Massachusetts has a wealth of historic landscapes within the Park system – highlights, organized by landscape type, are listed below.
Many of the properties managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have long been recognized for their scenic value. Through decades of use by conservationists, recreational visitors and nature enthusiasts, sites such as Mount Greylock (Massachusetts’ first state park) have come to possess cultural as well as natural significance – and afford impressive views of the surrounding landscape!
Agricultural landscapes reflect the interaction of human beings with the land.
Civilian Conservation Corps Projects
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) offered young men employment during the Great Depression. CCC enrollees in Massachusetts worked in numerous state forests and parks, building cabins and shelters, erecting dams and bridges, and creating miles of hiking trails.
The DCR manages several “rail trails” that utilize former railroad rights-of-way, offering pedestrians, bicyclists and/or cross-country skiers a chance to view the diversity of natural and historic landscapes in the Commonwealth.
Some historic landscapes defy categorization. Visitors to Walden Pond State Reservation can experience the landscape that inspired Henry David Thoreau, a pioneer in the American conservation movement. Hikers along the 90 miles of the Appalachian Trail that run through Massachusetts can enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and valleys of Berkshire County. The 2,100 mile, inter-state footpath was conceived by Massachusetts native and environmental pioneer Benton McKay in 1921.