Salem Woods

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Salem Woods also known as Highland Park.

  • For centuries, this part of Salem was home to Native American Indians. In colonial times, this area was known as Great Pastures and was held as common lands for the pasturage of livestock.
  • Salem Woods (also known as Highland Park) today comprises 160 acres of diverse uplands, freshwater marshes, open fields, and running water. In combination with the Forest River Conservation Area and the 70-acres Thompson's Meadow marsh, this complex ecosystem is host and home to more than 150 species of birds, dozens of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. There are many varieties of flowers, trees and plants here as well. The Forest and South rivers flow out of this woods and wetlands into the Salem Sound.
  • In 1906, the city of Salem purchased this land from the Great Pasture Company to use as a park. It was given the name "Highland Park." There was more acreage to the park at the time, and several portions of the land were later transferred for other use. One large transfer was in 1932 to make the Municipal Golf Course.
  • The Friends of Salem Woods is a non-profit organization that helps keep the woods clean, leads guided tours and has created a Trail Guide to the woods.
  • For almost 20 years and into 2000, there was an initiative by some to make the golf course from the nine-hole Olde Salem Greens into an 18 hole course. The vote in 2003 put this to rest as city councilors passed a new zoning ordinance for the area, to prohibit development of Salem Woods.

See Also

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Salem Woods

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Thompson's Meadow

Flora of the Salem Woods by Jeanne Stella, 2003

Salem Woods Friends of the Salem Woods website (With maps that can be printed)

Salem Woods in pictures by Jeanne Stella, 2005

Plants of Salem Woods Inventory by Jeanne Stella, 2003

Salem Woods Salem Web site

Highland Park, Salem Woods and Olde Salem Greens : information about the history, finance, ecology, plant and wildlife Friends of Salem Woods, 2003.

"Golf course plan casts shadow over Salem Woods" Boston Globe, June 13, 2002. p.N6

"Trees win out over expanded golf course" Salem News, Dec. 18, 2003. p. A1

The Case Against Golf Course Expansion and For Preservation of Salem Woods by Burke, Luecke, Young, 2003

"Salem marsh faces uncertain future after centuries of exploitation" Salem News, June 12, 2007, p. B5