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Massachusetts State Parks

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USA Parks
Connecticut River Valley Region
New Salem State Forest
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New Salem State Forest, located in Massachusetts, offers a peaceful escape with its picturesque natural beauty and abundant recreational opportunities. Nestled amidst the scenic Quabbin Reservoir watershed, this forest encompasses over 1,100 acres of rolling hills, dense woodlands, and shimmering ponds. Its well-maintained trails wind through a diverse array of ecosystems, including towering pine and oak trees, serene wetlands, and enchanting meadows. Whether hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding, visitors can explore the forest's tranquil surroundings while encountering various wildlife species and breathtaking vistas along the way. With camping facilities, picnic areas, and even opportunities for hunting and fishing, New Salem State Forest provides a haven where nature enthusiasts can revel in its wonders and embrace the serenity of the outdoors.
Nature of the Area
New Salem State Forest is a serene and diverse natural area offering a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. Spanning over 7,600 acres of land, the forest encompasses rolling hills, pristine lakes, and dense forests, creating a picturesque landscape that is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its vast network of hiking trails, visitors can explore the forest's rich biodiversity, spotting a variety of flora and fauna along the way, including majestic oak and pine trees, vibrant wildflowers, and numerous bird species. A true haven for outdoor recreation, New Salem State Forest offers opportunities for camping, fishing, picnicking, and wildlife observation, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of this remarkable natural gem.
History of the Area
The New Salem State Forest is located in central Massachusetts and spans across the towns of New Salem, Wendell, and Shutesbury. The area where the state forest is situated has a rich history that dates back to colonial times.

In the early 18th century, the land belonged to Native American tribes, primarily the Nipmucs, who used the area for hunting, fishing, and agriculture. However, as European settlers began to move into the region, conflicts arose over land ownership and the Native Americans were displaced.

In the late 18th century, the area now known as New Salem was incorporated as the town of Prescott. However, due to financial difficulties and difficulties with the land, the town was later dissolved. In 1794, the region was again reorganized and incorporated as the town of New Salem.

The New Salem State Forest has its origins in the early 20th century. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration initiated the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as part of the New Deal program. The CCC aimed to provide employment to young men and revitalize the nation's forests.

One of the projects undertaken by the CCC was the creation of the New Salem Forest. From 1933 to 1940, CCC workers cleared the land, constructed roads and trails, built picnic areas and campgrounds, and planted trees. The workers also developed recreational facilities such as swimming ponds and ski slopes.

The forest was officially established as the New Salem State Forest in 1941, and it has been under the management of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation ever since. Over the years, additional land has been acquired, expanding the forest's total area to around 7,800 acres.

The New Salem State Forest offers various recreational opportunities for visitors, including camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. It also provides education and research opportunities, showcasing the importance of forest conservation and preservation.
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1. Metacomet-Monadnock Trail: This long-distance hiking trail stretches over 114 miles, passing through the New Salem State Forest. It offers stunning views of natural landscapes and wildlife.

2. Robert Frost Trail: Named after the famous poet who lived in Massachusetts for a time, this scenic path winds its way across various terrains including forests, fields and wetlands within the state forest area.

3. Bear's Den Falls Loop: A short but steep hike that leads to an impressive waterfall known as Bear's Den Falls; it is particularly beautiful during spring when water flow is at its peak.

4. The Quabbin Reservoir Trails: These trails offer panoramic views of one of largest man-made public water supplies in United States - The Quabbin reservoir which borders part of New Salem State Forest.

5. Ruggles Pond Loop: An easy loop around Ruggles pond offering serene waterside scenery with opportunities for bird watching.

6. Skyline Trail: A challenging route featuring rocky terrain & elevation changes providing breathtaking vistas from several lookout points along ridge lines.

7. Hermit Cave Pathway: Short walk leading to Hermit cave,a historical site where hermits reportedly resided during early colonial times.

8. Witch Hazel Way: Moderate difficulty level pathway winding through dense woods filled with witch hazel trees . Ideal spot for nature photography especially during fall season when these trees bloom into vibrant colors.

9. Pine Swamp Brook Circuit: Easy walking track circling Pine swamp brook ; perfect place to observe aquatic plants & animals native to region.

10. Bear Hill Summit Track: Steep uphill climb culminating at summit point giving sweeping view over entire forest reserve.

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Area Campgrounds
Barton Cove Campground
99 Millers Falls Road
Northfield, MA
Traveler's Woods of New England, Inc
152 River Street
Bernardston, MA
Lamb City Campground
85 Royalston Road
Phillipston, MA
The Wagon Wheel Campground
909 Wendell Road
Warwick, MA
White Birch Campground
214 North Street
Whately, MA
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Flagg's Fly & Tackle
189 Daniel Shays Hwy
Orange, MA
(978) 544-0034

1. Start by heading east on Route 2 in Massachusetts.
2. Take Exit 14 and merge onto Route 202 South.
3. Continue on Route 202 South for approximately 5 miles.
4. Turn left onto Route 122 South and continue for about 1.5 miles.
5. Keep left at the fork to stay on Route 122 South.
6. Continue on Route 122 South for approximately 9 miles.
7. Look for signs directing you to New Salem State Forest.
8. Turn right onto Cooleyville Road.
9. After about 0.5 miles, turn left onto Route 202 South/North Main Street.
10. Follow Route 202 South for approximately 2 miles.
11. Look for signs indicating the entrance to New Salem State Forest on your right.

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Massachusetts State Parks