Originally a forest inhabited by Abenakis, this land now comprising Scowen Park was partly cleared in the early 19th century for settlement. Over the years, a sugar camp was built in the maple grove high on the ridge. Blackberries grew abundantly. Below, a house and barn stood, while cattle grazed in the pasture nearby.
In 1980, the land was bought by prominent businessman and Townships historian Philip Scowen, and his wife, Eulah (Reed), residents of North Hatley. Eulah was a descendant of the Reeds, early settlers who built houses and mills in this area once known as Reedsville. Soon after buying the land, Philip and Eulah donated it to North Hatley and Hatley Township for recreational use by citizens and to preserve it as a green space in the center of the growing village.
After 30 years of sitting vacant a solution was found by involving the Massawippi Conservation Trust.
In 2015 Margot Heyerhoff, in her role as Chair of the Massawippi Foundation, spoke with Annis Karpenko, who is a grand-daughter of the late Philip Scowen. They agreed that the land be donated to the Massawippi Conservation Trust so that it could be used as originally intended. So much time had gone by that the original people involved in the donation, the Mayors and citizens of the time who knew the intention of the donation were no longer around.
After a period of negotiation which included reserving a parcel of 1 acre for the possibility of a future Fire Hall, the other 34 acres were transferred to the Massawippi Conservation Trust in 2016. We would like to thank the members of the family (Martha Maksym and Annis Karpenko in particular) and municipal councils who took part in the negotiations. The park officially opened on Thanksgiving weekend in 2016 with initial public trails and many Scowen family members present. These were the first trails built by the Trust on conserved lands. Now with 4 ½ kilometers of trails at Scowen Park they are enjoyed for hiking and snowshoeing on a year round basis.
The park is maintained by the Massawippi Conservation Trust. One hundred trees and shrubs were planted by the local school children in 2019 at Capleton Road to provide a shaded path from the road to the forest. In July 2021, we plan to have an event open to all at the park to celebrate our 10th anniversary. The official announcement will be posted on our website and Facebook page, as well as in our newsletter.
The park is a generous legacy from the Scowen family for all to enjoy and work together to protect. We thank Philip and Eulah Scowen for their visionary donation and we thank their descendants for their role for making this park what it is today.
*P.S. The trails need ongoing maintenance. You can continue to support them through your donations.
Contact us at [email protected] for more information.