protect their adjacent land, which has been in the Chase and Kimball families since 1814, and continues to be so.
Kimball Memorial Forest is adjacent to 1,800 acres of state park and forest, which makes the NEFF forest part of a large block of habitat that creates ideal conditions for a variety of species. As a single parcel, Kimball has a lot of appealing habitat, too.
Oak stands dominate Kimball Memorial, and they are a reliable source of mast crop, or a food source of fruits and seeds from hardwood trees like beech, black cherry, and oaks. The property also has a network of streams and wetlands, including Elliott Brook, that drains to the south into Baker Pond and Blackwell Brook. This network is complemented by vernal pools that create breeding habitat for many amphibians.
As Kimball Memorial contains a variety of forest and wetland habitat types in a reasonably small area, it’s an ideal spot for many avian, amphibian and mammalian species.
The property is also home to two large shrub swamps and wet meadows, which are potentially significant habitat features for certain species. Connecticut has designated 25 rare and specialized wildlife habitats as Critical Habitats, and four of these habitat types are grouped under “palustrine forested,” which the University of Connecticut defines as: “including swamps that are seasonally and/or permanently flooded by freshwater. Forest habitats are characterized by a dominance of trees with overlapping crowns forming between 60-100% canopy cover.”*
Want to head out and explore? Our interactive map of all NEFF Community Forests will help you get on your way. It provides property-specific trail maps you can download, as well information about each forest’s history, recreational opportunities, natural features, and more.