Cranberry Bog

Cranberry Bog in the Winter

Brief History

The Cranberry Bog comprises 151 acres of land purchased by the town of Carlisle in 1986. Chelmsford also purchased part of the 310 acres that had been owned by the Lowell Cranberry Co. Cranberries were grown here since 1904. It continues to be an active cranberry bog today.

Interesting Features

Cranberry Bog. Forty acres of the property are devoted to cranberry growing through a lease to Carlisle Cranberries, Inc., owned by Mark Duffy, a local farmer. At present, 19 acres are in active production. Around the perimeter of the cranberry growing area is a series of five educational signs with diagrams that explain a bit about cranberry growing, including the interesting way the reservoirs and dams are used during the cranberry harvest.

Cranberry Bog Harvest

Upper and Lower Reservoirs and River Meadow Brook. Two reservoirs, fed by River Meadow Brook, flank the bogs. They are beautiful ponds that offer great views, particularly in the fall. A series of dams and water control structures are used to control water levels for irrigation and to flood the bog during the harvest. River Meadow Brook flows into Great Brook in the State Park.

Bog House. The four-story Bog House on Curve St. was constructed in 1905 by the original developers of the Cranberry Bog, Warren and James Nickles. Over the years it has been used for cranberry processing, produce storage (e.g., squash), equipment storage, housing for bog managers and other workers, and a dance hall for the bog workers years ago.

Hiking Trails

There is a wonderful system of trails that covers both the Carlisle and Chelmsford Cranberry Bogs. In Carlisle, the most prominent and frequently used “trails” are really the farm roads and dike tops that surround and bisect the agricultural area. These trails are out in the open and provide beautiful vistas across the bogs and reservoirs. Another portion of the Carlisle trail system follows the gas pipeline right-of-way and is mostly wooded. A third portion of the Carlisle trail system follows River Meadow Brook to the southeast after it passes under Curve Street near the Bog House. This part is also wooded. The trails in Chelmsford are mostly through woodland; one portion (leading to Fiske Street) follows a berm that is part of the retention system for the pond in Chelmsford. The Cranberry Bog is one of the most popular walking spots in Town, especially for dog walkers.

When walking near the bog itself, please don’t let children or dogs walk on the bog. Footing can be uncertain, foot traffic can damage the cranberry crop, and agricultural chemicals are periodically used on the crop. Please also refrain from sampling the produce!

Trail maps are available online on the Trails Committee website and can be purchased in hard copy at Town Hall and at Ferns Country Store.

Getting There

The only available parking (and entrances) in Carlisle are along Curve Street. One parking location (4-5 cars) is alongside the 101-year-old Bog House; a second parking area (about 6-10 cars) lies among the trees on the north side of Curve Street just 100 yards from the Bog House.

Planning Documents