Ralph Hill Conservation Area, Billerica
The Town of Billerica and SVT collaboratively manage the Vietnam Veterans Park and Ralph Hill Conservation Area.
Vietnam Veterans Park was the first park in the United States dedicated to Vietnam Veterans.
The Middlesex House of Corrections formerly used the upper part of the property as a working farm that provided dairy products and vegetables to the prison.
Two of SVT’s parcels here are separated by the Concord River: Ralph Hill Wood Lot sits on the west side of the river and Ralph Hill Homestead sits on the east. Dr. Charles Stearns donated these two parcels to SVT in 1989 and 1990. He named them after an ancestor who farmed the land in the 17th century. In 1991, Dr. Stearns' son, Jonathan, donated the small island midstream to SVT as well.
The lower portion of the conservation area is characterized by a large area of white pine/oak forest that may provide suitable habitat for interior-nesting birds. The topography is varied, with high ridges and a steep slope down to the riverbank. The conservation area has considerable aesthetic appeal, with attractive river views and exposed bedrock formations.
Also featuring prominently on the property are Winning Pond and a large beaver pond. Wetlands areas are located east of the beaver pond along Route 3 and just north of the larger portion of Ralph Hill Woodlot. Two vernal pools are also located on the property.
- Approximately 2,000 feet of frontage along the Concord River is part of the federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers corridor. The large rock outcroppings and dramatic slopes down to the river are especially scenic.
- Ralph Hill Homestead is a mixed pine and oak forest that includes white pines planted by Dr. Stearns’ father.
- The southern portion of Ralph Hill Homestead skirts private property and leads to a grassy area and beach (with canoe access) owned by the Town of Billerica.
- The large beaver pond on the Town’s land was once an active cranberry bog.
- Vietnam Veterans Park includes recreation areas featuring a soccer complex, a radio control flyer area, a BMX (bike) racetrack, a children’s play area, and an equestrian area.
Farm Road, Billerica, MA
From Route 3 in Billerica, take Exit 28. Follow Treble Cove Road toward Carlisle for 0.5 mile. The entrance to the recreation area is on your left. Access to the trails is at the far right of the soccer fields.