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Preservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage is an important aspect of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s mission. The cultural resources that can be found in our state parks and forests span thousands of years and includes Native American sites, cellar holes and stones walls that tell the story of the state’s earliest settlement patterns, military landscapes, historic estates, and a metropolitan park system designed by a pioneer of the profession of landscape architecture, Charles Eliot. With over 100 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including eight National Historic Landmarks, the cultural resources under DCR’s care tells the story of our state and our nation. The Office of Cultural Resources (OCR) carries out the DCR’s preservation mission through stewardship of the agency’s historic buildings, structures, landscapes, archaeological sites, and archival resources.

OCR staff provides professional expertise, technical assistance, project management skills, and training opportunities in the areas of landscape preservation, preservation planning, adaptive reuse, archaeology, archival records management , and compliance with local, state and federal historic preservation laws. In addition to leading the historic preservation programs and initiatives of the agency, OCR staff directly support activities undertaken by other bureaus and divisions within the agency. As a leader in the field of historic landscape preservation, the office also provides assistance to cities and towns through the development of innovative tools for protecting their significant historic landscapes.

Contact: Patrice Kish, Director at 617-626-1378

From the Archives: Myles Standish State Forest Celebrates Its Centennial

This month marks the centennial of Myles Standish State Forest, DCR’s second largest state forest at more than 13,000 acres in Carver, Plymouth and Wareham.

Myles Standish SF Centennial

The 1916 acquisition was made by the Commonwealth’s State Forest Commission (SFC), the 2nd state forest it created, and consisted of more than 7,000 acres of light and sandy soil land covered with scrub oak which had been burned over many times by forest fires, as this species tend to be adapted to occasional light fires. It also included 13 ponds and lakes totaling more than 300 acres. The creation of this state forest was for both reforestation (white, red and Scotch pine) and for recreational camping.

At the July 5, 1916 meeting of the SFC, the Commissioners "voted that the Plymouth and Carver reservation be officially named "Myles Standish State Forest” “in keeping with the history of Old Plymouth County.”

As early as 1919, lakes in the new state forest were being laid out into camping and bungalow sites. The work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1933 and 1942 vastly improved the recreational development of this state forest.

Today, Myles Standish is a popular destination among recreation enthusiasts, offering day use swimming, and five camping areas, tucked into the forest or set along the edges of four of the park's 16 ponds. There are 15 miles of bicycle trails, 35 miles of equestrian trails and 13 miles of hiking trails that take visitors deep into the forest, which includes one of the largest contiguous pitch pine/scrub oak communities north of Long Island.

Fireplace at Myles Standish SF, 1920s
Fireplace at Myles Standish SF, 1920s