DCR Announces Family-Friendly Self-Guided Opportunities for April School Vacation Week

Monday April 19, 2021

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will offer family-friendly Trip-Tip self-guided adventures for 22 state park locations during the traditional April school vacation week. The self-guided opportunities can be experienced at any time which started on Saturday, April 17. The DCR Trip-Tip itineraries provide families with information to lead their outdoor adventure at a local state park or watershed. Whether at one park, two parks or a multi-day adventure, Trip-Tips offer a variety of opportunities and activities like spring birding, wildlife sketching, history tours and species identification challenges.
“Spring has sprung and school vacation week is a great time for individuals and families to get outdoors, enjoy blooming habitats and experience self-guided Trip Tips for parks across the Commonwealth,” said DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “DCR continues to increase both access to and creative opportunities for the public to enjoy our first class state parks system.”
In addition to the school vacation programming, DCR is offering self-guided suggested hiking adventures at approximately 70 locations statewide. Visitors can also enjoy a StoryWalk®, a nature-themed picture book while you hike, available at locations statewide.

Some Programming highlights include:

Northeastern, Massachusetts

Beaver Lodge Hunt and Find

Location: Bradley Palmer State Park, 40 Asbury Street, Topsfield

              Harold Parker State Forest, 305 Middleton Road, North Andover

Explore the spring woods and find the homes of nature’s engineers. The beaver is a rarely seen, secretive animal, but their signs are easily noticed if you know where and how to look. This self-guided Trip-Tip takes you on a beaver lodge discovery tour in two parks to find lodges in four different locations. Sharpen your skills of observation as you look for signs that are hidden in plain sight—things that a lot of people just don’t see. Your journey will take you to Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield and Harold Parker State Forest in North Andover, two forested parks that are about 30 minutes apart. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Explore Spring Bird Migration at the Shore

Location: Revere Beach Reservation, Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere

             Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, 1399 Bennington Street, East Boston

Experience history and nature on the shore this spring. This self-guided Trip-Tip features two DCR parks that are located along a scenic ocean drive: Revere Beach Reservation and Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. Activities include viewing late winter species at the coastal water’s edge, searching for and photographing noteworthy buildings and structures that grace the shoreline, and exploring a saltmarsh filled with a variety of spring birds including the American Black Duck, Brant and, Great Blue Heron at Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. Don’t forget to bring along your binoculars, spotting scope, camera, and sketch pad. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Central Massachusetts

Spring Ramble

Location: Quabbin Reservoir, Gate 39, Route 110 & South Meadow Road, Clinton

Quabbin Reservoir is a vital water supply source for approximately 3 million people in Massachusetts. Participants will discover three unique areas in the Quabbin Reservation that spotlight what life was like before four towns were removed to build the reservoir: Quabbin Park, Quabbin Park Cemetery and Enfield Lookout Trail, and Dana Common (Gate 40). Please note, dogs are not allowed anywhere in Quabbin Park or Quabbin Reservation. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Explore Wachusett Watershed

Location: Wachusett Reservoir, 180 Beaman St., West Boylston

Explore the Wachusett Watershed. This DCR Trip-Tip self-guided adventure features easy walks located within 15 minutes driving time of one another in the Wachusett Watershed area for great views of water features. Visit these three locations: North Dike Wachusett Reservoir in Clinton for Earth, Wind and Water; Gate 22 Wachusett Reservoir in West Boylston for Forest Hike, and Mass Central Rail Trail in Sterling for Watershed View. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Explore the Central Valley

Locations: Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

               Upton State Forest, 205 Westboro Road, Upton

               Moore State Park, 1 Sawmill Road, Paxton

Massachusetts’ state parks are known for their scenic and natural beauty, but visitors can also see evidence of the human history of the area. Families will experience a walk along the Tow Path at Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Along the way you will see a dam and control gate, the remains of a bridge, and the Stanley Woolen Mill which used water power from the canal to operate machinery during the industrial revolution.

At Upton State Forest, explore the remains of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp from the 1930s. Take a walk on the Healthy Heart Loop to Moore State Park in Paxton. Enjoy the Water Power Walk to explore the remains of the mill village built on this site. Discover how they used the creek to power the mills that were the heart of the village. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Southeastern Massachusetts

Spring is Blossoming Adventure

Locations: Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton

               Bristol Blake State Reservation, 108 North Street, Norfolk

                  F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, 45 Mill Street, Foxborough

Discover parks with diverse woodlands and view the wildlife living in the forest! This self-guided Trip-Tip features three DCR parks that are located close to one another in Norfolk County: Borderland State Park, Bristol Blake State Reservation, and F. Gilbert Hills State Forest. Participants will enjoy Botanical Sketching at Borderland State Park, Birding at Bristol Blake State Reservation and Tree Identification Challenge at F. Gilbert Hills State Forest. Suitable for all ages. Parking fees apply at Borderland State Park only.

Blue Hills Spring Exploration

Location: Blue Hills Reservation, 695 Hillside Street, Milton

Investigate the Spring Exploration of the Blue Hills Reservation. This self-guided Trip-Tip features three park areas located within the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation. Activities include a walk along the edge of Marigold Marsh, exploring Brookwood Farm, and a Scavenger Hunt on your way to Great Blue Hill Summit. The Blue Hills Reservation encompasses approximately 10 square miles and stretches from Dedham to Quincy, and Milton to Randolph, providing a large open space only 35 miles from Boston. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Western Massachusetts

Sensing Spring

Location: Bradley Farm, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough

              Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, MA Route 8, Cheshire and Adams

              Glen Meadow Loop, Greylock Glen, Gould Road, Adams

Springtime is in the air. Warm breezes and the sweet scents of spring awaken our senses, enticing us to get out and explore nature’s long awaited revival. The ‘Sensing Spring’ Trip Tip leads you to Bradley Farm Interpretive Trail at Mount Greylock State Reservation in Lanesborough; Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Cheshire, and Adams; and Glen Meadow Loop at Greylock Glen in Adams. Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.

Spring Migration

Locations: Norwottuck Rail Trail, 292 Station Road, Amherst

                   Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation, 300 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield

                  Canalside Rail Trail, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls
Each spring, thousands of migrating birds fly north through the Connecticut River Valley to nest. They join year-round resident birds looking for the best places to raise families. As you bike and hike and “migrate from park to park” like a bird, meet the early birds of spring and immerse yourself in the season. In this ‘Spring Migration’ Trip Tip, these three signature parks are within 50 minutes of each other. With this guide, and a little preparation, each adventure offers a fresh look at how to fly full speed into spring.Suitable for all ages. No parking fees apply.
Visitors are also encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #DCRTripTip.
DCR asks visitors to park in designated areas only, and if a parking lot is full come back another time. Many visitor centers remain closed. However, restrooms or porta-johns within many DCR parks remain open. Dogs must be on leash in state parks unless signage designates otherwise. Dogs are not permitted on DCR Water Supply Protection areas.
When visiting state parks, DCR offers general guidance for visitors to follow:

  • If a facility or park is crowded, please consider leaving the area and either visiting a different location or returning at a later date or time (typically state parks are less busy during the week and/or early in the morning)

  • Follow posted rules, such as “carry in, carry out” trash policies and posted parking restrictions

  • Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people

  • Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals

  • Wear a facial mask or covering in public

  • Practice healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds, and,

  • Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population.

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