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Connecticut State Parks

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River Valley Region
Nye-Holman State Forest
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Nye-Holman State Forest: This forest came to the State in early 1931through a gift from Mrs. Alice Henry 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 down hill 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.
History of the Area
Nye-Holman State Forest is located in the northeastern part of Connecticut, near the town of Voluntown. The forest encompasses an area of approximately 3,000 acres and offers a range of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, camping, and fishing. The history of Nye-Holman State Forest dates back many years, and it has undergone various transformations over time.

Originally, the land that now makes up Nye-Holman State Forest was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Mohegan and Nipmuc tribes. These indigenous peoples utilized the forest for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources. They had a deep connection with the land and its natural resources.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, European settlers began to colonize the area and exploit the forest's resources for lumber and farming. The land was cleared for agriculture, but also provided timber for construction and fuel. Small villages and farms dotted the landscape, and remnants of old stone walls can still be seen within the forest today, remnants of this agricultural past.

However, as the industrial revolution unfolded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the forest's economic importance shifted. The growth of urban centers created a demand for wood products, and the Nye-Holman area became a timber resource. Logging operations became prominent, and the forest was intensely harvested.

In the early 20th century, however, a recognition of the importance of preserving natural landscapes and the need for public spaces led to the establishment of state forests in Connecticut. The Nye-Holman State Forest was officially established in 1937. It was named after Thomas Henry Holman, a prominent Connecticut botanist, and William Nye, who served as Connecticut's state forester and played a key role in the development of forestry in the state.

Since its establishment, Nye-Holman State Forest has undergone various management practices to maintain its health and preserve its natural resources. Today, the forest remains an important natural area within Connecticut, offering opportunities for outdoor activities and serving as a habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has focused on maintaining the forest's ecosystem through sustainable forestry practices, controlling invasive species, and promoting wildlife conservation. These efforts ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and resources of Nye-Holman State Forest.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS web page to learn more.
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1. Blue-Blazed Nipmuck Trail: This is a 6-mile long trail that runs through the forest, offering hikers scenic views of mixed hardwood and coniferous trees.

2. Yellow Dot Loop Trail: A shorter looped path within the park which covers about 3 miles, perfect for beginners or those looking for a quick hike.

3. Red Cross-Country Skiing Trails: These trails are designed specifically for cross-country skiing but can also be used by hikers during non-winter months.

4. White Markers Pathway: An easy-to-follow pathway marked with white markers leading to various picnic spots in the forest area.

5. Green Nature Walks Route: Ideal route if you're interested in bird watching as it passes through several habitats attracting different species of birds.

6. Tolland Turnpike Connector Trail: Connects directly from Tolland turnpike road into deeper parts of Nye:Holman State Forest providing access to other hiking routes inside this state reserve.

7. Brookside Walking Track: Follow along side brooks and streams giving an opportunity to enjoy water bodies while walking.

8. Wildlife Observation Point Paths: Short paths branching off main trails lead towards wildlife observation points where one might spot deer, foxes etc., especially at dawn or dusk.

9. Mountain Biking Routes: Certain sections have been designated safe & suitable terrain:wise for mountain biking enthusiasts.

10. Horse Riding Tracks: Some wider tracks allow horse riding under certain conditions; these may not always be open depending on weather/seasonal factors.

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Area Campgrounds
Sun Valley Beach Club
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Mineral Springs Family Campground
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Brialee RV & Tent Park Inc
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Nickerson Park Campground
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Charlie Brown Campground
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Peppertree Camping
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Beaver Pines Campground
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Chamberlain Lake Campground
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Roaring Brook Cooperative Campground
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1. Start by heading onto I:84 E if you are coming from Hartford or Waterbury, or I-84 W if you are traveling from Manchester or Willimantic.
2. Take exit 69 and merge onto CT:74 toward Tolland/Mansfield.
3. Continue on CT:74 for approximately 4 miles until you reach a roundabout intersection with Merrow Road (CT Route 195).
4. At the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on CT Route 195 South towards Mansfield Center/Storrs.
5. Follow this road for about half a mile before turning left onto Bassetts Bridge Road/Chaffeeville Road (also known as Windham County Rd #32).
6. Drive along Bassetts Bridge Road/Chaffeeville Road for around two miles until reaching an intersection with Warrenville Road/Windham County Rd #31.
7 Turn right at this junction and continue driving southbound on Warrenville road for another mile.

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Connecticut State Parks