Connecticut State Forests - Seedling Letterbox Series
Clues for Nye-Holman State Forest
Nye-Holman State Forest -
the 18th State Forest
The letterbox for Nye-Holman State Forest has been removed for maintenance. The clues are still available because the walk to the letterbox location is easy and can be enjoyed by groups with children.
Nye-Holman State Forest: This forest came to the State in early 1931 through a gift from Mrs. Alice Holman Hall of South Willington, CT. The forest is named for her great-grandfather, Samuel Nye and her father, William Holman. Mr. Nye received 500 acres in 1719, when Tolland was set off from Windsor. 186 acres of this land became part of Nye-Holman State Forest, which now totals 818 acres in Tolland, Willington and Ellington.
Samuel Nye’s home was located on Tolland Stage Road, just downhill from Pero Road. Today the foundation remains, but can be difficult to locate. The Nye Holman Forest once was the headquarters for the Connecticut State Forests Eastern District, with the offices located in a house built by William Holman in 1840. Today, only the foundation remains. It, too, is difficult to find.
In 1931 a transplant nursery was established. The nursery grew up to as many as 225,000 young trees. The nursery operation ended in 1947. A legacy of this nursery is the variety of plantations and plantings in the forest near route 74.
The Willimantic River flows through the forest. The section of the river through the forest is a trout management area restricted to catch and release fly-fishing. There is also an archery range in the forest.
Description: The letterbox lies hidden off of Route 74 on Plantation Road. The walk is a short distance and suitable for children with close supervision. Dogs should be on a leash and under control as to not disturb wildlife (especially important during nesting and brooding season). It is recommended that you wear blaze orange during hunting season (October - December). If you have an Audubon Field Guide to New England Flora and Fauna it may prove helpful as well as some information on glacial geology.
Clues: Your starting point is in Tolland at the junction of State Route 74 and Interstate 84 where SR 74 crosses over I 84. Head east on SR 74 for two-tenths of a mile and take the first left onto Pero Road. Bear right onto Plantation Road before the 'dead end' sign. Proceed downhill following the road around a corner to the right and then left for one-tenth of a mile. On your left you'll notice a stand of hardwoods (maples, hickories and ash) growing in and around a crater. [About 150 feet past the crater is a place to park on the right side of the road.] So, how did this crater get here? Could it be from a glacier? Was it formed by removing gravel? you may want to find out what an 'esker' is. As you walk into the crater, you'll notice the stones are round and smooth. It's fairly moist in the lowest part of the crater some of the year judging from the jewel weed, jack-in-the-pulpit, skunk cabbage, ferns and honeysuckle growing there. You'll notice a rock anomaly near the center of the crater floor. The letterbox is hidden here.
If you want to explore this section of the Willimantic River head out to SR 74 on Plantation Road and look to your left for a path with a boardwalk down to the river. If the water is low enough you'll see soft armourment, bioengineering techniques and fluvial geomorphic design principles. For more information contact Brian Murphy at 860-295-9523. This habitat improvement enhances the fishing in the Cole W. Wilde Trout Management Area.
Learn more, earn a patch: This is one of 32 letterbox hikes that are being sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Division of Forestry. When you have completed 5 of these sponsored letterbox hikes, either from this series, or the Centennial series, you are eligible to earn a commemorative State Forest Centennial patch.
When you have completed five of these hikes, please contact us and let us know what sites you have visited, what your stamp looks like and how we may send you your patch. We will verify your visits and send the patch along to you. Contact DEEP Forestry
Content last updated July 2020