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Friends of Myles Standish State Forest Meetup GroupThe Friends of Myles Standish State Forest listings are the best place to find up-to-date info on all our upcoming hikes, birding events and other activities. You can also view thousands of photos from our previous events over the last 7 years.

Annual Meeting and Dinner held May 18th

The Friends annual meeting and dinner took place on May 18th at the Carver Sportsmen's Club. About 40 people joined us.

DCR Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino spoke to the group. He told about how Massachusetts had started the use of fire towers in the country with a tower in the Pinehills back in the 1880's. He reviewed the devestating fires of the 50's and 60's, which had burned 18 acres a minute (!) at their peaks. His department has just done a ten acre controlled burn in MSSF south of Three Cornered Pond Road at the intersection of the power lines and the East Line Road as part of plans for 1800 acres of burns in Myles Standish and another forest on the Vineyard (Manuel Correllus).

New DCR Commissioner Leo Roy also attended. He spoke about his plans to finish the consolidation of the DEM and the MDC into one agency (the DCR), his efforts to achieve efficiencies in energy usage and his recognition of the importance of volunteer activities and groups to the success of the DCR.

President Bill Vickstrom reviewed the many activities held this year to date (First Day Hike, the lecture series, astronomy nights, nature walks, birding walks in addtiion to the continuing hikes around the forest) and invited the group to the many activities remaining for this year, including our big Centennial Celebration on July 16th. He also commended the efforts being made by Thom Gifford to raise funds for improved trail signage in the park. Jim Nelson was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year.

Bylaws Change Approved

At the Annual meeting, the membership voted to amend the group's bylaws.

Proposal--to change second sentence of Section 2 of Article VI (Board of Directors) to read:

"Directors shall serve for a term of two (2) years, and an individual may not serve more than four (4) consecutive terms or eight (8) consecutive years."

Previously, the bylaws allowed directors to serve for a maximum of three terms and six years. This change allowed Bill Vickstrom to stay on as a director in this Centennial year. A full copy of our bylaws may be found on our website on the "About Us" page.

New director Dan Badger was elected to the Board. Glenn d'Entremont and Bob Bentley returned to the board after an absence. John Bescherer, Allen Wood, Donna McBrien and Charles Pye were elected for new terms.

Myles Standish Centennial logo

Kettle ponds were the focus of our second Centennial lecture on April 25th

UConn Geology Professor Robert Thorson presented information on the unique character of the many kettle ponds dotting Myles Standish at the Carver Library. Professor Thorson explained why the beaches of kettle ponds are bleached white and why the waters are so clear. Those who missed the talk may want to look at his book, "Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America's Kettle Lakes and Ponds".

A Centennial Hike

Malcolm Macgregor shared this video of a images from kettle pond hikes video imageWandering the Wankinko, a five mile hike from Federal Pond Road (near College Pond) to park headquarters walking around many of the kettle ponds in the forest. In addition to pictures from the hike, some of the images taken by photo contest winners are included. We plan to offer this hike again later in the season. It is one of the dozens of different hikes we offer during the year to take advantage of this amazing forest. Some of our favorite trails can be seen on our Favorite Trails page. More info is available in Frank Werny's book "Hike Myles Standish State Forest!", which is available from Amazon and from the Friends.

Harold Parker Centennial celebrated April 16th

Congratulations to the Friends of Harold Parker State Forest in Andover which drew a big crowd for its Centennial Celebration on April 16th. crowd at Harold Parker CentennialThe big announcement was made by the DCR Commissioner that the HP swimming beach will be opened and guarded for the first time in play on rocks

Centennial Lecture Series started March 31st at Carver Library

lectureAndy Backman, Director of Regional Planning for the DCR, spoke to a group of 50. The title was "What did the forests in Plymouth and Carver look like prior to the arrival of Myles Standish and what changes occurred in the three centuries between the arrival of the Pilgrims and the establishment of Myles Standish State Forest?"

Paleoecology research that Andy did as part of his graduate work included taking sediment cores from a number of lakes and ponds in New England and Long Island, and assessing the fossil pollen and charcoal records to determine historic and prehistoric changes in forest species composition and forest fire occurrence. Sediment cores were taken from two ponds in Myles Standish State Forest, Widgeon Pond and Charge Pond. The results of this research documented some of the changes in the composition of the forest in the area where Myles Standish is now located and the charcoal residues provided evidence of the frequent fires in the area. "Myles Standish- from the ice age to the present" . co-authored with UMass forestry professor Dr. William Patterson, presents some of this data.

MSSF Centennial

Myles Standish State Forest was purchased in 1916. It had been operated as a game farm for several years previously. (Read about the "East Head Game Farm" ) The Massachusetts State Forest Commission voted to acquire the property on December 7, 1915 and the purchase was finalized in February 1916. (Read about the creation of Myles Standish State Forest from a 1917 report from the Commissioners on Fish and Game. (PDF file)) The Friends have begun celebrating this centennial of our favorite forest with a First Day hike and a Centennial lunch and hike on January 16th, the date officially designated as the Centennial of the purchase. A major celebration on July 16th at Charge Pond is being planned and other exciting events including a lecture series, multiple star-gazing nights and extra birding outings are also being planned.

Native Bird Support- Bluebird boxes went in early

Bluebird boxes went in on March 12th this year, three weeks earlier than last year. Last year's nests were watched all spring and summer by our volunteers and the fledglings were all sent home. Unfortunately, because of a mower accident, a nesting pair of bluebirds was disturbed and we had no bluebirds last year. Many other birds did make use of the boxes, however. Find out more about the 2015 results of our native bird support program. Join the nestwatching group this year. Training is being held on April 17th. (Sign up and get more info on Bluebird Box monitor training.))

Friends Centennial T-shirts

The Friends are selling Centennial commemorative t-shirts. These shirts are now available for ordering online-- at $20 plus $3 shipping. (They will also be available for sale at some of the larger Friends events.)

Photos from Photo Contest Displayed at Carver Public Library

In honor of the Centennial, many fine entries from the last three year's photo contests are being displayed for the month of April in large size mounted enlargements at the Carver Public Library. Stop by and get some inspiration for the 2016 contest! 2016 Entry form

Links to pages displaying the last 3 years of winners:

kids pictured behind pine treesgirls on rope swing at Curlew Pond in MSSFsunrise over pond in MSSF

First Day Hike

185 people joined our 4th annual First Day Hike this year and enjoyed a warming fire and cocoa at the amphitheater behind park headquarters.
First Day Hike campfire First Day hiking crowd at MSSF
DCR's Daniel Byrnes led the hike around the East Head Reservoir.

Centennial Walk and Lunch

The threat of rain dampened the crowd for the official hike scheduled on January 16th, but a good group did gather for appetizers and cheer at the New World Tavern.

new england cottontailGreat Thicket proposal for Plymouth area

Does the New England Cottontail need a Great Thicket?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has drafted a proposal (Great Thicket proposal)to purchase 15,000 acres of land in the six New England States to create 10 areas collectively known as the Great Thicket National Wildlife Preserve. The proposal for the Plymouth area is not specified but it appears that the plan would include the purchase of 300+ acres in the area of Myles Standish that would be in addition to 185 acres dedicated to the preservation of the Red-Bellied Cooter in the Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge (which borders the northeast entrance of Myles Standish) . Public comments are invited before April 4th, 2016.(Extended from original March 6th deadline.) You can send in your comments directly or let us know your thoughts. (Our email is >

9th Annual Fishing Derby

fishing derby signThe Friends' Take Me Fishin' event took place at Fearing Pond on September 27th. Approximately 350 participants joined the fun. Thanks to all our sponsors for providing great prizes to the winning entrants and to all our volunteers who helped the event run smoothly

It was a very fun event in partnership with the DCR and Mass Fish and Wildlife. Mass Wildlife stocked the pond with trout several days ahead of time for this event but trout remained difficult to catch. Mass Wildlife also supplied more than 100 fishing poles for anyone to use. Morrison's supplied boxes of worm. Generous prizes from Cabelas, Captain John's and other sponsors were awarded in four categories this year- bass, trout, sunfish and perch.

2015 Plants Walks with Irina

It is springtime and Irina will offer these walks again soon. Last year, the fall plants walk with Arnold Arboretum botanist Irina Kadis took place on September 20th. plant's walk with botanist(For more pictures, visit our Meetup pages.) The summer plants walk with Irina was held on July 5th at Three Cornered Pond. Some truly unique plants were discovered along the pond shores of Myles Standish. (More photos on the Meetup photo gallery.) Longtime FMSSF member Irina also led a springtime plants walk on April 12th through the southernmost section of the forest. The broom crowberry was just starting to bloom.

Bike path repairs

Major repairs were made this summer to fix the cracks and pave over the unpaved sections on the bike path going up the west side of the park from park headquarters to the Rocky Pond parking lot.

2015 Annual Meeting and Dinner

Our annual dinner was held on May 14th at the Carver Sportsmen's Club. About 40 Friends joined us. We honored the service of long time director and birding guru Glenn d'Entremonthonoring Glenn d'Entremont and named him "Volunteer of the Year". Salvatore Raciti was also named "Volunteer of the Year".

President Bill Vickstrom reported on the last year and announced that a new headquarters water fountain was being installed as the result of a project started by Rose Mellino. DCR South Region director Karl Pastore gave the Friends an update on the major improvements being made in Myles Standish State Forest. Four miles of road have been repaved in the last year. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on upgrading bathroom facilities at Charge and Fearing Pond campgrounds. Important repair work on the forest's bike trails is scheduled this year. (The sections that had been left as dirt crossing power and gas lines will be paved.)

Dr. Tom FrenchThe election of 6 directors to the Friends board for the term 2015-2017 occurred. Two founding directors, Thom Gifford and Jim Nelson, rejoined the Board during the year. Gail Nauen joined the Board and has offered to serve as Secretary. Rose Mellino, John Welsh and Richard Wall Jr. were also re-elected to the Board for another term.

Our guest speaker was Dr. Tom French from the Massachusetts Natual Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Dr. French reported on the natural resurgance of various predator populations in the Commonwealth as forests have recovered from the 80% logged state found in the late 19th century and the difficulties of protecting wildlife in the midst of a densely populated state like Massachusetts.


sponsored by the Southeastern Mass Pine Barrens Alliance (SEMPBA), came back on May 30thPinefest banner It was even more successful than last year. Somewhere north of 500 people enjoyed a sparkling clear day in the pines.

Park Serve Day

2015 Park Serve Day was held on April 25th. About 30 FriendsPark Serve Day crowd gethers joined us for a couple of hours working on clearing trails, planting flowers, painting picnic tables and cleaning up around headquarters. Thanks to everyone who joined us! MSSF sign with newly planted flowers More photos are available on our Meetup site.

Vernal Pools

peeper hunting Friends Board Member and Biologist Charlie Pye was out mucking about in the vernal pools last spring. He was gathering information for certifying vernal pools. If you are interested in learning more about these very special places, contact Charlie.(

2016 Centennial Lecture Series

  • Wednesday, May 18-- Fires and the Forest
    Sportman's Club, Carver
    DCR Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino will discuss how fire affects the forest.
  • Thursday, June 23-- Natural Science
    Carver Public Library
    John Galluzzo, South Shore Science Center.
  • Wednesday, July 20-- Forest Health - The Southern Pine Beetle- Meeting the next threat to MSSF.
    Plymouth Public Library
    Ken Gooch, DCR Forestry Health Supervisor
  • Wednesday, August 24-- A Tale of Two Roosevelts
    Plymouth Public Library
    Presented by Dan Byrnes, DCR's Visitor Services Supervisor.
    How Theodore and Franklin contributed directly and indirectly to the preservation of MSSF.
  • Wednesday, September 21-- "From the Forest Archives"
    The speaker is Sean Fisher, DCR Archivist.
  • Wednesday, October 19-- "Can you Dig It?"
    Presented by Ellen Berkland, DCR Archeologist

Centennial Survey


A one question survey on the MSSF Centennial is running now thru Thursday 4/7/16 in the Plymouth paper, the Old Colony Memorial. (Mobile users will find the poll more easily using this link. )

2016 Photo Contest

2016 Friends photo contest poster 2016 Entry form

winter greens walk


Please consider becoming a member of the Friends. Your contribution helps the Friends pay for our free family fishing derby, trail maintenance and the many other programs we run for the benefit of the Forest and its users.

Annual membership is only $10 for an individual. More details about membership are available on our Membership page You can mail your contribution or use the PayPal Donate button below to join online.


Our most recent newsletters:-

Spring 2016

January 2016

December 2015.

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The Friends' June Board meeting will take place Wednesday June 1st at 7PM. (We usually meet the first Wednesday of every month in the "barn" up the road from forest headquarters.) All members are invited.

Are you someone who regularly camps, bicycles, rides horses, skis or snowshoes or kayaks in the State Forest? Our group needs more input from all legitimate forest users. Currently, we have hikers, wildlife observers, hunters/fishers and cottage owners. We would love to have active campers, bicyclists and cross country skiers join us. You are welcome to attend our next Board meeting.(More info.)

Last Update 5/22/2016

Contact Us

About Us

2015 Photo Contest Winners

2014 Photo Contest Winners

2013 Photo Contest Winners

Order a Friends T-shirt

Order a Friends embroidered logo hat

Favorite Trails

Camping in MSSF

Cottage Program

Native Bird Support Group

Take Me Fishin Highlights 2007-2013

Friends Membership Page- Join Us!

Report Illegal Off Road Vehicle

Local business sponsors

Pine Barrens Community Initiative

Native Plant ID Page

MSSF Resource Management Plan

Equestrian Page

New Trails Map- 2015

trails map

An MSSF trails map published in April 2015 shows four marked hiking trails in the park and many unmarked side trails. Find out more. Revisions are now being made to this map and it is antipated that a new map will be available before Spring 2016.

Friends Hats

Stan selling Friends hats

The Friends are selling caps with the Friends logo. You can purchase one of these hats at many Friends events. These hats are now also available for order online.

Visit the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest group for a listing of all our upcoming hikes, birding events and other activities.

Our weekday morning hikes continue. They have been held on Friday mornings recently. The Sunday walks with dogs have started up again recently. (You don't have to have a dog.) Check out the upcoming listings on Meetup. Join us!dog hikers

According to this 2014 article from the Star Tribune (Minnesota) , "Massachusetts has nation's toughest ATV law." In a recent presentation to the DCR Stewardship Council by an Environmental Police Officer, Plymouth and Carver were shown to be the leading sources (#1 and #2) of calls to the Massachusetts Environmental Police with complaints about illegal riding. Your calls have been noticed and the many visits of EPO's to MSSF over the fall were credited to the calls. (Numbers for reporting OHV's in the park)