The History Of Smithfield Plantation


Smithfield Plantation is a hundred acre parcel of town owned land located at the corner of the old Libby Road and the Huntington Hill Road. Originally recognized as a unique piece of property in the middle 1970's, it became permanently protected by an ordinance voted on in 1989. It was first used mainly for educational purposes as a nature /conservation center dedicated to advancing a hands-on science curriculum by the Litchfield schools.
Many local groups and organizations, such as the 4-H Clubs, Senior Citizens, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Eagles Scouts have also used and improved the area, with various approved projects.
There has been ever increasing activity at Smithfield Plantation with the Board of Trustees encouraging various nature activities, projects, and workshops. This spring the Smithfield Plantation Trustees partnered with the Litchfield Schools and Project Learning Tree (part of the Maine Tree Foundation) to train local educators and volunteers in various ways to use Smithfield Plantation for educational purposes.
In 2001 a new trail was built through a grant from the Department of Conservation, with help from the Conservation Corps. and volunteers. Then a new trail was created which follows along a beautiful stone wall and then connects to the old trail. Smithfield Plantation has recently become a favorite walking area of many local citizens.
There is a natural amphitheater at Smithfield Plantation. In 1995 Eagle Scout Darren Collins, with his Boy Scout Troop, created benches, and a podium at the amphitheater. It was used for several years as a “classroom” by Litchfield students. Darren and several of the people who originally helped make the benches refurbished them last summer.  Also, a new trail facility was added to the Amphitheater area.
In 2008 Smithfield trustees wrote for and received grants for a forestry plan for the area and for a Safari in a Box for educational purposes.  This can be borrowed by any group using it for educational purposes - see chairman or town office.
The Smithfield Plantation Trustees are currently working on getting a maintenance and handicap accessibility route to the amphitheater.  In addition to the grants the trustees are also in contact with Exxon Mobile Pipeline Co., which has expressed an interest in possible financial support for some of our projects.

source: Betty Jo Wade