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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.

The Friends' next Board meeting will take place Tuesday March 13 at 7PM in the MSSF Conference Building just up the road from MSSF headquarters. (postponed from March 7th because of the nor'easter) All members are invited.

What's going on in Myles Standish State Forest?


Native Bird Support- It's bluebird box time!

Bluebird totals were up again in 2017. Our 40 bluebird boxes went in on March 18th last year. We are starting on March 10th this year. (Sign up on Meetup to help get the boxes installed.)

See more pictures and the reports from prior years on our Native Bird Support page.

If you want to help the nestwatching group but can't get out on the 10th, training will be held in a couple of weeks on how to monitor the boxes.

Other Friends events coming up:
  • Woodcock Walk- Typically first Saturday in April
  • Open House for the Appalachian Mountain Club (Saturday April 14th)
  • Park Serve Day (Saturday April 28th)
  • Friends Annual Meeting and Dinner (Wednesday May 2nd)

East Head Reservoir boardwalk

East Head Reservoir Boardwalks Project

The Friends were approved for a DCR Partnership Matching Funds project to help rebuild two boardwalks near the north end of the East Head Reservoir. A little more than half of the 438 boards are in poor condition. A few were missing. We are hoping to replace the entire top deck with pressure treated boards which will last a long time. We recently received approval from Plymouth conservation commission and also from the land owner. (The DCR doesn't actually own the reservoir or the land that surrounds it.)

We spoke with Plymouth Cable News (PACTV) about the project -

We anticipate needing a lot of help to make this happen and hope you will come out and replace a few boards when it warms up a little. (We are thinking about April.)

Proposed changes in dog leashing and waste collection for wildlife management areas

The proposed changes were the subject of a public meeting at Mass Wildlife headquarters on Tueday, February 6th. Since there are are two large wildlife management areas within Myles Standish SF (the Bentley Loop area and the Cutterfields Road area) and there are others bordering the state forest, the discussion is an important one. At its March 14th meeting, MassWildlife's board approved the new regulations with some major revisions reflecting the public comments it had received:

    Approved Wildlife Management Area Dog regulations
  • Dogs must be physically leashed at all times unless they are actively used in hunting or hunting training
  • All dog waste must be picked up within parking areas and within 100 feet of parking areas. Regulation applies to hunters and non-hunters.

A proposed prohibition of letting dogs interfere with other users' use or enjoyment of the WMA was scrapped as "too vague and hard to enforce."

The DCR does allow off-leash dog areas in many of its parks. The Friends will continue to advocate for the establishment of such areas within Myles Standish State Forest.

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.

Find DCR events in Myles Standish State Forest with their new DCR event listings search.

We hope you checked out the new ornament on the Communitree in downtown Plymouth.

communitreefriends of mssf logo ornament

Thanks to Cyndi Vickstrom and Karl Lekberg for the beautiful work!

Friends 2017 Photo Contest Winners Announced

2017 Photo Contest Winners. 14 winning photos were chosen by judges from 70 entries. The photos were enlarged and displayed at the Fishing Derby.

Hike leader reads a map
Kids on hammock in Myles Standish State Forest
Dandelion in field near Round Pond in Myles Standish State Forest
Coopers Hawk in fog
Lily pads and flowers on pond in Myles Standish State Forest
Family silhouetted on Fearing Pond campground
Campfire chat in Myles Standish State Forest
delapidated cottage in Myles Standish State Forest
Rainbow trout from Fearing Pond in Myles Standish State Forest
red-bellied cooter in MSSF
Fall scene from Camp Squanto in Myles Standish State Forest
Kids jumping into pond in Myles Standish State Forest
gnarled tree limb photo
Fog lifting from pond in MSSF

Friends 2018 Photo Contest is now open!

Entries are now being sought for our 2018 contest. Rules will be the same as in previous years. Up to 3 entries may be submitted by an individual. All photos must be taken in Myles Standish State Forest between 9/20/17 and 9/20/18. Categories are historic, landscape, flora, fauna, recreation and memorable event. Submit photos electronically in a standard format(.jpg) to on or before 9/19/2018. Please include your name, photo title, photo location (approximate),category (flora, fauna, landscape, etc.) and date. Awards will be announced at the Friend's Fishing Derby on September 29th, 2018. View previous winners


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

The Friends' 2017 Family Take Me Fishin' Festival took place on September 30th.

Despite very threatening clouds, the rain held off all day and more than 100 people registered to fish. The winning fish was a 17 inch rainbow trout caught by a little girl. She took the 4-pack of tickets to Edaville Railroad as her prize.

Fishing Derby Winnerfishing derby winner with prize

The Friends want to thank all of the Derby sponsors, including Massachusetts DCR and Mass Wildlife, along with our generous prize donors.


Friends hike in Myles Standish State Forest

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:-

December 2017

May 2017

March 2017

Centennial Celebration

Spring 2016

January 2016

December 2015

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Because of the forecast nor'easter for the 7th, the Friends' next Board meeting will take place Tuesday March 13th at 7PM in the MSSF Conference Building just up the road from MSSF 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 3/15/2018

Contact Us

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2017 Photo Contest Winners

2016 Photo Contest Winners

2015 Photo Contest Winners

2014 Photo Contest Winners

2013 Photo Contest Winners

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Favorite Trails

Camping in MSSF

Cottage Program

Native Bird Support Group

Take Me Fishin Highlights 2007-2013

Take Me Fishin Highlights 2014-2017

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Report Illegal Off Road Vehicle

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Pine Barrens Community Initiative

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MSSF Resource Management Plan

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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.

Myles Standish State Forest map available at headquarters.

A beautiful new map of the forest was published in 2016 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 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 blaze orange hat(Note: Blaze orange hats are now back in stock.).

Deer hunting season has ended.

As a reminder, while the bulk of hunting activity is in the fall, there are other hunting seasons during the year.

No hunting is allowed on Sundays.

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 bluebird boxes went up in March. Multiple broods have hatched already! Friends-led hikes are going into the forest most Thursdays 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 in 2017

It ran through October 9th. (The start date for 2018 will be May 10, 2018. ) Curlew Pond campsites 1-25 were closed while a bathroom was 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 was visible, as was 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 2017 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 returned.dan byrnes leads He led several months of very popular oaf park-sponsored events posted on the state's DCR events site. We bumped into him up in Boston and he anticipated coming back again in 2018.