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Massachusetts State Parks

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USA Parks
Central Region
Spencer State Forest
Spencer State Forest pond © james derosier
pond at spencer state forest
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Howe Pond Rd.
Spencer, Massachusetts   01562

Phone: 508-886-6333
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.
History of the Area
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.
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1. Midstate Trail: A 92-mile long-distance trail that passes through Spencer State Forest, offering a challenging hike with scenic views of the surrounding landscape.

2. Howe State Park Loop: This is an easy to moderate level hiking loop within the forest which covers about 3 miles and offers beautiful sights of wildlife and flora.

3. Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT): An old railway line converted into a multi-use path for hikers, bikers, horseback riders etc., it stretches over several towns including Spencer.

4. Moose Hill Trails: These trails offer moderately difficult hikes across varied terrain featuring wetlands, forests and hilltops providing panoramic vistas.

5. Thompson Pond Wildlife Management Area Trails: Located on the outskirts of Spencer state forest these trails provide opportunities for bird watching along with serene nature walks around ponds.

6. Crow Hills Trail: It's part of mid-state trail but can be accessed separately as well; this rugged track takes you up rocky terrains leading to stunning overlook points.

7. Sugarloaf Mountain Pathway: Another offshoot from mid-state trail taking you uphill towards Sugarloaf mountain summit where one gets breathtaking view encompassing entire region below.

8. Burncoat Pond Wildlife Sanctuary Paths: Although not directly in Spenser state park, they are nearby & provides tranquil walking paths amidst diverse habitats like marshes , meadows & woodlands.

9. Leicester Hollow/ Chandler pond circuit: Moderate difficulty level circular route covering both Leicester hollow area & chandler pond ; good spot for picnic or fishing too.

10. Ware River Watershed: Though primarily used by equestrians there are numerous unmarked footpaths crisscrossing this watershed land adjacent to spencer state park suitable for exploratory hikes.

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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.
27.3 miles from park*

Spencer State Forest is located in mid-central Massachusetts.

From east or west: Rte. 9 to Rte. 31 south to Howe Pond Rd. Follow signs.

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Massachusetts State Parks