Otter River State Forest
|Otter River State Forest|
|Massachusetts State Forest|
|Towns||Templeton, Winchendon, Royalston|
|Elevation||935 ft (285 m) |
|Area||1,022 acres (414 ha) |
|Management||Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation|
|Website: Otter River State Forest|
Otter River State Forest is a publicly owned forest and recreational preserve located in the towns of Templeton, Winchendon, and Royalston in Massachusetts managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The state forest encompasses the land surrounding the junction of the Otter and Millers rivers. Habitats include freshwater marsh, northern hardwood stands, and pine groves planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps to reforest former farmlands.
The forest was the first property acquired by the State Forest Commission in 1915; it was formally established in 1917. A 100-year birthday celebration was held on the forest grounds in August 2015.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was active in the forest during the 1930s. The Corps' handiwork can be seen in the dam at the northern end of Beaman Pond and the visitor contact station on the east side of the pond. The pond's Corps-built stone bathhouse no longer exists.
Activities and amenities
- Day-use area: The developed portion of the forest is accessed from Winchendon Road (Rt 202) on the north side of the village of Baldwinville. Facilities centered on Beaman Pond include a swimming beach, ballfield, picnicking areas, and pavilion. Handicapped-accessible facilities include restrooms and showers.
- Trails: The extensive trail system is used for walking, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and dog-sledding.
- Camping: There are 85 seasonal campsites, including yurts.
- The forest also offers fishing, restricted hunting, and interpretive programs.
- The camping club that formed at Otter River State Forest as the New England Campers Association in 1957 and known today as the North American Family Campers Association maintains a brick garden to remember members and chapters. A garden bench is dedicated to former NAFCA President, Roger Swallow (1941-2007).
- "Otter River State Forest". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "Otter River State Forest". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Shary Page Berg (1999). Beth McKinney, ed. "The Civilian Conservation Corps: A Statewide Survey of Civilian Conservation Corps Resources". Massachusetts Office of Historic Resources. pp. 68–69. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
- Kent, Keith (August 4, 2015). "Otter River Forest celebrates major milestone". Athol Daily News. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
- "Obituary: Mr. Roger L. Swallow". The Advertiser Democrat. Norway, Maine. March 29, 2007.