Tom Rush Forest

An orchard of 4 year old American Chestnut trees
Fence and signage at Tom Rush Forest Chestnut Orchard

About the Property

The Tom Rush Forest is home to the Forest Society's American Chestnut Orchard, a collaborative community science project with the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). The orchard is part of an effort to restore the American chestnut, after a fungal blight wiped out most mature chestnut trees in North America by 1950. These trees are American chestnuts that have been backcrossed with a Chinese chestnut that is resistant to the blight. They are tended by local Forest Society volunteers and staff. Once they reach breeding maturity, they will be crossbred to help increase the genetic diversity of the most promising blight-resistant strains of American chestnut known to TACF. 

Visitors are welcome at the Tom Rush Forest Chestnut Orchard, accessed off Gregg Hill Road, across from the Deering Community Church, in Deering. Walking to the orchard from Gregg Hill Road involves an 800' uphill walk up a gravel road. An information kiosk about the orchard is found outside the orchard fence. Feel free to open the fence and walk around the chestnut trees, but please don't take leaves and/or fruit, and close the fence gate securely behind you when you leave. There are no trash or bathroom facilities at Tom Rush Forest, so plan ahead and pack out your trash.

Learn more about the American chestnut orchard at Tom Rush Forest, a community science project of the Forest Society, in this article.

The Forest Society primarily manages this property for sustainable forestry, productive wildlife habitat, and other conservation benefits in support of the greater Deering community. While all of our reservations are open to the public, areas of this property may be difficult to access due to a lack of developed recreation features and resources such as signage, parking, established trails, and a detailed Forest Reservation Guide map.

Please see our Visitor Use Guidelines page for a complete list of rules and regulations for Forest Society reservations. 

If you are looking to explore a unique forest in this area that offers a wider array of recreational opportunities, we encourage you to visit any of our “recommended properties nearby” featured below.