Upton State Forest Article

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Upton State Forest
UptonMA UptonSF CCC 3.jpg
Parade ground of the former CCC camp area
Map showing the location of Upton State Forest
Map showing the location of Upton State Forest
Location in Massachusetts
Location Upton, Hopkinton, Westborough, Worcester, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates 42°12′33″N 71°36′29″W / 42.20917°N 71.60806°W / 42.20917; -71.60806
UPTON STATE FOREST Latitude and Longitude:

42°12′33″N 71°36′29″W / 42.20917°N 71.60806°W / 42.20917; -71.60806
Area2,790 acres (11.3 km2) [1]
Elevation502 ft (153 m) [2]
Established1915 [3]
Operator Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Website Upton State Forest

Upton State Forest is a publicly owned forest with recreational features primarily located in the town of Upton, Massachusetts, with smaller sections in the towns of Hopkinton and Westborough. The state forest encompasses nearly 2,800 acres (1,100 ha) of publicly accessible lands and includes the last remaining Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Massachusetts, built in National Park Service rustic style. [4] The CCC campground was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. [5] [6]

History

Early history

The area is within a short distance of the Old Connecticut Path and the Blackstone River, areas that were heavily traversed by Native Americans in pre-history.

There are numerous cellar holes and stone walls within the forest that indicate early colonial settlement as early as the 17th century, which is consistent with records of settlement within Mendon, Grafton, and Westborough. [7]

A map from 1851 shows a sawmill at the southern end of Dean Pond. It was washed out in a flood in 1882, but the CCC uncovered the remains in 1938. Oral records indicate a history of cider mill's in the area as well. [8] A local logger named Ben Wood owned several acres of land in the 19th century which would become part of the state forest. Records indicate he would set up a portable sawmill off Westborough Road between the two ends of Ridge Road. [9]

There is an area off Middle Road trail called "Pilkington’s Quarry" where Alexander Pilkington had a stone quarry. There is evidence of this off trail, the discarded round stone cuts remain. [10]

State Forest Commission and CCC

Grove of 80 year old Sawara Cypress trees planted in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps

In the late 19th century locals became concerned with the amount of logging taking place and its impact on erosion and the wildlife habit. In 1914 the Massachusetts State Legislature created the State Forest Commission and appropriated a budget of $90,000 for land purchases, so long as no more than $5 per acre was spent. [11] On March 29, 1915, the first piece of land was donated to the new state forest, a 60-acre parcel by D.W. Gaskill of Blackstone. [3] As part of this initiative the state began purchasing land in Upton and other surrounding communities in 1933 and 1934. In 1935 the new forest was designated and Camp SP 25, CCC opened. [11]

Through the further purchase and donation of some 2000 acres in 1935, the forest became the site of a CCC camp that was active until 1938. During that time, workers constructed administrative buildings, barracks, a recreation hall, and workshop buildings. Other work included the construction of two forest roads, picnic areas, and an earthen dam that created 10-acre Dean Pond. The camp's remaining buildings and parade ground are located off Westboro Road near the intersection of Park Road and Spring Street. [12] [13]

Activities and amenities

The state forest offers trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling as well as opportunities for fishing, restricted hunting, and picnicking. [5]

See also

References

  1. ^ "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  2. ^ "Upton State Forest". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  3. ^ a b Gleason, Mike (April 3, 2015). "Upton State Forest passes milestone". The Milford Daily News. Milford, Mass. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  4. ^ "Upton State Forest – Civilian Conservation Corps Resources Historic District, Upton, approved for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places" (PDF) (Press release). Secretary of the Commonwealth. December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Upton State Forest". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "10/06/14 through 10/10/14". National Register of Historic Places Program: Weekly List. National Park Service. October 17, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  7. ^ "Early Settlers". Upton State Forest: A History. Friends of Upton State Forest. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "Early Mills". Upton State Forest: A History. Friends of Upton State Forest. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  9. ^ "Historic Logging". Upton State Forest: A History. Friends of Upton State Forest. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Stone Cutting". Upton State Forest: A History. Friends of Upton State Forest. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Conservation Movement". Upton State Forest: A History. Friends of Upton State Forest. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  12. ^ Beth McKinney, ed. (1999). "The Civilian Conservation Corps: A Statewide Survey of Civilian Conservation Corps Resources". Massachusetts Office of Historic Resources. pp. 50–51. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Upton State Forest Civilian Conservation Corps Camp". Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved October 17, 2014.

External links