It is assumed that Native Americans, while making use of hot springs in the area, were at one time dependent on what is now Mountain Meadow Preserve for hunting, migration, and living space. Due in part to its remote, mountainous location and regional violence related to the French and Indian War (1754–63) this corner of the state was not settled by colonists until relatively late: the mid- to latter part of the 1700s.
The lower slopes were cleared for farming while land higher up was reserved for timber operations. Agriculture was a primary land use for more than 200 years. In the mid-1900s, a gravel mine also operated here.
Victorian-era botanist Grace Greylock Niles (who adopted as her middle name that of Massachusetts’ highest peak) made her home within this ruggedly beautiful environment and spent years wandering the wetlands and forests of this area. Her 1904 book, Bog Trotting for Orchids, enhanced interest in the unique plant life and landforms found here in the Hoosac Valley.