Candlewood Hill Wildlife Management Area State Property

A Connecticut Wildlife Management Area

Candlewood Hill Hiking Trails and InformationT201-acreacre property is located north of I-95, south of Route 184, east of Route 117 and west of Flanders Road. The thin soil on the granite bedrock ridges supports a 44 acre pitch pine-scrub oak barren, one of Connecticut’s largest pitch pine forests. The pitch pine ridge forest is one of Connecticut’s thirteen most imperiled ecosystems. The property features several granite ridges, historic granite quarries, streams, vernal pools, and extensive shrub swamps which are among the most important shrub land habitat for rare moths and butterflies like the buck moth and Gerhard’s underwing.

Acquired in March of 2017 by the State of Connecticut, this project was funded in part by the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program and GOSA as the local “cooperator” donated $117,750. Contributions by GOSA came from member donations, community clubs, local organizations, businesses, and local and national foundations.

The pitch and timber from the Pinus rigida or the pitch pine tree was used for ship building, mine timbers and railroad ties because the wood’s high resin content preserved it from decay. Colonists burned the knots as candles and pine tar and turpentine were extracted.

Property Highlights

– Diverse habitats including rocky ridges, deep ravines, glacial erratics, pitch pine-scrub oak ridge, blueberry and huckleberry understory, deep forest interior habitat, forest edge habitat, extensive wetlands, seeps, shrub swamps, Tier 1 vernal pools, two Class A streams – Hatching House Brook and headwaters of Fort Hill Brook.

– A portion of the ancient Avalonia Shield features several north south rocky ridges and a few east west ridges, deep cliff lined ravines. Glacial activity is apparent on the scarred rock faces and in the form of large erratic boulders.

– Wooded swamps and seeps provide storm water storage, filtration, ground water recharge, and flood control for vulnerable areas downstream.

– The headwaters of Fort Hill Brook and Eccleston Brook are located in the eastern part of the property. Fort Hill Brook flows into Mumford Cove and Eccelston Brook flows into Palmer Cove both are part of Long Island Sound.

– Colonial stone slab bridge crosses Hatching House Brook which flows to the Groton Utilities terminal reservoir system.

– Historic quarries: water filled quarry holes. excavated granite talus slopes, large cut stones with evidence of drilling activities

– Remains of steam driven mechanisms, lifting beams, platforms, coal piles

Trail Map: Under Construction

State of Connecticut rules of use apply

Walking – challenging trails with steep climbs, uneven terrain, and loose gravel

Hiking – 300 foot climbs, multiple rocky ridges, steep ravines, long strenuous trail loops

Mountain Biking – technically difficult

Bird and wildlife viewing – pitch pine- scrub oak forest and shrubby wetland habitat, upland forest, vernal pools and streams

Art opportunities – photography, painting, drawing

Winter activities – snow shoeing on challenging trails

This is an approximate location, there is currently no street address for this property. The map below is a general guide.

Contact us at GOSAmail@gmail.com for tours or directions.

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