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dcrlogo.jpgdepartment of Conservation and Recreation
Camp Nihan
Environmental Education Camp

131 Walnut St., Saugus, MA 01906

(781) 231-1203

handicaplogo60.jpgCamp Nihan is handicap accessible

Park Supervisor, Tom Trainor 

Peckham Pond at Camp Nihan

Camp Nihan Environmental Education Camp is an ideal facility for group camping,
hiking and exploring the nearby historic sites of Saugus, Salem, and Boston.
Camp Nihan encompasses sixty five acres of woodland forest, marsh, and a spring fed pond.
The Saugus River flows through the camp property providing ideal habitat for heron and raptors.
A variety of animals inhabit the area; including fox, deer and river otter.
Campers can hike to nearby Breakheart State Reservation 
for swimming, hiking, and Visitor Center services.

Stay at Camp Nihan

To Register for Summer Camp 


Field Trips - by Reservation
See traces of the living things that surround us and man's impact on the land
on this Staff led walk along the Saugus River habitat for a variety of animals.
Wear sturdy footwear, long sleeves, long socks, and long pants.          

Call Camp Nihan to schedule  (781) 231-1203

Programs are Free.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Steady Rain Cancels

For additional information, please call DCR staff  (781) 233 - 0834


About Camp Nihan
Things to know before you go . . . 
Blue Heron at Camp Nihan

* Swimming is NOT permitted at Camp Nihan.

* Camp Nihan is open Friday & Saturday for camping in July and August.

* Camp Nihan is open Thursday, Friday, & Saturday for camping - September to June

* Camp Nihan offers group cabins and group tent sites.
Each group cabin or group tent site must have an adult and/or counselor in attendance.

* Pets are prohibited from Camp Nihan, DCR designated beach areas,
Boston Harbor Islands, and all yurts and cabin camping.

* No biking or mountain biking at Camp Nihan.

* No showers or flush toilets available - portable toilets only.

* Cabins have bunk beds and tables. Linens and eating utensils are not provided.

* No additional tents on cabin sites.

* Cabins have a refrigerator and are heated by pellet stove.

* Cabins offer access to electricity, however, electric wattage is limited
and does not accommodate a heater.

* Electrical service is not sufficiently reliable for use with medical devices and equipment.

Campers can hike to nearby Breakheart State Reservation
for swimming, hiking, and Vistor Center services.

Clarke Cabin at Camp Nihan

Inside Clarke Cabin

Directions to Camp Nihan:

From Rte. 1, Saugus take Route 129 West, Walnut Street towards
The entrance to the Camp will be on your left 2/10ths of a
mile after the first traffic light.
Look for a small green sign.
Continue on
the gravel road and park in the first parking lot or as instructed by DCR staff.
Please drive slowly as children may be in the road.

From Rte. 128 take the Route 1 South, Boston exit
and then follow the directions for Route 1 above.


Lynnfield Cabin at Camp Nihan

Peckham Cabin at Camp Nihan

Camping at Camp Nihan

Camp Nihan is part of Breakheart, and DCR plans is to have more nature-oriented
programs take place in this little know gem, right off Walnut Street in Saugus.
The 65 acres of Camp Nihan offer environmental education to local schools and
non-profit organizations, camping facilities, and hiking trails.  Within its boundaries
are a woodland forest, a riparian marsh and a spring-fed pond.  The Saugus River
flows through the camp, providing the ideal habitat for heron, kingfisher, mallards,
as well as fox, deer, beaver, and river otter.  Geographical remains of the last ice age
includes glacial erratics enormous boulders left perched in odd positions), and
eskers (ridges formed from sediments carried by sub-glacial streams).

Painted Turtle at Camp Nihan

Evidence at Camp Nihan suggests that this was once a Native American campsite.
Often tribes living in this area would spend their summers near the coast and then
move inland during the winter months for protection of the forests.  The Saugus River
provided easy access for them during these seasonal migrations.  Early European
settlers used the area for logging, and built a linen mill on the Saugus River in the late
18th century.  Little remains of its presence except for the second growth of trees and
the overgrown remains of the mill’s dam, jutting out from the river shore.  It is a fine
example of a mortar-less dam, and the importance of water power in New England.


In 1929 the Lynn Council of the Boy Scouts of America purchased the 40 acres of
land from the Welfare Federation. Nihan Reservation, as it was called, was named
after George C. Nihan, a former scout executive and police officer.
A classified ad was placed: “Wanted A Building”.  The next day Henry B. Sprague,
a local banker and philanthropist, offered to provide the funds for a lodge, which
would provide a sheltered spot to serve as a training center and meeting place for
Scouts.  On October 13, 1930, the dedication of Nihan Reservation took place.
Among those attending, was a neighbor, Benjamin N. Johnson, who mentioned that
he owned a great deal of land nearby.  In 1935 he donated the 600 acres of land that
later became Breakheart Reservation.
The Lynn Council of the Boy Scouts of America operated the camp until 1973 when
it was purchased by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), which later
became the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). 



For additional DCR programs and information visit: 

Department of Conservation & Recreation   

Friends of Breakheart Reservation   

Saugus River Watershed Association

Revere Beach Partnership

Friends of Lynn & Nahant Beach

Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation

Friends of Belle Isle Marsh Reservation

Charles River Conservancy   

The Esplanade Association   

Greater Boston New Eng. Mtn. Bike Assoc.   

Friends of the Mystic River   

Mystic River Watershed Association   

Friends of Alewife Reservation

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