Springer Glen Open Space Area
Springer Glen Open Space Trail Guide
Location and Access
This open space area of about 38 acres adjoins the east bank of the Mill River, just upstream of Mill Plain Road in the central part of the Town. Residential neighborhoods surround most of the area. Stillson Road runs along the area’s southern boundary. The dam and outlet of the Samp Mortar Reservoir on the Mill River are about 2,000 feet upstream of the open space area.
There are four points of access onto the open space area. The Mill Plain Road and Pheasant Lane entrances are generally for neighborhood use due to the lack of parking. The two entry points on Stillson Road are more suitable for other open space visitors because there are a few parking spaces on the Old Ford roadway off Stillson Road, below the sharp curve. Please don’t block the private driveway.
The Town established the open space area by acquiring several parcels of land between 1972 and 1978. The area is now dedicated for conservation purposes and provides the opportunity for walking, hiking, and enjoyment of the natural environment in the Mill River watershed. The area is not managed to provide recreational access to the river.
A significant part of the open space area is within the river’s 100-year floodplain and therefore level and often wet. The river here is relatively shallow and narrow. The land rises to the east and south from the floodplain and the highest point is about 120 feet above sea level in the southeast corner of the open space area. The topography is such that storm water runoff generally flows in a northwesterly direction toward the river. During rainy weather, groundwater seeps are common along the slopes.
Vegetation and Wildlife
The open space area contains dense, second-growth forest, wetlands, a wooded swamp, and a few open fields dominated by grasses and wildflowers. The forest includes mixed hardwoods such as tulip poplar, black birch, white ash, scarlet oak, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, and red cedar.
The under story varies. There are thickets of greenbrier, grapes, spicebush, honeysuckle, and poison ivy, and other areas where the forest canopy is so dense there’s no understory vegetation. The Conservation Department has improved wildlife habitat by selectively felling some of the mature maples so sunlight can reach the forest floor.
Some of the wildflowers you may see are buttercup, goldenrod, Queen Ann’s Lace, partridge berry, milkweed, and bittersweet.
You may also see a variety of wildlife. The open space area provides habitat for song birds, wading birds, waterfowl, birds of prey; pheasants, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and many small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.
If you enter the open space area from Stillson Road and loop around the area on the yellow trail and then return to Stillson Road via the Old Ford roadway, you’ll have walked about ¾ of a mile. There are several short trails that cut across the open space area and follow mostly level terrain. These will lead you through some different habitat types including upland woodland, floodplain woodland, meadow and glen, and red maple swamp.
Scroll below to view photographs of the Springer Glen Open Space Area: