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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. You can also view thousands of photos from our previous events over the last 7 years.

Spring is here

The bluebird boxes are up. Birds are arriving daily. The peepers are peeping. Our calendar is starting to hit its stride. (Check our Meetup page for the full listings and latest details.)

  • Park Serve Day takes 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.Come join us for a morning of work sprucing up our favorite park and then join us for a cookout at 1pm afterward. (Meet at headquarters at 9am)

  • 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Friends takes place May 3rd. Read a news report about the initial meeting. Join us and talk with us about the Friends accomplishments over the last 10 years and help us think about our goals going forward. (Meeting takes place at the barn up the road from MSSF headquarters at 7pm on May 3rd.

  • Friends Annual Meeting takes place May 18th at the Carver Sportsmens Club. Invitations will be going out soon.

  • 4th Annual Pinefest sponsored by the Pine Barrens Alliance is Saturday May 20th.

  • Camping starts on May 25th and runs through October 8th. Get your Myles Standish State Forest campground reservations now at Reserve America

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 campfireFirst Day hikers

Native Bird Support- Bluebird totals were up in 2016.

Bluebird boxes went in on March 12th this year, three weeks earlier than last year. Our Bluebird count was up this year from last. We had 16 Bluebirds, 96 Tree Swallows, & 7 Chickadees in Myles Standish State Forest.

Find out more about the 2016 results of our native bird support program. Join the nestwatching group this year. Boxes will be going out again in late March or early April.

2016 Photo Contest

Photo contest awards were announced at the Fishing Derby. We had a great crop of entries this year. Thanks to everyone who submitted their vision of Myles Standish.

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 3 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.

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. 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 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:-

March 2017

Centennial Celebration

Spring 2016

January 2016

December 2015

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The Friends' next Board meeting will take place Wednesday May 3rd 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 4/23/2017

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 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!

Friends Centennial T-shirts

Thanks for your purchase of Friends Centennial t-shirts. At this point, all we have left are women's sizes and 1 men's medium. The remaining shirts are still available for ordering online-- at $20 plus $3 shipping.

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.).

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 Thursday and Friday mornings recently. The Sunday walks with dogs have also 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)

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.
  • Identify ticks.

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.

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.