SPENCER STATE FOREST
Spencer State Forest, a 965-acres area provides swimming and picnicking facilities on Howe Pond. Other activities offered at Spencer include fishing, canoeing, hiking, Nordic skiing and snowmobiling. The Midstate Trail, a long-distance hiking trail that extends through central Massachusetts to Mt. Watatic in the north, runs close to the park.
Spencer State Forest is located in the town of Spencer, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The forest dates back to the early 20th century and has a rich history.
In the 19th century, the land where the forest now stands was primarily used for agricultural purposes, including farming and timber harvesting. However, it wasn't until the 1920s that the State of Massachusetts recognized the potential for recreational use of the area and acquired the land.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program established during the Great Depression, played a crucial role in the development of Spencer State Forest. Between 1933 and 1942, the CCC enlisted young unemployed men to work on various conservation projects across the country. One of their focus areas was the reforestation and development of state parks, including Spencer State Forest.
Under the supervision of the CCC, the young men worked diligently to create trails, construct buildings, and maintain the forest. They planted thousands of trees, built picnic areas, installed fireplaces and stone structures, and developed recreational facilities within the forest. Their work significantly contributed to shaping the forest as we know it today.
After the CCC disbanded, Spencer State Forest continued to be developed and improved over the years. The state forest now offers visitors a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. The forest is also known for its beautiful landscape, with rolling hills, forests of oak and pine, and scenic views.
The state forest has undergone several restoration and conservation efforts to protect wildlife habitats and maintain its ecological integrity. Today, Spencer State Forest remains a cherished natural oasis, providing local residents and visitors with opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature appreciation.