Squam Farm

Sheep Squam Nov 2012 001

Squam Farm consists of nine separate parcels totaling 210 acres that have been pieced together over the last twenty years through the hard work and generosity of a number of individuals and organizations. These properties are directly contiguous with the Foundation’s 294 acre Squam Swamp property to the north.

In addition to being an ideal home for deer and rabbits, Squam Farm is most notable as the home of our sheep flock and our ongoing research into using sheep as a tool to help restore the island’s rare grasslands. The sheep were brought to Squam Farm in 2005 with the goal of assessing the effectiveness of grazing as a management tool for restoring and maintaining grassland habitat. Simply stated, the research is designed to determine what the sheep will eat, what they won’t eat and the effects on the terrain by having the sheep present. The goal is to convert the knowledge gained from this research to practical applications on various Foundation properties. For more information about our sheep grazing project and the research done at Squam Farm please click here.

The property consists of approximately 200 acres and is circled by a 1.5 mile trail over dirt roads and paths. Squam Farm was formerly used for agricultural purposes, so it is mostly meadows and fields unlike the surrounding areas which are thickly treed. A walk through Squam Farm will showcase its great views, rolling terrain and unique woodlands.

Squam Farm is accessed via Squidnet Road off of Quidnet Road. From the Rotary, follow Milestone Road ¼ mile and turn left onto Polpis Road. Follow Polpis Road 6 miles and turn left on Quidnet Road. Take the first left onto Squidnet Road and follow it approximately 1 mile to the large parking area at the end. Visitors should enter through the gate located on the left and not enter the property through the gate on the right. The large barn and the area around it are off limits to visitors.

Download Trail GuideClick here for a pdf of our Squam Farm trail guide; printed copies are also available at the trailhead and at the Foundation Office (118 Cliff Road)

Download Trail Guide

Much of the upland areas in Squam Farm have been mowed by a previous owner. These sites provide excellent examples of the process of vegetative succession: the change in plant species composition over time, where one natural community slowly replaces another until a stable system develops. Mowed meadows on the property currently support an abundance of grasses and perennial wildflowers such as ox-eye daisy, yarrow, hawkweed, and pasture thistle. However, interspersed among the grasses are low shrubs and vines including beaked hazelnut, bayberry, fox grape, and northern arrowwood. If annual mowing were to cease in these areas, they would quickly revert to shrub thickets – the next, intermediate stage of plant succession. In time, seedlings of taller tree species would establish themselves and eventually grow to out-shade the shrubs, thus making way for a hardwood forest community to develop.

The existing hardwood forests on this property contain 40 to 50-foot high stands of black tupelo, red maple, sassafras, red oak, white oak, and American beech trees. Forests such as this are relatively rare on Nantucket. Settlers that arrived in the early 1600’s reported that the island was covered with large trees. However, this quickly changed as they were harvested for home construction, ship building, and firewood. Large areas were also cleared for growing crops and use as pasture land, resulting in the depletion of nutrients from the shallow soils. Since the decline and eventual elimination of livestock grazing in the late 1800’s, taller shrubs have gradually become established in many parts of the island. The Foundation has been experimenting with the use of sheep grazing at Squam Farm as a means of preventing shrub encroachment into some of the open fields on the property.

Purchased by NCF; includes the fee interest in the restricted property listed as No. 188
Nantucket Land Council, Inc.
Nantucket Land Council, Inc.
Purchased by NCF from the Nantucket Land Council
Gloria J. Grimshaw (this 9.4 acre property is included in No. 202)