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Massachusetts State Parks

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Central Region
Ashburnham State Forest
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Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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234 East Rindge Road
Ashburnham, Massachusetts   01430
(lat:42.6739 lon:-71.9194) map location
Ashburnham State Forest is a picturesque natural haven nestled in the heart of Massachusetts. With its serene ambiance and diverse ecosystem, this forest offers a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts. Lush green landscapes dotted with towering trees, winding trails, and tranquil ponds make for delightful hiking and recreational activities. A treasure trove for birdwatchers, the forest's diverse bird population provides a melodic backdrop to your exploration. The forest's enchanting beauty, coupled with its rich history and abundant wildlife, makes Ashburnham State Forest an idyllic destination for those seeking solace and immersion in nature.
History of the Area
The Ashburnham State Forest is a natural area located in northern Worcester County, Massachusetts. It covers approximately 2,300 acres of land and is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The forest has a rich history that dates back to colonial times.

The area that now comprises the Ashburnham State Forest was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Nipmuc people. They relied on the forests for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources.

In the early 18th century, European settlers began to establish towns in the region, including the town of Ashburnham. The forest became an important resource for the settlers, providing timber for construction, firewood, and agricultural land.

During the late 19th century, the industrial revolution brought significant changes to the Ashburnham State Forest and its surrounding areas. Lumber mills and factories sprouted up, leading to increased deforestation and disruption of the natural environment.

By the early 20th century, public concern for the preservation of natural resources emerged, leading to the establishment of the Massachusetts State Forest System. In 1916, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts acquired the land that would become the Ashburnham State Forest.

Throughout the 20th century, efforts were made to restore the forest and manage it sustainably. Trees were replanted, and conservation practices were implemented to protect the natural habitat and wildlife.

The Ashburnham State Forest offers numerous recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, fishing, and hunting (in designated areas). The forest features several trails that allow visitors to explore its diverse ecosystem, which includes hardwood and pine forests, wetlands, and rocky outcrops.

The history of Ashburnham State Forest reflects the evolving relationship between humans and the environment, from the Native American reliance on natural resources to the modern-day efforts in conservation and recreation.
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1. Bob's Trail: This is a moderate 2-mile loop trail that offers scenic views of the forest and wildlife sightings, including deer and birds.

2. Ashburnham State Forest Loop: A popular choice among hikers due to its length (5 miles) which makes it ideal for an afternoon hike. The path winds through dense woods with occasional clearings offering beautiful vistas.

3. Mount Watatic Summit Trail: It's a challenging but rewarding 6-mile round trip trek leading up to the summit of Mt.Watatic where you can enjoy panoramic views across Massachusetts' landscape.

4. Birch Hill Trails System - East Side & West Side Loops: These two interconnected trails cover around 8 miles in total, taking hikers past several ponds and streams as well as providing opportunities for bird watching along their routes.

5. Rindge Road Pathway: An easy:to-moderate difficulty level pathway stretching over approximately three miles; this route takes walkers alongside Rindge road before veering off into more secluded parts of the state parkland area.

6. Willard Brook Connector: At just under four mile long,this connector provides access between Willard brook state park on one end while linking back towards main network at other side making it perfect option if looking forward exploring multiple parks during single outing.

7. South Meadow Pond Circuit: This circuitous track covers roughly five kilometers looping around South meadow pond presenting picturesque water body scenes throughout journey.

8. North Pack Monadnock Accessible Route: Specifically designed keeping accessibility mind,this shorter yet enjoyable half-a-kilometer stretch allows everyone regardless physical capabilities experience beauty within Ashburnham State Forest.

9. Craggy Ridge Climb: For those seeking challenge,Craggy ridge climb presents steep inclines rocky terrains covering distance nearly six kilometres reaching highest point inside entire reserve from where breathtaking aerial view surrounding areas could be enjoyed.

10. Pine Grove Path: A tranquil, 1.5:mile trail that winds through a serene pine grove and offers opportunities for wildlife sightings.

11. Willard Brook Waterfall Trail: This is an easy one mile round trip hike leading to the beautiful Willard Brook waterfall - perfect for families with young children or those looking for a short but scenic walk.

12. Midstate Trail Section: Part of long-distance Midstate trail,this section within Ashburnham State Forest covers approximately four miles offering diverse landscapes including dense woodlands,open meadows along occasional brooks streams.

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Area Campgrounds
The Pines Campground
49 Davis Road
Ashby, MA
Lamb City Campground
85 Royalston Road
Phillipston, MA
Peaceful Acres Campground
52 Flagg Road
Hubbardston, MA
Shady Point Beach & Campground
701 Reservoir Road
Lunenburg, MA
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Elm's Bait & Tackle
56 Elm St
Baldwinville, MA
(978) 939-8075
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.
38.1 miles from park*

1. Start by getting on I:90 W/Massachusetts Turnpike from Tremont St and Stuart St.
2. Continue on I:90 W to Auburn. Take exit 10 for MA-12 N toward Worcester/Auburn.
3. Merge onto MA:12 N/Oxford Rd (signs for Leicester/Worcester).
4. Use the left lane to take the Interstate 290 E ramp to Shrewsbury/Marlboro/Boston/I:190 S/MASS Pike/Springfield/Hartford CT.
5. Merge onto I:290 E.
6. Take exit 19 towards Route140 North/Gardner/Fitchburg.
7. Continue straight through two traffic lights at end of off:ramp turn right into Park & Ride lot before next light if you need a pit stop or continue northbound past McDonald's then bear right after crossing over Rt2 bridge staying with route #101N until it ends merging with Rte#202S go about .9 miles south bound passing under railroad tracks look immediately left park entrance.

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Massachusetts State Parks