Claire Birtz Wildlife Sanctuary

A birds-eye view of The Claire Birtz Wildlife Sanctuary taken by G. L. Sweetnam. For more stunning aerial images of this area, please visit

The trailhead is located off of Rt. 169 (North Woodstock Road) on Tipton Rock Road, in Southbridge. Use GPS address 444 Tipton Rock Road. Please beware that sections of Tipton are impassable! Do not approach from Blackmer Rd. or Lebanon Hill. Take Rt. 169!

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Have a canoe or kayak? You can access Morse Pond from North Woodstock Road (Route 169 - south of Tipton Rock Road intersection and just north of the state line.) Please note that Morse Pond is for non-motorized use only.

The Claire Birtz Wildlife Sanctuary trailhead is located on Tipton Rock Road. The trails wind along the shore of Morse Pond, through stands of beech trees, hemlock, and mixed forest habitats. There are old stone walls and the experience of history and nature at the site is inspiring.

Ms. Claire J. Birtz was an art teacher in the Town of Southbridge school system for many years. Upon her death in February 2000, at the age of 92, Ms. Birtz bequeathed a gift to Southbridge for beautification of the town. One way her gift could be used was to acquire land in order to protect habitat for wildlife. Ms. Birtz supported various conservation organizations during her lifetime. Through a partnership between Opacum Land Trust, The Trustees of the Claire Birtz Estate and The Town of Southbridge, The Claire Birtz Wildlife Sanctuary exemplifies her passion for wildlife and nature. In keeping with Ms. Birtz’ wishes, the property is open to the public for activities that bring people closer to nature, such as bird-watching, painting, & drawing, and kayaking.

This photo of Ms. Birtz is from the 1957 Edition of The Crimson & Gray, the yearbook from Southbridge’s Mary E. Wells High School. Her influence in the school had a lasting effect; Opacum has received several notes from former students, near and far, who remember her kind ways and artful expression.

Thanks to Judy McDonnell & Cassie Ohop for sharing their yearbooks!

You can follow in Ms. Birtz's footsteps by making a difference in your community. Donate now, using the Network for Good

Donate now to the Claire Birtz Property and Trail Maintenance Fund!