Salem Woods/Highland Park

Salem Woods, also known as Highland Park, is a 129 acre forest conservation area bordered by Salem High School, Salem Golf Course (Olde Salem Greens), Swampscott Road, the MBTA railroad track and the Fafard condos and other development.
On a map of Salem, Salem Woods/Highland Park stands out because, at less than a tenth

the size of Lynn Woods it is by far the largest park/conservation area in Salem.

Brief History of the Woods

Salem Woods/Highland Park was part of a much larger parcel of land called the “Great Pasture” that was accumulated and preserved by a handful of prominent Salem residents. In 1906, Salem acquired the land at a discount for a city park.

A Salem Evening News article on September 18, 1906 states: 'The land for park purposes is to be actually purchased by the park commissioners under the park act, and this having once been done, it must be used for park purposes and no other purpose.'

  Over time, almost half of the original 239 acres has been nibbled away for one purpose or another. Pieces have gone to Salem Hospital, the Middle School, the High School, and during the 1930's a big chunk went to build a golf course, Olde Salem Green.

Using the Woods

You reach Salem Woods most conveniently through a trail next to a large wooden sign at the back of the Salem golf course parking lot. There are a series of well marked trails through the park. In addition the Friends of Salem Woods, which advocates for the Woods and helps maintain the trails, often sponsors Woods walks.

Urgent Need to Protect the Woods

Unfortunately the Woods is under attack from golf course proponents who want to expand Salem Golf Course from 9 to 18 holes. This would effectively destroy the remaining forest. Given the relative dearth of conservation land in Salem, the original intent that the entire parcel be a park, and the abundance of golf courses locally, the Friends of Salem Woods is fighting hard against this proposal. We feel that it is time to put what is left of the woods off limits and protect it as a natural woods park forever.



Friends of Salem Woods, Inc., 203 Washington Street, Suite 158, Salem, MA 01970-5010
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