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Massachusetts State Parks

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USA Parks
Berkshires Region
Becket State Forest
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Becket State Forest, located in western Massachusetts, offers a serene and enchanting experience amidst its dense woodlands and scenic natural beauty. The forest is characterized by miles of well-maintained hiking trails that wind through a diverse landscape of towering pine and oak trees, tranquil ponds, and bubbling streams. With its peaceful atmosphere and abundant wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and a myriad of bird species, Becket State Forest is the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
History of the Area
Becket State Forest, located in Becket, Massachusetts, is a popular recreational area with a rich history. Here is an overview of its historical background:

1. Native American Presence:.
Before European settlers arrived, the region around Becket State Forest was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Mahican and Mohawk peoples. They used the land for hunting, fishing, and agriculture.

2. European Settlement:.
In the early 18th century, European settlers began to establish small communities in the area. Becket was incorporated as a town in 1765, although it was initially called Number 4 Township.

3. Logging Era:.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Becket area experienced significant logging operations. The abundant forests attracted lumber companies seeking timber for construction and other purposes. This marked a period of extensive deforestation in the region.

4. Creation of the State Forest:.
Concerned about the rapid loss of forested land in Massachusetts, state officials began purchasing parcels of land for conservation purposes. In 1932, Becket State Forest was officially established as a state-owned forest reserve, covering an area of over 12,000 acres.

5. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC):.
As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a crucial role in the development of Becket State Forest. CCC workers were responsible for constructing roads, trails, picnic areas, and other recreational facilities within the forest, leaving a lasting legacy of their work.

6. Recreational Activities:.
Becket State Forest has always been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities such as camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, and wildlife observation. The forest offers several recreational facilities, including campgrounds, picnic areas, and a swimming area at Center Pond.

7. Conservation and Protection:.
Over the years, Becket State Forest has been a focus of conservation efforts aimed at protecting its natural resources and wildlife habitat. Forest management practices have been implemented to ensure sustainable use of the forest while preserving its ecological integrity.

Becket State Forest continues to serve as a beloved recreational space, providing opportunities for residents and visitors to experience the beauty of nature and connect with the region's history.
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1. Wildcat Trail: This 2-mile trail is a moderately challenging hike that takes you through dense forest and rocky terrain, offering glimpses of local wildlife such as deer and wild turkey.

2. Benton Pond Loop: A relatively easy 3-mile loop around the scenic Benton Pond, this trail offers beautiful views of waterfowl on the pond with several spots for picnicking or fishing along its banks.

3. Hamilton Brook Trail: Following alongside Hamilton Brook for about two miles before looping back to your starting point, this moderate-level hiking path provides stunning sights of cascading waters in springtime while also passing by old stone walls from historic farmsteads.

4. Becket Quarry Trails: These trails wind their way through an abandoned granite quarry site which has been reclaimed by nature over time; hikers can explore various paths leading up to panoramic viewpoints overlooking large rock formations left behind after mining operations ceased years ago.

5. Yokum Ridge Pathway: An intermediate level trek stretching approximately four miles round trip across varied terrains including steep inclines towards ridge tops providing breathtaking vistas encompassing surrounding forests and hillsides.

6. Finerty Pond Circuit: Approximately three:and-a-half mile long circuitous route encircling serene Finerty pond amidst lush greenery making it perfect spot for bird watching enthusiasts who may encounter species like kingfishers or herons during migratory seasons.

7. Burgoyne Pass Track: This strenuous five-miler traverses rugged landscapes ascending Burgoyne pass where one gets rewarded with sweeping panoramas extending till distant horizon at summit's peak.

8. Washington Mountain Marsh Nature Walk: A gentle half mile walk ideal suited families small children elderly visitors alike meandering marshlands teeming diverse flora fauna.

9. Chester-Blandford State Forest Link-Up: For those seeking longer adventure linking Chester Blandford state forest via series interconnected tracks totaling nearly ten miles length presents formidable challenge seasoned hikers.

10. Appalachian Trail Section: A small section of the famous long-distance trail passes through Becket State Forest, providing a challenging but rewarding hike with stunning views and diverse wildlife sightings.

11. Benton Brook Pathway: This two-mile pathway follows course Benton brook offering tranquil ambience amidst rustling leaves babbling waters ideal for those seeking solitude in nature's lap.

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Area Campgrounds
Camp Overflow
PO Box 645
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Mountain View Campground Inc
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Walker Island Camping
27 Route 20
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Laurel Ridge Camping Area
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Fernwood Forest Campground, Inc.
350 Longview Avenue
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Summit Hill Campground
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Berkshire Park Camping Area
350 Harvey Road
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Northampton / Springfield KOA Holiday
139 South Road
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1. Start by heading east on I:90 E (Massachusetts Turnpike) if you are coming from the west or head west on I-90 W if you are coming from the east.
2. Take exit 3 toward US:20/Lee/Becket and merge onto MA-102 W towards Lee.
3. Continue driving for about 4 miles until you reach a roundabout; take the second exit to stay on MA:102 W/Main St.
4. Drive straight through another roundabout after approximately 0.6 miles, staying on Main St./MA:8 S/US Route 7 & Mass Pike Connector Road/Mass Pike Exit Ramp/Berkshire Mall Rd/Ridgeway Ave/Silver Lake Blvd/W Park Street Extension/Tyler Street Ext/Pittsfield-Lenox Road/U.S.Route.
5. Continue following signs for U.S.Route.
6. Take a slight right onto Jacobs Ladder Trail/Jacobs Ladder Scenic Byway after around half a mile.
7. After roughly two more miles, turn left onto George Carter Rd where there will be signage indicating Becket State Forest is ahead.
8. Drive along this road for about one mile until reaching your destination at Becket State Forest located off George Carter Rd in Chester Township, Massachusetts.

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Massachusetts State Parks