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Friends of Myles Standish State Forest Meetup Group The 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 in Myles Standish State Forest.

Summer is here in Myles Standish State Forest

College Pond beach

It's a great day to go to College Pond. The water is clear, cool and refreshing.

What's going on in Myles Standish State Forest?

Friends of Myles Standish State Forest Meetup Group The Friends host a lot of hikes, bird walks, stargazing nights and other activities in the forest. The Friends of Myles Standish State Forest listings are the best place to find up-to-date info on all our upcoming volunteer-led hikes, birding events and other activities in Myles Standish State Forest.

Check out the list of DCR events offered in Myles Standish by DCR park interpreters for the month of August.August events Myles Standish State Forest. (The Massachusetts DCR is the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It runs the parks, state forests and some other properties in the state.)

The Friends' 2017 Family Take Me Fishin' Festival is coming up on September 30th. We need a few good volunteers to help us. Please sign up on Meetup. We promise you won't have to touch any worms if you don't want to. family fishing festival flyer

Friends 2017 Photo Contest is open!

Entries are now being sought for our 2017 contest. Rules will be the same as in previous years. Up to 3 entries may be submitted by an individual. Categories are historic, landscape, flora, fauna, recreation and memorable event. All images must be taken in MSSF. Submit photos electronically to on or before 9/20/2017. Awards will be announced at the Friend's Fishing Derby on September 30th. View previous winners View contest rules.


frog in a log
Hello there! Photo by Kathleen O'Donnell.
eagle with fish
Eagle with Dinner. Photo by Steve Nikola.

The bluebird boxes went up in March. Multiple broods have hatched already! Friends-led hikes are going into the forest most Fridays and Sundays. (Check our Meetup page for the full listings and latest details.)

The new map mural was put on display next to the Park's Interpretive Center.MSSF map mural The map was commissioned by the Friends and the DCR from local artist Laura Anzalone.

Camping started on May 25th

It runs through October 8th. Curlew Pond campsites 1-25 are temporarily closed while a bathroom is replaced. Get your Myles Standish State Forest campground reservations now at Reserve America. Camping is $17 per night.

New Treatment Facility for Addicts opened at site of former MCI Plymouth

In early May, patients were transferred in to a new treatment facility for substance abusers and alcoholics at the site of the former MCI Plymouth, which is located within the state forest off Circuit Drive. MASAC Plymouth at Myles Standish State ForestIt is called MASAC (Massachusetts Alcoholic and Substance Abuse Center) at Plymouth. Some of them (17 at last count) have been leaving the facility without permission and have had to be returned by law enforcement. The patients have been committed by the Courts to the facility under Section 35, which explains that those committed to the facility are judged by a Court to have a subtance abuse problem which is causing them to pose a danger to themselves or others. MCI Plymouth existed for about 75 years in the forest using the same facilities and had no escape problems that we were ever aware of. Friends President Bill Vickstrom spoke to the media about the Friends' concerns.

We hosted the Deputy Commissioner from the Corrections Department at both our June and July meetings. In June, he apologized for the problem and explained how "elopements" from other substance abuse facilities are handled around the state. He told the assembled group about the State's reaction to the "elopements" and how an 8 foot fence topped with barbed wire will be in place around the residential area by the end of June with additional fencing in place by the end of August around the recreational areas. He said that a tactical team is now available for rapid recapture. Many attendees demanded that the State provide better notification of escapes through the use of the reverse 911 systems available in Carver and Plymouth and asked that the State provide better cell coverage in the forest so that users of the forest would be aware when a problem occurs. They also asked that if these are "patients" and not convicted criminals, the response be moderated and stated that the state's SWAT team response with assault rifles drawn and dogs and helicopters had made park users feel threatened.

As of June 30th, the new fencing is visible, as is the enhanced security around the site. The Deputy Commissioner provided an update at our July meeting. Fencing is now complete around two of the residential buildings. Guards continue to be stationed around the perimeter. There were no additional "elopements" in June. We reiterated our requests for an improved notification system, suggesting that temporary cell tower might provide the ability to notify park users who are currently off the grid while in the forest.

The Friends Annual Meeting took place on Thursday May 18th at the Carver Sportsmens Club. This year we had Doug Lowry, a teacher and naturalist with Audubon and Senior Staff at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) as our guest speaker. Karl Pastore from the DCR also addressed attendees. Two new members were elected to the Friends' Board- Christie Lawyer and Derek Welch. Two other members were reeelected to new two year terms- Thom Gifford and Jim Nelson. John Bescherer was recognized as "Volunteer of the Year".

The Friends have had several days working on the trails already this year- In particular, we worked along the Pine Barrens Path (a north-south trail running all the way from Charge Pond to the East Entrance). Signs have been going up trail sign MSSF About a mile of the Pine Barrens Path trail has been brushed back with equipment authorized by the DCR.

  • 4th Annual Pinefest sponsored by the Pine Barrens Alliance took place on Saturday May 20th. Another great day was had by all.

    • The 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Friends took place on May 3rd. Read a news report about the initial meeting. About a dozen people managed to join us and talk with us about the Friends accomplishments over the last 10 years and help us think about our goals going forward, in spite of the closing of the forest that night owed to unforeseen circumstances.

    • Park Serve Day took place on Saturday April 29th. Park Serve Day is DCR's annual day inviting the public to help beautify the park we love so much. About 35 people joined us for a morning of work. A group of students from Rising Tides Charter cleaned up around headquarters while other Friends cleared the Charge Pond Pavilion and beach. Then all returned to the headquarters for a cookout sponsored by the Friends.

      Park Serve Day 2017
    • Park Visitor Services Supervisor Dan Byrnes has returned.dan byrnes leads He will soon have a list of park-sponsored events posted on the state's DCR events site.

      First Day Hike

      75 people started the year off on the right foot at our 5th annual First Day Hike on January 1st. On a beautiful and unseasonably warm day, everyone made it around the East Head Reservoir in record time. We enjoyed cocoa and snacks after the walk but fire danger kept us from having a warming fire this year. First Day Hike campfire

  • Native Bird Support- Bluebird totals were up in 2016.

    Bluebird boxes went in on March 18th this year. Our Bluebird count was up last year (2016). We had 16 Bluebirds, 96 Tree Swallows, & 7 Chickadees in Myles Standish State Forest.Myles Standish bluebird boxes

    Find out more about the 2016 results of our native bird support program. You can still help the nestwatching group this year. Write an email to for more info.

    2016 Photo Contest

    Photo contest awards were announced at the Fishing Derby. We had a great crop of entries. Thanks to everyone who submitted their vision of Myles Standish. Entries are now being sought for our 2017 contest. Rules will be the same as in previous years. Up to 3 entries may be submitted by an individual. Categories are historic, landscape, flora, fauna, recreation and memorable event. Submit photos electronically to Awards will be announced at the Friend's Fishing Derby on September 30th.

    Myles Standish Lower College Pond Road
    "Panoramic Beauty". Photo by Jeanne Lesperance.
    Osprey fishing at Fearing Pond. Photo by Steve Nikola.
    frog in a log
    Hello there! Photo by Kathleen O'Donnell.
    sunshine streams along road
    "Morning Walk". Photo by Bekah Shreve.
    eagle with fish
    Eagle with Dinner. Photo by Steve Nikola.
    roasting marshmallows at Myles Standish
    Roasting Marshmallows. Photo by Kathleen O'Donnell.
    Honorable mention-Recreation
    3 turtles on a log
    "Just hanging with friends". Photo by Michele Wood.
    Perseid meteor shower trails
    Perseid meteor shower trails.
    Honorable mention-Memorable event
    "Spring popping through". Photo by Jeanne Lesperance.
    "Tiny Hunter". Photo by Justin Liebeskind.
    "How Dark We Pray". Photo by Justin Liebeskind.

    Links to pages displaying the last 4 years of photo contest winners:

    The MSSF Centennial Celebration took place on July 16th.

    Charge Pond Pavilion.

    centennial cake
    cottage display
    Centennial Mural
    Friends table
    Charge Pond waterfront
    MSSF Centennial Events Celebration flyer

    If you have more photos of the event, please send them to We'd love to share them! You can enter them in our Photo Contest.

    Forest Health - The Southern Pine Beetle- Meeting the next threat to MSSF. Ken Gooch, DCR Forestry Health Supervisor, spoke to the Friends. The Southern Pine Beetle has already devastated pitch pines in pine barrens in New Jersey and Long Island. Forestry experts brace for pine beetle. The beetle was detected in traps in 2015 in Myles Standish, though it hadn't yet killed any trees. A new set of traps has been set out this year and results will be posted here as soon as they are available. The DCR hopes that its current monitoring efforts will allow an effective response to be planned before the devastation proceeds too far.

    MSSF Centennial Lecture posterJohn Galluzzo delivered a lecture "The Founding Fathers of Myles Standish State Forest: Who Were These Guys, Anyway?" on June 23rd. He explained how the efforts to develop a private game preserve on the land that is now Myles Standish reflected changing attitudes towards conservation in the early 20th century. Arms manufacturers and other wealthy individuals were responsible for setting up the East Head Game Farm as a way of supplying game to many areas that had seen game hunted close to extinction. They had a big hand in the passage of legislation establishing federal jurisdiction over migrating birds and the passage of hunting laws in many states controlling the previously unrestricted hunting which had been extirpating many game species from the planet.

    John Galluzzo is the author of more than 35 books on the history and nature of New England, including two books on nature walking: Half an Hour a Day on Foot and Half an Hour a Day Across Massachusetts. He maintains a monthly column in South Shore Living magazine, is a founding board member of the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance and a coauthor of Mass Audubon's Breeding Bird Atlas 2.

    The Mass Walking Tour performed on June 19th

    Massachusetts Walking Tour concertMassachusetts Walking Tour poster

    A group of hiking musicians, The Massachusetts Walking Tour hikes from town to town and gives a free bluegrass/folk concert at the end of their day's walk. They have been doing this for 7 years now. Here is a sample of their music They hiked into Myles Standish from the Wildlands Trust headquarters. After a day off enjoying camping at Barrett Pond, they hiked on to Wareham for their next performance.

    2016 Annual Meeting and Dinner was 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. Bill Vickstrom, 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".

    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.


    Please consider becoming a member of the Friends. Your contribution helps the Friends pay for our free family fishing derby, trail maintenance, running this website and our Meetup activity scheduling site 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:-

    May 2017

    March 2017

    Centennial Celebration

    Spring 2016

    January 2016

    December 2015

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    The Friends' next Board meeting will take place Wednesday August 2nd 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 8/2/2017

    Contact Us

    About Us

    2017 Photo Contest

    2016 Photo Contest Winners

    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

    Friends of Myles Standish State Forest Meetup Group The 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 in Myles Standish State Forest.

    Myles Standish SF photo contest

    New Myles Standish State Forest map available at headquarters.

    A beautiful new map of the forest has been published and is available for free at headquarters. Here is a scan of the map. MSSF trails map Download a printable PDF copy of the Myles Standish map.

    Check out some of our favorite trails!

    2017 Photo Contest is open!

    Entries are now being sought for our 2017 contest. Rules will be the same as in previous years. Up to 3 entries may be submitted by an individual. Categories are historic, landscape, flora, fauna, recreation and memorable event taken in Myles Standish State Forest. Submit photos electronically to Awards will be announced at the Friend's Fishing Derby on September 30th. 2017 Photo Contest rules

    Friends Hats

    Friends logo hat

    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 (Note: Blaze orange hats are now sold out.).

    A Centennial Hike

    Malcolm Macgregor shared this video of 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.

    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)

    It's tick season! (It's always tick season.) Find out more about ticks and what you can do to protect yourself and your pets at the University of Rhode Island's Tick Encounter Center You can:

    • Learn how to make your clothes tick repellent.
    • How to remove ticks.
    • How to treat your yard for ticks.
    • Get your ticks tested. A $50 mail-in test performed by UMass Amherst will quickly tell you if the ticks you find are infected.
    • Identify ticks.

    The 2016 Take Me Fishin' family fishing derby took place on September 24th. The water was too warm for trout to be stocked but more than 50 fish were caught during the day.

    fishing derby flyer fishing derby awards fishing action in MSSF

    Many more pictures on our Meetup site photo gallery.