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Massachusetts State Parks

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USA Parks
Central Region
Oakham State Forest
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The Oakham State Forest is a picturesque natural landscape located in Massachusetts, offering an enchanting escape to nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. This vast forest occupies acres of lush greenery, comprising dense woodlands, tranquil meadows, and sparkling bodies of water, like the serene Coldbrook Pond. Visitors are greeted by towering mature oak trees that lend their name to the forest, creating a magical ambiance with their sprawling branches and vibrant foliage. The forest is a haven for wildlife, providing a habitat for diverse species such as deer, rabbits, and various birds, making it an excellent spot for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Trails meander through the woods, inviting hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers to explore the forest's hidden treasures, while picnic areas and camping grounds offer opportunities for tranquil family outings and overnight stays. Oakham State Forest captures the essence of Massachusetts' natural beauty, providing a captivating destination for those seeking solace within the arms of nature.
Nature of the Area
Oakham State Forest is a haven of natural beauty and tranquility. With its vast expanse of lush oak trees and diverse wildlife, the forest offers a serene retreat for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. The dense woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for explorers to immerse themselves in the wonders of flora and fauna. As visitors trek through the park's well-maintained trails, they can admire the vibrant colors of wildflowers, listen to the symphony of chirping birds, and catch glimpses of elusive creatures. Oakham State Forest's inherent serenity and breathtaking scenery make it a haven for those seeking solace and communion with nature.
History of the Area
Oakham State Forest is a state-owned forest located in the town of Oakham, Massachusetts. The history of Oakham State Forest dates back to the mid-19th century when the land was initially acquired by the state.

In 1862, during the American Civil War, the Massachusetts legislature authorized the purchase of land to form a "Soldiers' Home" for aging and disabled veterans. As a result, approximately 1,000 acres of land in Oakham, including what is now known as Oakham State Forest, was acquired for this purpose.

The original intention of the Soldiers' Home was to provide housing and care for veterans who had served in the Civil War. However, due to financial constraints and changing state policies, the Oakham Soldiers' Home was never actually built. As a result, the land remained undeveloped and gradually reverted back to its natural state.

In the early 20th century, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game began acquiring land throughout the state to establish wildlife management areas and public recreation spaces. In 1914, a portion of the Oakham Soldiers' Home land was transferred to the division, which eventually became the basis for the Oakham State Forest.

Over the years, additional land has been added to the state forest through various acquisitions and donations. Today, Oakham State Forest consists of approximately 2,275 acres, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation such as hiking, birdwatching, and hunting. The forest also serves as a habitat for various wildlife species and supports the conservation of natural resources in the region.

Oakham State Forest in Massachusetts has its roots in the planned Oakham Soldiers' Home during the Civil War era, which was never realized. The land was subsequently transferred to the state's Division of Fisheries and Game, eventually becoming a state forest dedicated to outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation.
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1. Midstate Trail: A 92-mile long-distance trail that passes through Oakham State Forest, offering a challenging hike with scenic views of the forest and wildlife.

2. Dean Pond Loop: This is an easy to moderate level hiking loop around Dean Pond in the heart of Oakham State Forest, perfect for families or beginner hikers.

3. Moose Hill Bluff Trail: An intermediate-level trail leading up to Moose Hill Bluff which offers panoramic views over much of central Massachusetts from its peak.

4. Five Mile Loop (Yellow Diamond): It's a moderately difficult five mile loop marked by yellow diamonds on trees along the path; it winds through dense woods and across small streams within the state forest area.

5. Breakneck Road Pathway: Easy walking pathway suitable for all skill levels located near Rutland, featuring beautiful wild flowers during spring season.

6. Long Meadow Brook Reserve Trails: These trails offer peaceful walks alongside brooks while exploring diverse habitats including wetlands and forests.

7. Ware River Rail-Trail - North Section: The northern section provides opportunities for bird watching as well as observing other local fauna.

8. Spencer Snowbirds Clubhouse Connector: Ideal route if you're looking forward towards snowshoeing activities during winter months.

9. East Branch Swift River via Old Indian Trail: Moderate difficulty level but rewards hikers with stunning river view points.

10. Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area Trails: Offers multiple routes ranging from short strolls to longer hikes amidst rich biodiversity.

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Area Campgrounds
Pout & Trout Campground
94 River Road
North Rutland, MA
Pine Acres Family Camping Resort
203 Bechan Road
Oakham, MA
Camp Coldbrook
864 Old Coldbrook Road
Barre, MA
Peaceful Acres Campground
52 Flagg Road
Hubbardston, MA
Highview Campground
58 John Gilbert Road
West Brookfield, MA
The Old Sawmill Campground
PO Box 377
West Brookfield, MA
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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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.
29 miles from park*

1. Start on I-190 S.
2. Take Exit 5 to merge onto MA-140 S towards West Boylston.
3. Continue on MA-140 S for about 7 miles.
4. Turn left onto Main St.
5. Continue onto Crescent St.
6. In about a mile, turn right onto MA-122 S.
7. Stay on MA-122 S for approximately 12 miles.
8. Make a slight right onto Barre Paxton Rd (look for signs indicating Oakham State Forest).
9. Continue for about 2 miles until you reach the entrance to Oakham State Forest on the left.

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Massachusetts State Parks