Hager Park is another one of those places I’ve driven by countless times without realizing what’s there.

Located in Westminster, Mass., it’s a 75-acre piece of town-owned land with a few trails winding through it. There’s a small parking area on the east side of Route 140, about a quarter mile south of the Route 2A intersection. It’s marked by a fairly bland sign that gives no hint of what’s there.

There are no maps, but the trails are named. I took something called the Perimeter Trail to the Rambler Trail and then back along the Crossover Trail back. I didn’t come across any spectacular views, no picturesque gushing waterfalls.

What did impress me was the collection of trees. Beautiful, towering specimens of hemlock, maple, birch, ash, and oak. I regretted not bringing a field guide for trees – it would have been a great place for some refresher study.

There was plenty of Mountain Laurel and Moosewood in the understory, and American Chestnut.

At one time this must have been a fairly extensive stand of chestnut, because there are young saplings sprouting all over the place. The tragedy is that most of them never mature. The blight that killed off the chestnuts during the last century is still doing its mischief.

I did find one encouraging sign. It looked as though at least one was well on its way to maturing. It was a good 50 feet tall. Could this be one of the rare “survivors?”

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