Stephen C.L. Delano Memorial Forest, Rochester, MA
Sarah R. Delano, 1985
This 110 acre property once served as a woodlot for the Delano family from 1850 until 1985 at which time it was gifted to the Wildlands Trust (formerly known as the Plymouth County Wildlands Trust.) Two large forest harvests, one in 1965 and again in 1970 resulted in 70,000 board feet of white pine and mixed oak.
The Stephen C.L. Delano Memorial Forest is located in the east central portion of the town of Rochester. Not unlike so many towns in southeastern Massachusetts the town of Rochester is experiencing ever-expanding development that threatens the rural landscape and biodiversity of this beautiful town. Farming once dominated the agricultural industry here as evidenced by old
farms and stone walls dotting the landscape. Although farming is still a way of life for many, cranberry bogs are becoming a common agricultural industry. Rochester still maintains its rural character today with scenic vistas of wide open spaces; meadows, woodlands, old cart paths, cranberry bogs, ponds and farmlands.
A memorial stone placed near a path in the northeast sector of this memorial forest bears the following inscription: “Stephen C. L. Delano, 1911-1983. This woodland was his.” Open cart paths and a gentle terrain make this an enjoyable preserve for a walk, especially for a family outing. A two mile loop trail wanders through the uplands and travels along the Sippican River,
passing several interesting woodland swamps, which are also vernal pools. These shallow depressions support red maples, highbush blueberries, ferns, swamp azaleas and a variety of other species.
Although there are currently no trails that lead to the Sippican River, side trails afford views of the river, and during dry seasons, you can walk to the river’s edge. The uplands are forested by white pines, occasionally studded with beech, oak, and holly. The forest floor is thick with young pine saplings. Near the river, the forest quickly transitions into one of mixed hardwoods. You
will also find beech, black gum, yellow birch, witch hazel, American holly, sassafras, and winterberry here.
At the end of your walk, continue on Mary’s Pond Road for a visit to the historic East Over Reservation.