Pigeon Swamp is a 135-acre preserve in Lebanon, CT, that was given to Joshua’s Trust by Dr. Mervyn H. Little and his wife, Dr. Olga A. G. Little. The Littles were medical pioneers in Eastern Connecticut. Their concern for the protection of the land and their friendship with two long-time Trust members, Dr. Sam Dodd and Dr. Frank Bird, led to their generous gift of this preserve in 1966.
The name Pigeon Swamp refers to the passenger pigeons whose flocks once filled the skies before they became extinct. They came to the 40-acre marsh and feasted on beech nuts, abundantly provided by the adjacent thick stands of American beech trees.
The property hosts second-growth deciduous forest, old pasture and shallow emergent marsh. Three miles of level trails take the visitor through a variety of habitats ( marsh, swamp, forest, and old pasture). Of historic interest are the remains of an old house foundation, mill, dam and sluice on Pigeon Swamp Brook. A grist mill was in operation there as early as 1777.
Lebanon’s Big Pond, featured on our properties page, is a 23 acre pond, whose shoreline forms the north-east border of Pigeon Swamp preserve.
The preserve is being managed primarily as wildlife habitat, and ongoing restoration of old pastures may be observed. In Southern New England, early succession habitat is one of the most unusual habitats. Here you will observe pioneering species that support wildlife, like fruit-bearing red cedar and black cherry trees, groves of staghorn sumac and patches of speckled alders.
Location: Lebanon, CT. Entrances from Pigeon Swamp Road and Babcock Hill Road. Extends slightly into Windham.
Donors: Members of the Little Family Partnership
Acres: 135 protected acres.
Stewards: Joseph Charron, Marc Lang
Trail Map: Click here for the trail map. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view or print our trail maps.
Directions: From the north (Willimantic), take Route 32 south to the intersection of Route 203, turn right (west into the village) go straight up the Hill onto Machine Shop Hill Road, to the first left, Pigeon Swamp Road, just beyond the firehouse. Follow the road to the end, where there is room for several cars to park. You will see the sign for the entrance to the Preserve.