Charlestown Moraine Preserve
Owned by the Town of Charlestown since 2013, this 78 acre property was purchased with Town Open Space Bond funds and represents nearly a mile of road frontage on Rt. 1 (Post Road) between Kings Factory Road and Prosser Trail.
The Charlestown moraine is an internationally recognized geologic feature and the ecosystems it supports are unique. The property serves as an important forested wildlife corridor between the two State Natural Heritage Areas of Watchaug Pond and the School House Pond/Deep Pond complex. This forested corridor enables some species to disperse into or through the area. The School House Pond complex is connected to other lands of USFWS so the wildlife corridor is quite extensive. This parcel is a critical link in keeping the different conservation lands connected. The vernal pools on the property and surrounding uplands are important to amphibians some of which are state species of concern. The unfragmented forest of this parcel, the stream draining School House Pond, and the rapidly draining soils work together to protect the water quality of the Coastal Ponds.
The forest is dominated by Oak with some white pine, and an understory of mountain laurel and huckleberry. Mountain laurel occurs in dense well-developed stands distributed throughout the property. The laurel stands are impressive, many of them so dense that they are impenetrable. The forest supports a diversity of wildlife species such as nesting songbirds, raptors (red-tailed hawks, great horned owls), small mammals (shrews, voles, squirrels, etc.), (red and grey fox, coyotes, fisher, white-tailed deer), amphibians (red-backed salamanders), and invertebrates.
The property offers tremendous up and down hiking through the geological record of an 18 thousand-year history. The stands of Mountain Laurel are spectacular. There are ocean views from places on the property.
The property can be accessed off of Kings Factory Road where a small parking lot leads to a hiking trail.