Five Ways Families Can Enjoy MA State Parks

Western MA State Forests: Where Shall We Go Today?

How can families enjoy our state parks… let me count the way! Gini Traub, Regional Environmental Education Coordinator at Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation recently shared with Hilltown Families five different family initiatives they offer at our state parks.  These initiatives encourage families to explore the diverse natural, cultural and recreational resources our state parks provide:

Great Parks Pursuit

The Great Park Pursuit (GPP) is a free family adventure, connecting families, or teams, with their state parks. Hike to amazing views, step back in time, uncover stories in stone, cast away, explore the night sky, and much more. Visit www.mass.gov/dcr/gpp for information or to register your team. Teams who earn stickers from programs in six different GPP categories are invited to the Grand Finale on September 10. Eligible teams can also enter a lottery for great prizes!

Discovery Packs for Families

Make your own adventure at participating parks. Each Pack has the supplies and information you need to get started. Look for birds; examine the rocks, explore streams, ponds, woods and fields, [learn about some of the critters that inhabit our parks]. Stop by the park’s Visitor Center or speak with the Park Interpreter to see what what’s available. Parks include DAR State Forest in Goshen, Mount Greylock in Lanesborough, Tolland in East Otis, Mount Tom in Holyoke, Skinner in Hadley, Mount Holyoke Range, and Erving State Forest and others.

Park Passport

Massachusetts has one of the largest and most diverse state park systems in the country! Document your travels with passport stamps of original artwork depicting a special feature of participating parks. Make it into an adventure, and create lasting memories. Visit www.mass.gov/dcr/passport for information and to download your free passport. “Where shall we go today?”

Healthy Heart Trails

Walk at your own pace on gentle terrain. DCR’s Healthy Heart Trails are designed for people who would like to walk but may not be sure where to begin. There are over 70 designated Healthy Heart Trails in Massachusetts State Forest and Parks, so there is one near you. Most are less than 1.5 miles. Visit www.mass.gov/dcr/recreate/hht and look for the green and white healthy heart trail symbol.

Self-Guided Family Hikes

So many trails! Which ones to choose? Visit the DCR website, www.mass.gov/dcr/recreate/trails. Click on “Self-Guided Hikes” for Western, Central, Southeast, and Blue Hills Massachusetts State Forests and Parks. Brochures describe a selection ranging from easy to strenuous and highlight what makes each trail special. “It’s your choice.”

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