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Massachusetts State Parks

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Connecticut River Valley Region
Montague State Forest
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Montague State Forest, located in Montague, Massachusetts, is an idyllic natural haven characterized by its diverse and serene environment. Covering over 1,800 acres, this forest offers a picturesque landscape teeming with lush greenery, rolling hills, and tranquil streams. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of the area as they explore its extensive network of hiking trails, allowing them to witness the forest's vibrant flora and fauna up close. With its serene atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings, Montague State Forest provides a peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike.
History of the Area
Montague State Forest is a 4,511-acre forest located in the towns of Montague, Shutesbury, and Wendell in the state of Massachusetts. Its history dates back to the early 20th century when the state acquired the land for conservation and recreational purposes.

The forest was established in the 1930s during the Great Depression as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The CCC was a work relief program that aimed to provide employment to young, unemployed men while undertaking various conservation projects across the nation.

The CCC workers at Montague State Forest focused on reforestation efforts, constructing recreational amenities, and improving the existing infrastructure. They planted thousands of trees, built miles of hiking trails and fire roads, and constructed several picnic areas and campgrounds. These developments aimed to improve the natural habitat, conserve resources, and provide recreational opportunities for the public.

During World War II, a German prisoner of war (POW) camp was established within Montague State Forest. Known as Camp Murphy, it housed German POWs who worked on various agricultural and forestry projects to supplement the labor shortage caused by the war. After the war, the camp was closed, and the land was returned to its recreational and conservation purposes.

Montague State Forest continues to serve as a popular recreational destination. It offers various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, and wildlife viewing. The forest is also home to numerous species of flora and fauna, including deer, turkey, beavers, and various bird species.

Montague State Forest has a rich history of conservation, reforestation, and recreation. It stands as a testament to the efforts made during the Great Depression and World War II to preserve and utilize natural resources while providing employment and recreational opportunities for the public.
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1. Rattlesnake Gutter Trail: A 3.5-mile loop trail that features a river and is good for all skill levels.

2. Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area Trails: Offers several trails through pitch pine-scrub oak community, which are rare in Massachusetts.

3. Sawmill River Waterfall Hike: This short hike leads to the beautiful waterfall on the Sawmill River with an easy-to-follow path suitable even for beginners or families with children.

4. Metacomet-Monadnock (M&M) Trail - Section 8 &9: These sections of M&M trail pass through Montague State Forest offering challenging hikes over rugged terrain and stunning views from cliff tops.

5. Turner's Falls Bike Path / Canalside Rail-Trail Loop: Although primarily designed as bike paths, these paved routes offer leisurely walks along Connecticut riverfronts featuring historical sites like canal locks and power stations.

6. Deep Woods Nature Trail: An educational nature walk perfect for kids where they can learn about local flora/fauna while enjoying their time outdoors.

7. Brushy Mountain Lookout Tower via Robert Frost Trail: It's a moderate level hiking route leading up to an old fire lookout tower providing panoramic view of surrounding areas.

8. Farley Ledges Climbing Routes: Not exactly traditional hiking trails but rather climbing routes popular among rock climbers; however hikers often visit this area too due its scenic beauty.

9. Wendell Road Walking Route: A quiet walking route mostly used by locals passing alongside farms giving you glimpse into rural New England life.

10. Montague Sand Plains Preserve Walkway: Easy flat sandy pathways winding around unique sand plains habitat home to many endangered species.

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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
Country Aire Campground
1753 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne Falls, MA
The Wagon Wheel Campground
909 Wendell Road
Warwick, MA
White Birch Campground
214 North Street
Whately, MA
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Pipione's Sport Shop
101 Avenue A
Turners Falls, MA
(413) 863-4246
Flagg's Fly & Tackle
189 Daniel Shays Hwy
Orange, MA
(978) 544-0034
Sugarloaf Tackle Co Fly Shop
3 Hager Cross Rd
South Deerfield, MA
(413) 665-7379

1. Start by heading north on I:91 N.
2. Take exit 24 for MA:116 toward Sunderland/Deerfield.
3. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto MA:116 W (also known as Sugarloaf Street).
4. Continue straight on this road for approximately 5 miles until you reach a roundabout.
5. In the roundabout, take the second exit onto Greenfield Road/MA:47 S and continue driving southward.

From here onwards there are two different routes depending on which entrance of Montague State Forest you want to access:

For Headquarters Entrance:
6a: After about 0.7 miles from step #5 above, turn right onto East Mineral Road (look out for signs indicating "Montague Wildlife Management Area").
7a: Follow East Mineral Road for around half a mile until you see an entrance sign marking Montague State Forest's headquarters parking area.

For West Side Entrance:
6b: Instead of turning right at step #6a above, continue straight along Greenfield Road/MA-47 S towards Millers Falls Village Center.
7b: Once in Millers Falls village center after roughly another mile or so from step #6b above), look out for Turnpike Rd/Mill St and make a sharp left turn onto it near The Lady Killigrew Cafe & Pub.
8b: Drive down Turnpike Rd/Mill St crossing over railroad tracks then immediately bear slightly right continuing through residential areas now called Unity Park Dr., following signs pointing towards Wendell Depot / Lake Wyola etc..
9b: Stay on Unity Park Dr./Wendell Depot Rd/Wyola Prospect Hill Rd passing under Route US202 bridge till reaching intersection with Reservation RD where one should be able to spot signage directing into state forest.

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Massachusetts State Parks