Crystal Shores Conservation Area

 20151014 entrance sign landscape 20120403 Crystal_Shores 011.1 110829 sunset by Jack Jackson 

Location: Crystal Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts 01832

Area: 57 acres, 1.32 miles of trails

Parking: On Crystal Street near the trail sign.

 Map N/A

Haverhill’s Newest park, Crystal Shores was purchased in 2011 as part of the effort to create a buffer zone around Crystal lake. While walking through the park, you may find one of New England’s iconic stone walls which indicates that the land was pasture or farm lands in previous centuries. These stone walls are common in New England because the area was originally heavily forested. Early settlers cleared the forests to create those pastures and farms. Unbeknownst to them was that the tree’s roots held back rock below the surface. With the trees removed the rocks slowly “floated” to the surface causing problems for landowners as the stones hurt crops and ruined pastures. With all the stones that they dug up, landowners began to use the stones to create property lines. Eventually the United States expanded westward wand with it they discovered the fertile Great Plains. Most of the farmers in New England abandoned their farms to move to the promising midwest where the geology of the land would not interfere with crop growth. Overtime nature reclaimed its land, and created the New England we know today.
Because the forests here are technically speaking “new”, most of the trees here are not mature or as large as their ancestors. However in Crystal Shores you can find several large American Chestnuts that are 5” in diameter and White Pines that are three feet in diameter. These large trees are unique to this area and can be found in the very south east part of the park. These trees can give you a small glimpse of what the area may have looked like before it was settled. Crystal Shores has a mix of wetlands, streams, hills, and the shoreline. The mixed habitat allows for a diverse range of wildlife. You can find animals such as beavers and otters as well as an abundance of fish and other aquatic life near the shore. There are also a wide variety of waterfowl from Mallards and Canada Geese to Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers.