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Massachusetts State Parks

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USA Parks
Eastern Region
Freetown Fall River State Forest
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Slab Bridge Rd.
Assonet, Massachusetts   02702

Phone: 508-644-5522
Just 5 minutes from Fall River and Taunton, and 15 minutes from New Bedford, Freetown State Forest is a vast tract of public land acquired over a twenty year period beginning in the 1930's. Near the main entrance is a day use area, with wading pool, picnic area, fields and restrooms. The remainder of the forest offers 50 miles of unpaved roads and trails. Horseback riders, dog Sledders, mountain bikers, and seasonal motorcycle and snowmobile users are welcome, as are hunters and anglers in season. Rattlesnake Brook, which meanders throughout much of the property, is stocked with brook trout each spring.

Profile Rock, a 50-foot outcropping, shows a profile of what the Wampanoags believe to be Chief Massasoit. The 5,441-acre Forest also includes the 227-acre Watuppa Reservation, which belongs to the Wampanoag Nation, and is the site of annual tribal meetings.
History of the Area
The Freetown Fall River State Forest, located in southeastern Massachusetts, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Here is an overview of its historical significance:

1. Indigenous History: The region where the forest is located was once home to the Wampanoag people for thousands of years. They relied on the forest's resources for hunting, fishing, and gathering.

2. Colonial Era: The area was first settled by English colonists in the 1650s. What became Freetown was originally part of the Plymouth Colony and eventually became one of the earliest towns in Bristol County, Massachusetts.

3. Revolutionary War: During the American Revolution, Freetown played a significant role. The forest served as a hideout for local militiamen known as the "Freetown Daughters of Liberty" who harassed British troops. It is believed that the forest provided shelter to these patriots during their guerrilla actions.

4. Industrialization: In the 19th century, the forest witnessed the rise of industrialization in the region. The area around Fall River was a hub of textile production, with numerous cotton mills and factories. The forest provided wood for fuel and building materials to support this growing industry.

5. Creation of State Forest: In 1959, the Freetown Fall River State Forest was established. It was one of the first state forests in Massachusetts and covers approximately 5,441 acres. The state forest offers recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and picnicking.

6. Preservation Efforts: The forest has endured several ecological challenges, including wildfires and invasive species. However, ongoing conservation efforts have focused on maintaining the forest's natural beauty and protecting its diverse flora and fauna.

The Freetown Fall River State Forest remains a popular recreational destination, attracting nature enthusiasts, hikers, campers, and history buffs who appreciate its rich historical background and natural beauty.
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1. The Healthy Heart Loop: This is a 3-mile trail that's perfect for beginners or those looking to enjoy an easy, leisurely hike through the forest. It features flat terrain and well-marked paths.

2. Profile Rock Trail: A moderate difficulty level trail stretching about 2 miles long which leads hikers up to Profile Rock - a natural rock formation resembling a human face believed by some locals as the image of Chief Massasoit.

3. Wampanoag Path: An approximately 4 mile-long loop with mixed terrains including rocky areas, wetlands and dense woods offering views of local wildlife such as deer, birds and occasionally foxes.

4. Freetown Ledge & Quarry Trails: These trails are more challenging due to steep inclines leading towards old granite quarries featuring panoramic views from atop ledges overlooking southeastern Massachusetts landscape below.

5. The Acushnet Cedar Swamp Nature Trail: About half-a-mile in length but offers unique experience walking on boardwalks over cedar swamps teeming with diverse plant species like ferns, mosses etc., also known for sightings of rare bird species during migration seasons.

6. Bell Rock Road Hiking Trail: Approximately one-and-half-miles long this path takes you along Bell Brook showcasing beautiful waterfalls especially after heavy rains.

7. Blueberry Patch via Watuppa Reservation Connector: This roughly two mile round trip route allows visitors access into blueberry patches where they can pick wild berries during summer season while enjoying scenic vistas around them.

8. Fall River Multi:Use Bike Path: Though primarily used by bikers it's open for hiking too; stretches nearly four miles connecting several parks within Fall River area providing varied landscapes throughout journey.

9. Watupa RailTrail-A relatively flat three:mile stretch suitable even for novice hikers following former railroad tracks passing alongside ponds giving opportunity spot turtles sunbathing at pond edges.

10. Copicut Woods Trail: A 4.5-mile loop trail that takes hikers through a variety of landscapes including forests, wetlands and fields; it is also home to several historical sites such as the Copicut Reservoir.

11. The Freetown-Fall River State Forest Loop: This challenging 7.3 mile-long hike offers an extensive exploration of the forest with opportunities for bird watching, wildlife spotting and enjoying diverse flora throughout different seasons.

12. Bioreserve Blueberry Patch via Bell Rock Road: An easy two miles round trip route leading towards blueberry patches where visitors can enjoy picking wild berries during summer months while taking in surrounding scenic views.

13. Freetown Quarry Ledge Trails: These trails are more suited for experienced hikers due to steep inclines but reward them with panoramic vistas from atop ledges overlooking southeastern Massachusetts landscape below.

14. Watuppa Reservation Connector: Roughly three:miles long this path connects various parks within Fall River area providing varied terrains along journey.

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Located on over 100 wooded lakefront acres, overlooking Ashland State Park. Right out our front door you get to truly enjoy the great outdoors. Easy access to trails for hiking, and an area for swimming. Come and enjoy all that Ashland State Park has to offer, and stay at the Warren Center right next door.
39 miles from park*

Freetown State Forest is located in south-east Massachusetts.From the north: Take Rte. 24 south to exit 10. Bear left onto South Main Street. Turn left at four corners onto Rte. 79 north and right onto Elm Street which then turns into Slab Bridge Road; continue for 1.5 miles to the forest entrance.

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Massachusetts State Parks