In 1860, the Hebron Marsh was farmland and pasture. The Ash Cottage was part of a large farm tract owned by the Crosby family. In 1935, this property was purchased by the Norton family. In 1979, Hope Norton Iaccaci donated the property in memory of her husband, Paul Thayer Iaccaci. The Sanctuary includes 34 acres on both sides of North Shore Road and contains the only marsh on the lake. This wetland area was formed at the mouth of the Cockermouth River when the lake was dammed.
Mowed trail, 1.1 miles, approximately 1/2 hour
Follow the Beaver Trail into the field. The bluebird houses are popular, although the residents tend to be Tree Swallows rather than bluebirds. To keep the nesting birds at ease, please keep a safe distance from the boxes. Note the varying vegetation. This field contains several swales, which are low-lying areas that tend to be wetter than the surrounding field. Look for different vegetation, such as boneset and other wetland plants, that prefer these wetter areas. The prevalence of mosses and ground pines indicate the acid soil. In spring, look for trout lilies as well as bobolinks and other birds that nest in the field. In summer, an abundance of wildflowers bloom. You can get down to the Cockermouth River, a shallow river with a gravel bottom, in which you can wade. Deer, turkey, and raccoon tracks can often be found by the river, and there is evidence of ambitious beaver activity along the river bend.
Field Adjoining Ash Cottage Lawn
Mowed trail, .4 miles, approximately 15 minutes
Unlike soil managed for farming, this field is not fertilized and is therefore sandy and arid. Common vegetation here includes lichen, British soldier, low bush blueberries, reindeer moss, ground pine, and grape fern. Bluebird houses are provided along the edges.
Trail to Hebron Marsh
Follow the mowed path to the beginning of the trail to the marsh. This short trail descends through an oak forest to the edge of the marsh. Many species of ferns can be found here. Warblers are often found in these woods in the spring, summer, and fall. As you look out over the marsh, listen for the birds that nest here: Pied-billed Grebes, snipe, mallards, and Black Ducks have all been found, as well as muskrat and the occasional moose.