Description - *This information provided by The Connecticut Department of Evironmental Protection*
Mansfield Hollow State Park provides recreational enthusiasts a great place to go. The park hosts a large boat launch that is widely used by residents of Mansfield as well as residents from surrounding areas. The boat launch sits on a large manmade lake that is dammed on one end by the Mansfield Hollow Dam. The dam on average backs up 16 feet of water while the floodgates are open.
The sediments surrounding the area of Mansfield Lake are glacial in origin. They are predominantly sand and gravel that were dropped out from retreating glaciers, and then sorted by moving water. Ranging in size from small, fine-grained quartz and feldspar sands, up to larger rounded clasts, the glacial sediments are economically significant and are quarried for use in construction. Likewise, the open fields within the park and in the surrounding residential area are not smooth and flat, but instead have a wavy appearance. This area is wavy because the glaciers unevenly deposited thick sediment, which was sorted by moving water.
Another glacial feature found in Mansfield Hollow State Park is a pothole. Located along the Nipmuck Trail, off of Chaffeeville Road, the pothole is drilled into schist of the Dudley Formation, a metamorphic rock. A pothole is a smooth, bowl shaped or cylindrical hollow, generally deeper than wide, formed in the rocky bed or a stream by the grinding action of stones whirled around and kept in motion by eddies or the force of the stream current in a given spot. This pothole has an approximate diameter of 3 feet and a depth of about 5 feet. Likewise, this particular pothole has a corkscrew-like appearance, since the glacial melt waters that scoured the schist did so in a drill-like fashion. Locally, potholes are also referred to as Indian Paint Pots, even though they have no correlation to Native Americans.
A pegmatite outcrop lies approximately 30 feet from the pothole on the Nipmuck Trail. Pegmatite is an igneous rock that formed from molten rock buried deep below the surface. Since the molten rock was well insulated beneath the surface, it cooled very slowly, allowing the crystals to grow very large. Pegmatite intrusions usually have the same composition as granite, only coarser. Furthermore, pegmatite intrusions are of great interest to mineral collectors because they may contain a variety of rare minerals. This pegmatite outcrop contains large quartz, feldspar, and mica crystals.
- Boat Launch Ramp, Picnic Tables, Pit Toilets
Recreation - The damming of the Natchaug River by the Army Corps of Engineers has created a 500-acre lake for boating and fishing. No swimming is allowed since part of the lake is used for public water supply.
Boating, Fishing, Car-Top Boating, Hiking, Cross-Country Skiing, Mountain Biking, Field Sports, Picnicking,
Climate - The climate of this state involves a moderate amount of humidity, heat and cold. Summer highs reach 90 degrees F with low temperatures near 65 degrees. Evenings near the water can become cool and light jackets and sweaters are recommended. Winter temperatures average in the mid thirties during the day and in the teens at night. Rarely do temperatures dip to zero, especially in the southern portion of the state, where the water influences the more temperate weather.
From Hartford: take Route 84 east, Exit 68. Route 195 south onto Bassetts Bridge Road. (You will cross Route 44, go through the UCONN campus and past the junction of Route 89 before seeing Bassetts Bridge Road. Bassetts Bridge Road is shortly after Route 89.) Take a left on Bassetts Bridge Road. Park is on your left, off Bassetts Bridge Road.
From Willimantic: Route 195 north to Bassetts Bridge Road. Take a right onto Bassetts Bridge Road. Park is on your left, off Bassetts Bridge Road.