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Massachusetts State Parks

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Connecticut River Valley Region
Buckland State Forest
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Located in the Berkshire region of western Massachusetts, Buckland State Forest is a sprawling natural oasis that offers a diverse range of outdoor experiences. With its lush forests, tranquil streams, and picturesque views, the forest serves as a haven for both nature enthusiasts and hikers alike, offering a plethora of well-marked trails that meander through its beautiful landscape. Boasting remarkable biodiversity, the area is home to an array of wildlife, including various bird species and woodland creatures, making it an ideal spot to indulge in birdwatching or wildlife observation. Whether visitors seek solace in the quiet serenity of the forest, embark on an invigorating hike, or simply find respite from the bustling city life, Buckland State Forest offers a captivating experience that truly showcases the beauty and charm of Massachusetts' natural wonders.
History of the Area
Buckland State Forest, located in western Massachusetts, has a rich historical background that dates back to the early settlements and industrial development of the region. Here is an overview of the history of Buckland State Forest:

1. Native American Presence:.
Prior to European colonization, the area where Buckland State Forest is now located was inhabited by Native American tribes, primarily the Pocumtuc tribe. These Native Americans relied on the abundant natural resources in the region for their survival.

2. Colonial Settlement:.
In the early 18th century, European settlers began to arrive in the area. Buckland, the town where the state forest is located, was officially incorporated in 1779. Farming, logging, and small-scale industries like gristmills and sawmills were established to support the growing community.

3. Industrial Development:.
During the 19th century, the region experienced rapid industrial development. The abundant waterways and access to transportation networks made it an ideal location for various industries. Buckland became a significant producer of textiles, paper, and shoes. Many mills and factories were established, powered by water from the nearby Deerfield River.

4. Deforestation and Reforestation Efforts:.
The intensive logging and industrial activities in the region led to extensive deforestation in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This had severe ecological consequences, including soil erosion and loss of habitat for numerous plant and animal species.

To address these issues, the state of Massachusetts initiated reforestation efforts in the early 1900s. The state acquired large tracts of land, including parts of Buckland, to reforest and conserve the natural environment. The acquisition of these lands eventually led to the establishment of Buckland State Forest.

5. Establishment of Buckland State Forest:.
Buckland State Forest was established in the mid-1900s and is one of the many state-owned forests in Massachusetts. It covers approximately 4,898 acres and is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The forest now serves as a recreational area, offering activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking, while also providing important habitat for wildlife and protecting the local watershed.

Buckland State Forest stands as a testament to the region's industrial past and the ongoing conservation efforts to preserve and restore its natural resources.
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1. Sanderson Brook Falls Trail: This is a 2.3-mile loop trail that features beautiful waterfalls and wildflowers, with an elevation gain of about 580 feet.

2. Keystone Arch Bridges Trail: A moderate level hiking path stretching for approximately five miles round trip, this trail offers scenic views of the Westfield River along with historic stone arch railroad bridges.

3. East Branch Trail to Spruce Hill Summit: At around six miles long in total (round-trip), it's considered moderately difficult due to its steep sections but rewards hikers with panoramic vistas from atop Spruce Hill at over 2000 ft above sea level.

4. Alander Mountain Loop via Ashley Hill Trails: An adventurous hike covering nearly nine miles which includes parts within Buckland State Forest as well as neighboring Mount Washington State Park; offering breathtaking views from the summit of Alander Mountain.

5. Buckland Ridgeback Connector: It's a relatively short yet challenging route measuring just under two:miles one-way connecting several other trails including Mahican-Mohawk and Clesson Brook Trails.

6. Mahican-Mohawk Trail: One section runs through Buckland state forest extending up-to four-and-a-half mile featuring dense woodlands, streams & wildlife sightings.

7. Chester:Blandford Stagecoach Road: Once used by stagecoaches during colonial times now serves as multi-use recreational pathway spanning across three towns including part inside Buckland state forest.

8. Tower road/ Lookout point trail: Easy grade gravel service-road leading towards fire-tower lookout providing sweeping view encompassing Connecticut river valley region.

9. Hawley Bog Preserve Pathway: Although located slightly outside official boundary still popular among visitors because unique ecosystem showcasing floating bog mat vegetation.

10. Pine hill trial extension: Newly added segment linking Pine:hill area directly into main network increasing accessibility options especially for local residents.

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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
Peppermint Park Camping Resort
169 Grant Street
Plainfield, MA
Mohawk Park Camping
559 Tea Street
Charlemont, MA
Shady Pines Campground
547 Loop Road
Savoy, MA
Country Aire Campground
1753 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne Falls, MA
White Birch Campground
214 North Street
Whately, MA
Berkshire Park Camping Area
350 Harvey Road
Worthington, MA
Foolhardy Hill
232 Zoar Road
Charlemont, MA

1. Start by heading west on MA:2 W from Greenfield.
2. Continue on MA:2 W for about 6 miles until you reach the town of Shelburne Falls.
3. In Shelburne Falls, take a slight right onto Bridge St/MA:112 N and continue to follow MA-112 N for approximately 4 miles.
4. Turn left onto Upper Rd and drive for another mile or so until you see signs indicating the entrance to Buckland State Forest.

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Massachusetts State Parks