A Brief History of Lancaster's Town Forest
In 1946, Arthur W. Blood donated approximately 125 acres, which was added to other Town owned land in the area between Brockelman Road and Old County Road. This is the original Arthur W. Blood Town Forest. Later, another parcel on the westerly side of Brockelman Road was added. This is the Town Forest as it exists today.
When the initial land was acquired there was very little mature growth as the area had been cut over and devastated by the Hurricane of 1938.
Our original Town Forest Committee consisted of George W. Wheelwright, Lester R. Griswold & Paul Steeves. They arranged for the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts to plant 1500 white pine seedlings and the following year 500 red pine seedlings were planted. These trees have grown and filled in all the "bare spots".
During the 1950's the Committee concentrated on measuring the boundaries and improving access roads through the Forest and on Old County Road, which was in poor condition. The Boy Scouts were encouraged to use the Forest for camping. At this time the growth was still not sufficient for timber harvesting. However, the Forest was an attractive place for hiking and horseback riding and was used for nature study for the schools. The entrance stone was erected in 1956 to mark the Wheelwright Entrance.
As the forest grew and matured, some timber cutting occurred and wood was given to the elderly and other townspeople who needed it for heating their homes. The Town DPW helped by maintaining the roads and culverts.
Through the years, the trend has been away from using the Forest as a timber resource. Now we see it primarily as open space for recreation & conservation purposes. As the population of Lancaster continues to increase, the Forest may not be able to maintain its low profile. It may require more protection against inappropriate or destructive activities.