Friday, November 28, 2008


Annual Meeting May 8, 2008
Friends of Myles Standish State Forest (FMSSF) celebrated its first year of accomplishments and recognized the 82 members and volunteers who have helped make a difference in the Myles Standish State Forest. After electing officers, Peter McLaughlin, East Entrance Loop Trail Team Leader, presented a slide show on the proposed new trail at the East Entrance. Nick Holland, the founder of Land Stewardship, Inc., followed, speaking about his mapping of all of the trails in MSSF for the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)—including trails created by illegal off highway vehicles (OHV’s). Nick and DCR Forester James Rassman led a discussion on what FMSSF can do to protect the forest from further degradation by illegal OHV’s. The FMSSF board is considering Nick and Jim’s suggestions.

Park Serve Day/CCC Celebration May 17
Thank you to many FMSSF volunteers who helped DCR build the first amphitheater in MSSF during Park Serve Day! Conceived by Department of Recreation Director Priscilla Geigis and designed by Brian Shanahan, Regional Director SE MA DCR, the amphitheater is now complete and ready to schedule for community events. You may call (508) 866-2580 to book your event!
Over two hundred people gathered at the MSSF headquarters recreation field to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and to honor the 100,000 enrollees from Massachusetts. Special guests included nine “CCC boys” and family members. At the award ceremony Priscilla Geigis presented the men with commemorative caps and Certificates of Recognition on behalf of the State for their part in developing Myles Standish State Forest, one of 800 forests and parks developed by the CCC throughout the United States between 1933 and 1942.
Thank you to all of you who helped make the Park Serve Day/CCC Celebration fun and memorable, especially: Shaw’s Markets; Rogue Blues Band; Ross MacVicar, chainsaw artist; Capt. John Boats; Arnold Arboretum; Dreamscape Landscaping; Morse Nursery; Eastern Mountain Sports;
Jeanne O’Brien; Ellen Walsh, Alec Gillman, DCR Fire Dept., and all of our DCR partners. Many Thanks!

Equestrian Campground Improvements
By Carol Dunham, Equestrian
Fourteen members and friends of the Bristol County Horsemen's Association (BCHA) met at the new Equestrian Camp Area earlier this year for a workday to ready the sites for the April 18th opening of the 2008 equestrian camp season. Organizing this industrious group was Bob and Pat Desrosiers, their son Chris and a new host Lauri DiBenedetto. The eager beavers included Debbie Theriault, Karen McGrath, Wendy Wolfe Cardarelli, Betty Goncalves, Al Langlais, John and Liz Norton, Darlene Parks, Eve Viau, and Carol Dunham.
There was no lacking of tools as everyone came with their own wheelbarrows, rakes, loppers, pruners, etc. The focus was on removing debris, moving the picnic tables, spreading the woodchips, lopping sharp limbs in the horse's area, stacking firewood and cleaning the fire pits. The rain held off long enough to finish the 37 campsites and relax with a nice potluck lunch. Thanks guys/gals for a job well done.
P.S. There is still MUCH to do . . .
Note: FMSSF would like to acknowledge Bob and Pat DesRoisers. Bob and Pat’s long hours of hard work in MSSF has transformed the Charge Pond camping area and their unfailing support of friend’s projects over the past year has added immeasurably to our success. Thank you very much.

Paved Bike Path Evaluation
After DCR swept the paved bike paths, Forest Supervisor John Roberts, asked FMSSF to conduct an evaluation of the paths. Donald Gantz stepped forward and completed the task. Here are some important excerpts from Don’s report. The complete report can be found at
1) Trail starting at headquarters, terminating at Rocky Pond area (runs north-south for just over four miles; gate 87- gate 4): A rolling, curvy, enjoyable trail with East Head Reservoir views and several areas of tall white pines. Can be bumpy in places with raised pavement due to tree roots and frequent narrow grooves (expansion cracks/drainage?). Some of these grooves are pretty deep. They also tend to assist in keeping speeds down. Mountain bike tires or hybrid width tires are recommended because they provide some cushioning.
2) Trail starting at East Head Reservoir, paralleling Upper College Pond Road and Alden Road, terminating at the East Entrance, Long Pond Road (gate 91 - gate 35). This trail is very nice with gentle curves and rolling terrain. Much of the trail is lined with short (up to 2 feet high) shrub oak. Trail meanders through several groves of tall white pine trees with ferns covering the ground below. The trail surface is generally quite smooth with occasional perpendicular cracks and a few raised areas due to tree roots. There are a couple of 50-75 foot stretches of dirt and sand when the bike trail crosses open areas (gas main lines, high tension wire area). Again, it would be prudent to use a bike with hybrid or mountain bike tires.
3) Cluster of trails located east and southeast of headquarters and East Head Reservoir leading to Charge and Fearing Ponds. All trails are in very good condition with minimal ridges from tree roots and a few perpendicular grooves. Hybrid and mountain bike tires are appropriate here although I negotiated pretty well with a road bike.
Note: Bruce and Bill Price spent many hours working to maintain miles of paved bike paths both in work parties and on their own. FMSSF offer our thanks and appreciation of their work in the forest.

MSSF Receives Its First Bike Rack
Mr. Leo McRae, owner of Gail Force Fence in Plymouth, donated and installed the forest’s first bike rack. Brian Shanahan, DCR Regional Director, selected a spot for the bike rack at MSSF headquarters convenient to the forest offices, interpretive center, amphitheater and bike trails. Leo, who has spent a lot of time in MSSF, said that the forest is a gem that has the potential to become the recreational center to people in the area. Thanks, Leo, for your generous gift and your commitment to improving MSSF.

East Entrance Project
By Kevin Madley
More than a dozen species of plants have been added to the scenery at the East Entrance of the Forest. The planting occurred over a couple of weekends in June through the assistance of approximately ten volunteers and several fun hours of digging holes, toting loaming and mulch, and carefully surrounding each plant with a loam and mulch moat to help direct water the plant roots. The crew made quick work of the task and over a hundred plants went in surprisingly quick, despite it being the first muggy weekend of the summer.
On subsequent trips Board members have heard favorable reviews of the plantings success in beautifying the area and creating a greater park feel to the entrance. The atmosphere will be enhanced with each season the plants get to expand into the spaces and create a more continuous presence. One park visitor liked the plantings enough to uproot one and take it with them. The park staff and local police have been made aware to keep an eye out for any "plant collectors" at the East Entrance and verify the cause of any digging activities.
A few tasks remain for the East Entrance Beautification Project in checking that the plants are getting enough water, adding mulch to fill in areas around plantings, add tables/benches, re-construct the median, etc.
One of the goals of the project was to add plant varieties that will bring seasonal interests to the location through various colors, textures, and animal attractions. Keep your eyes out to see how the site may offer surprises each season.
Note: Thank you to Eastern Mountain Sports, Plymouth, for partnering with FMSSF on National Trails Day (June 7) to work at the East Entrance. Also, thank you to Panera Bread for supplying lunch for all the volunteers; Ron Hunter, who assisted Kevin in organizing the work party; John Roberts, the Friends’ Project Manager; and to all of the DCR staff who helped, especially the Fire Department, who watered the new plants using a fire truck!

Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Update
1) Friends concerned about illegal OHV riding in MSSF should be aware that a bill concerning OHV’s is now in the House Committee on Ways and Means and will soon move to the House floor for a vote. The bill, An Act Relative to the Regulation of Snow and Recreation Vehicles (S. 2772), has passed through the Senate. Unfortunately, both the OHV community and environmentalists have found fault with the bill. One concern is that the bill has not had a public hearing. FMSSF will keep you posted on S. 2772.
2) The Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network has published suggestions for citizens and groups for dealing with illegal OHV use. See to find out what you can do to help prevent illegal OHV riders from destroying MSSF and other conservation lands.

REI Group Event - Saturday, July 19
REI invited Friends of Myles Standish Forest to participate in the REI Friends and Family Sales Event on Saturday, July 19 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Hingham store. REI asked only five non-profit organizations (those which REI considers to be their partners) to this “invitation only” event. Pam Crowell, who accepted the invitation on behalf of FMSSF said, “It is a grand opportunity to distribute information about our programs and to speak directly with customers at the Hingham store. Thanks to Pam for promoting FMSSF and for fostering a new partnership with REI.

Forest Plant Walk - Saturday, July 27
Irina Kadis, a field botanist working at the Arnold, is inviting friends to join her for a "members only" walk along the Easthead Reservoir Trail on Saturday, July 26. Irina will talk about the plants along the trail—spectacular mountain hollies in fruit, exquisite orchids, colorful goat's rue, and more. The walk will start from the MSSF Headquarters parking lot at 10:00 a.m. Bring water and a snack. All ages are welcome but the walk is limited to 12. Please contact Irina at to reserve a spot.
To entice you further, you are welcome to visit Salicicola, Irina and Alexey Zinovjev's incredible botanical website. The website gallery contains 4,575 photos of 764 species—252 species from MSSF! Here you will see their showcase plants for the month of July. They are spectacular! The site also has a fun and informative quiz that will help you prepare for the walk!
July highlights are all from Myles Standish, so you won't even have to search Salicicola in order to see the coolest plants!
1. Go to
2. Click on "Eastern MA Vascular Plants."
3. Wait 60 seconds. You will see another set of photographs (there are always two sets for every showcase). The last three pictures in the second set aren't from Myles though.
4. If you want to know what the plants are just touch the pictures with your mouse.

FMSSF Featured Group at Carver Farmer’s Market - Sunday, August 31
An opportunity has arisen which will enable us to get our critical message out to the community. Friends of Carver Public Library invited FMSSF to exhibit our materials, including membership forms, at the Sunday Farmers' Market in Carver in Shurtleff Park now through September. We will share a booth with several other local nonprofits. On August 31, FMSSF will be the featured organization. Pam Crowell has taken the lead in organizing the event. With the help of Irina Kadis, FMSSF will exhibit non-native, invasive plants. Chainsaw Artist, Ross MacVicar will donate a sculpture to raffle to benefit FMSSF. According to Pam, “Carver Farmer’s Market is a hoot with music, crafts, demonstrations, and lots of native fruits and veggies.” Come if you can!

Fishing Event—Saturday, September, 27
Plans are underway for FMSSF’s 2nd Annual Fishing Event—Take Me Fishin’! Mark your calendars for another day of fishing and nature activities in one of the forest’s prettiest locations, Fearing Pond. MassWildlife will supply fishing poles and fishing licenses for the day. MassWildlife Angler Education Coordinator, Jim Lagacy, has promised to stock Fearing Pond just days before the event! The event is posted on the MassWildlife website and the word is out to Angler Education Instructors to come help FMSSF teach fishing techniques to kids (and adults).
We already have a number of new and returning volunteers signed up to help but we need and welcome all volunteers. To help, please contact Sharl Heller at

Membership Renewal Request
A note from Pam Crowell, Secretary, FMSSF
Dear Friend of Myles Standish,
Perhaps you have been to an informational meeting, participated in a workday, attended a Friend's sponsored event or visited our web page. Or perhaps you have ridden, hiked or biked through the forest and noticed the changes the Friends and DCR, working together, have made. We couldn't have done it without your support. Won't you renew your membership now so our work may continue?
Checks may be sent to Robert Bentley, Treasurer, Friends of Myles Standish State Forest, Inc., 60 Wenham Road, Carver, MA 02330.

Please clip and send with your tax-free donation



Forest/volunteer interests: ___________________________________________________________________
___Renewal ___New Member
___Individual $10 ___Family $15 ___Forest Sponsor $100 ___Patron $350
For updates on Friends of Myles Standish State Forest visit
See you in the forest! And thank you for your support.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

Thursday, October 18, 2007


On Saturday, October 27, Friends of Myles Standish State Forest is pairing up with The Nature Conservancy to provide a tour that will demonstrate the fire ecology of Pine Barrens and show us how fire is used to manage the forest. Bob Bale, The Nature Conservancy Fire and Restoration Manager, will lead a moderate walk. Bob will start the tour from the Upper College Pond Road parking lot at 10:00 a.m. He expects it to last about two hours. Space for the tour is limited. To sign up, call TNC (508) 732-0300 x 21. Directions to the parking lot may be found online at, or visit FMSSF website at

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Next Friends of Myles Standish State Forest Meeting

Anyone living in or near Pine Barrens will want to attend the next Friends of Myles Standish State Forest meeting, Thursday, 
October 25, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at “the Barn”, MSSF Headquarters. The speaker will be Ron Aseltine, Plymouth County Fire Warden District II (in Myles Standish State Forest). Ron says Pine Barrens are the Nation’s third most dangerous area for out of control wildfires.

With so many of us living in forested areas, we need to prepare for the inevitable. Come and learn what our forest 
managers and firefighters are doing to help prevent another wildfire disaster; and just as important, learn what you can do to 
protect your own property and the forest we all love. We urge you to attend this important meeting.

Also at this meeting, Friends will pay tribute to former MSSF Supervisor, Robert A. MacKenzie, who held MSSF together for over 17 years! The Department of Conservation and Recreation promoted Robert to District Supervisor of Blue Hills. Now DCR must find a replacement. Not an easy task! Everyone is welcome to Robert’s farewell celebration!

To find the Barn, enter the MSSF forest. Follow the signs to Headquarters. We will have a large sign posted at the Barn. Please call FMSSF (508) 833-3588 for more information.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Take Me Fishin'! Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

On Saturday, September 29, 2007, 10:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m., FMSSF will hold its first annual fishing event, "Take Me Fishin'!" at beautiful Fearing Pond in the Myles Standish State Forest. This is a free event aimed at giving children in our community the opportunity to learn to fish, to develop a sense of stewardship for our natural resources, and to get outside. Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and MassWildlife will provide all of the equipment for fishing. We are planning other fishing related activities too. FMSSF will have trained volunteers on hand to teach kids and their parents some of the basics of fishing so that they might make fishing a family tradition. Fearing Pond has a number of BBQ's and picnic tables. Bring your lunch and stay the whole day!

See the link "DCR" at the sidebar for directions to the Myles Standish State Forest. This site has a PDF map of Myles Standish State Forest showing Fearing Pond.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, September 19, 7:00 p.m.

Friends of Myles Standish State Forest will hold its next meeting on September 19, at 7:00 p.m., at "the barn", across the street from the MSSF Headquarters. Friends will focus on establishing our priorities for the next twelve months. Bring your ideas for helping improve the forest.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ron Hunter spotted this pretty Spotted Turtle!

Ron Hunter spotted this lovely turtle while he was working on the Easthead Trail. Spotted turtles are known to live 26 years but they may live to be twice that age! Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game is concerned about these little beauties because populations are declining and now they are on the Massachusetts Endangered Species List. Unfortunately, they like to burrow underneath grassy or muddy areas near ponds and in marshlands during the summer to keep cool. Quite often people and vehicles crush them but many are killed on roads. If you see a spotted turtle, or any other wildlife species, observe from afar or try to protect it while its crossing the road. Don't forget. All wild animals bite.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


This is by far the biggest Snapping Turtle I've ever seen. He/She was aside of the road on it's way to the nearest careful when you go into that water.