It is the mission of DFW's Habitat Management Program to provide a range of grassland, shrubland, and forest conditions that conserves the biological diversity of species, communities, and ecosystems on state wildlife lands. Foresters and biologists in the DFW Habitat Management program conduct abandoned field reclamation to provide critical shrubland habitats, and conduct wood products sales to provide young forest habitat, which is in increasingly short supply throughout southern New England. Habitat Management Program staff also work cooperatively with the DFW Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program  to restore degraded habitats important to rare species. DFW conducts public Habitat Management Site Walks at all managed sites so that the general public can see first-hand the types of management being applied on state lands, learn about why different management practices are chosen, and understand the resulting impacts on wildlife

Site walks are designed to provide an opportunity for interested conservation-minded citizens and landowners to observe habitat management operations that benefit different kinds of wildlife in special need of conservation. Conducted by DFW biologists, ecologists,  and foresters, these professionals discuss both planned and completed habitat management activities. Attendees will have a chance to encounter some of the wildlife benefiting from these activities, and to learn about the enhanced recreational opportunities that result from this work. DFW encourages landowners interested in managing their own properties for wildlife to take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about wildlife habitat management. Dress for the weather; plan on all events occurring rain or shine. Consider bringing insect repellant, binoculars, camera, sunscreen and wearing sturdy boots. For cold weather, dress warmly!


Please continue to check this page
or the MassWildlife Calendar for upcoming habitat site walks.

 


Past Wildlife Habitat Management Site Walks

2013

November 14 –Quashnet Woods SR/WMA Habitat Management Public Meeting, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Reserve Headquarters, Falmouth - The public is invited to a joint DFW/DCR  Habitat Management public meeting on November 14th at 7:00 PM to learn about planned restoration of fire-adapted pitch pine/scrub oak habitat that will benefit New England Cottontail, and other wildlife species of conservation concern. Learn about why the New England Cottontail is a candidate species for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act, and what steps DFW and DCR are taking to benefit this species. A public site walk will occur at a future date TBA.

October 10 –Southwick WMA Habitat Site Walk, Southwick - The public is invited to a DFW Habitat Site Walk on October 10th at 4:00 PM at the Southwick WMA to learn about planned management to restore and expand grassland habitat for rare and declining species. Dress warmly for the weather and wear sturdy boots; the walk will take place with rain, light snow, or sunshine. If there is a severe inclement weather forecast, site walk cancellation information will be recorded at (508)389-6324

October 3 –Muddy Brook WMA Habitat Site Walk, Hardwick - The public is invited to a DFW Habitat Site Walk on October 3th at 4:00 PM at the Patrill Hollow section of the Muddy Brook WMA to learn about planned management to reclaim extensive, fire-adapted pitch pine/scrub oak habitat. Dress warmly for the weather and wear sturdy boots; the walk will take place with rain, light snow, or sunshine. If there is a severe inclement weather forecast, site walk cancellation information will be recorded at (508)389-6324

September 24 – Maple Hill WMA Habitat Site Walk, West Stockbridge - The public is invited to a DFW Habitat Site Walk on September 24th at 10AM at the Maple Hill WMA to learn about planned management to reclaim extensive abandoned field habitats for declining wildlife species. The site walk will also include a visit to a unique area of Rich Mesic Forest on the WMA which will be left intact because it supports multiple rare species that benefit from full-canopy forest. Dress warmly for the weather and wear sturdy boots; the walk will take place with rain, light snow, or sunshine. If there is a severe inclement weather forecast, site walk cancellation information will be recorded at (508)389-6324.


2011

December 13 - Phillipston WMA Habitat Site Walk, Phillipston - The public is invited to a DFW Habitat Site Walk on December 13 at 2PM at the   Phillipston Wildlife Management Area (WMA) pdf format of phillipston-wma.pdf
. Meet at the parking pullout on Queen Lake Road (Rte 101) .1 mile west of the intersection with Narrow Lane in Phillipston. John Scanlon, DFW Forestry Project Leader, will discuss planned habitat management activities for this property. The planned management will establish small patches of young forest habitat that results in a forest with greater structural and wildlife diversity. It will also assist the Town of Phillipston in resolving a public safety issue associated with winter icing on Queen Lake Road (Route 101). Dress warmly for the weather and wear sturdy boots; the walk take place with rain, light snow, or sunshine. If there is a severe inclement weather forecast, site walk cancellation information will be recorded at (508)389-6324.

October 6 - Southwick, Southwick WMA, Meet at 6:00 PM at the DFW parking area on the south side of South Longyard Road. Walk through portions of a 50 acre site with some remnant sandplain grassland and meadow habitat adjacent to overgrown pasture lands that will be reclaimed into managed shrubland habitat to support native shrubland birds in need of conservation.

September 1- Newbury, Martin Burns WMA pdf format of martinhburnswma.pdf
- The public site walk will be from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Meet at the DFW parking area on the north side of Orchard Street. Walk through portions of a 90- acre complex of abandoned pasture lands that support rare species including insects and herps (reptiles/amphibians). This parcel includes about 20 acres of tree clearing that was completed in 2008 to re-connect separate portions of old pasture areas. Learn about and discuss the benefits of re-establishing large open habitat patches to benefit native shrubland birds in special need of conservation, and the impact this work has on existing rare species living on the property. Biologists will also discuss on-going invasive plant control efforts at the site.

September 8 - Windsor, Eugene Moran WMA pdf format of eugene-moran-wma.pdf
, The public site walk will be from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Meet at the DFW parking area on the east side of Route 8A in Windsor. Walk through portions of a 90 acre complex of abandoned pasture lands that support native shrubland birds in need of conservation, and enjoy fine views of the Mt. Greylock range, and if the sky is clear, the Catskill Mountains in New York state. Biologists will also discuss on-going invasive plant control efforts at the site.

September 15 - Falmouth, Francis Crane WMA pdf format of francisacranewma.pdf
-The public site walk will be from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Meet at the DFW parking area on the north side of Rt. 151. Visit two portions of this Wildlife Management Area managed for rare species habitat using a combination of prescribed fire and mechanical mowing. We'll begin in the northern portion of the WMA and walk portions of an abandoned airstrip that has been reclaimed into grassland habitat that supports rare species including the Grasshopper Sparrow pdf format of Grasshopper Sparrow
. We'll end in the southern portion of the WMA looking at reclaimed pitch pine/oak savannah and discuss the positive impacts this work has had on both rare species habitat and reducing wildfire danger.

September 22 - Athol, Millers River WMA pdf format of millersriverwma2.pdf
file size 1MB - The public site walk will be from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. through the Cass Meadow portion of the Miller's River WMA. Meet at the DFW gate on the south side of Pequoic Street. This a unique combination of state, town, and private conservation land at the confluence of the Miller's River and the Tully River in the middle of downtown Athol. View abandoned agricultural lands that are mowed periodically to provide shrubland bird habitat.

September 29 - Chesterfield, Hiram Fox WMA pdf format of hiram-h-fox-wma.pdf
, Meet at 6:00 PM at the intersection of Ireland Street and Ireland Street Extension. Walk through portions of an active hayfield and adjacent areas of reclaimed abandoned fields to learn about and discuss active habitat management for native shrubland birds in need of conservation. Biologists will also discuss on-going invasive plant control efforts at the site.

August 11 - Tornado Damage and Wildlife Site Visit, Southbridge - The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is postponing the public site visit to the tornado impact area at McKinstry Brook WMA in Southbridge that was originally scheduled at 6:30 pm due to recent cleanup efforts of neighbors impacted by the tornado nearby. DFW tentatively plans to re-schedule the public site visit sometime in the fall of 2011.

August 18 - Tyngsborough, Dunstable Brook WMA pdf format of dunstable_brook_wma.pdf
The public site walk will be from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Meet at the DFW parking area on the west side of Dunstable Road. This tour will take participants through portions of a 50 acre complex of abandoned fields that that supports rare species including the wood turtle . These abandoned fields were reclaimed in 2009, and the work included establishment of three wood turtle nesting areas as well as 15 acres of tree clearing re-connected two separate fields. Biologists will discuss the benefits of directly enhancing rare species habitat and the benefits of re-establishing large open habitat patches to benefit native shrubland birds in special need of conservation. Biologists will also discuss invasive plant control work that is occurring at the site.

Directions to Dunstable Brook WMA: From Route 3. Take Exit 34 onto Westford Road toward Westford. Proceed to the traffic light at the intersection of Westford Road and Dunstable Road (locally known as 'Flint's Corner'). Turn right onto Dunstable Road. Pass Red Gate Lane on your left, and the parking area will soon be on your left.

August 25 - Leyden, Leyden WMA pdf format of leydenwma.pdf
This public site walk will be from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Meet at the DFW parking area on the south side of Glen Road in Leyden. Tour extensive areas of reclaimed abandoned field habitat and reclaimed lowbush blueberry fields (bring a small container to take some blueberries home with you!!), and enjoy fine views of the Deerfield valley. Learn about and discuss the plight of native shrubland birds with DFW Biologists, and also discuss the on-going treatment of invasive plants at the sight.

June 3 - Cheshire, Stafford Hill WMA - Public Pre-harvest Forestry Site Visit, Cheshire - The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) will be reclaiming about 60 acres of abandoned field habitat during February-March of 2011 on the DFW Stafford Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) pdf format of stafford-hill-wma.pdf
in Cheshire. Reclamation activities will include brush mowing, tree clearing and controlling invasive plants. Interested citizens are invited to this public site visit to see the property and learn about the planned reclamation activities, the wildlife that will benefit from the activity, and the recreational opportunities resulting from the effort (bird watching, upland game bird hunting, etc.). Meet DFW Upland Program Coordinator Ben Mazzei and DFW Western District Supervisor Andrew Madden at 4:00 pm on at the Stafford Hill WMA on Stafford Hill Road in Cheshire. Directions: From Route 116, turn south onto Stafford Hill Road (the turn is south of Hoosac Valley High School and north of Henry Wood Road and Sand Mill Road). Go south on Stafford Hill Road for about 0.7 miles. Park on the right-hand side of the road near the old barn.

June 10 - Hardwick, Muddy Brook WMA pdf format of muddy-brook-wma.pdf
- Meet DFW staff at 9:00 AM at the public parking area off Jackson Road in Hardwick.

June 17 - Dartmouth, Noquochoke WMA pdf format of noquochokewma.pdf
- Meet DFW staff at 9:00 AM at the public parking area off Hixville Road in Dartmouth.


2010 State Wildlife and Forest Land Tours

During the month of July, the public is invited to join professional foresters and wildlife biologists from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) on three informative evening tours on state lands located in central Massachusetts to explain and discuss state forestry and wildlife habitat management practices. These public lands have been managed for the purposes of watershed management, forest or wildlife habitat diversity. All tours will meet (rain or shine) at 6:30 PM and last until 8:00 PM. Please wear sturdy footwear and bring insect repellant. Directions to meeting places and descriptions of sites are listed below. A fourth tour offered at a sawmill and forest products company on July 28 at 6:00 PM in Orange will offered by the company and focus on the use of locally harvested trees for lumber and the manufacture of other forest products. Dates and locations of the tours are as follows:

July 7 - DCR Federated Women's Club State Forest, Petersham - This tour will take participants to two sites, a shelterwood system designed to regenerate a variety of tree and shrub species and a forest type conversion/clearcut intended to create and maintain an early successional (young) forest habitat. Meet in the center of Petersham at the Memorial Library, 23 Common Street just off Route 32 to carpool to the sites.

July 14 - DCR Quabbin Reservoir, Hardwick - Two site visits on this tour will demonstrate harvest results from forest thinning operations, enlarging forest openings, and show how forest regeneration achieves watershed management goals for species diversity and forest age structure. Meet in the center of Hardwick in front of the Hardwick Post Office at the intersection of Barre Road and Petersham Road (Route 32A) to carpool to the sites.

July 21 - DFW Phillipston Wildlife Management Area, Phillipston - This site features a 30-acre old-field white pine harvest using a seed-tree cut to regenerate a more diverse stand of mixed species, including red oak, white pine, black cherry, and hemlock. The young forest habitat created benefits several declining bird species such as Brown thrasher, Blue-winged warbler, and White-throated sparrow, all of which depend on this type of habitat. Meet at the Templeton General Store located at the intersection of Routes 101, 2A, and Baldwinville Road. Carpooling to the tour location is encouraged.

July 28 - Heyes Forest Products Sawmill, Orange - This unique sawmill and forest products manufacturing tour is being offered by Heyes Forest Products (HFP), a company that has harvested trees and manufactured lumber products from the forests of the North Quabbin region for the past 40 years. Meet at 6:00 PM at Heyes Forest Products, 34 Daniel Shays Highway (Route 202) in Orange.


2008

During the month of July, the public is invited to join professional foresters and wildlife biologists from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) on three informative evening tours on state lands located in central Massachusetts to explain and discuss state forestry and wildlife habitat management practices. These public lands have been managed for the purposes of watershed management, forest or wildlife habitat diversity. All tours will meet (rain or shine) at 6:30 PM and last until 8:00 PM. Please wear sturdy footwear and bring insect repellant. Directions to meeting places and descriptions of sites are listed below. A fourth tour offered at a sawmill and forest products company on July 28 at 6:00 PM in Orange offered by the company will focus on the use of locally harvested trees for lumber and the manufacture of other forest products. Dates and locations of the tours are as follows:

July 7- DCR Federated Women's Club State Forest, Petersham - This tour will take participants to two sites, a shelterwood system designed to regenerate a variety of tree and shrub species and a forest type conversion/clearcut intended to create and maintain an early successional (young) forest habitat. Meet in the center of Petersham at the Memorial Library, 23 Common Street just off Route 32 to carpool to the sites.

July 14 - DCR Quabbin Reservoir, Hardwick - Two site visits on this tour will demonstrate harvest results from forest thinning operations, enlarging forest openings, and show how forest regeneration achieves watershed management goals for species diversity and forest age structure. Meet in the center of Hardwick in front of the Hardwick Post Office at the intersection of Barre Road and Petersham Road (Route 32A) to carpool to the sites.

July 21 - DFW Phillipston Wildlife Management Area, Phillipston - This site features a 30-acre old-field white pine harvest using a seed-tree cut to regenerate a more diverse stand of mixed species, including red oak, white pine, black cherry, and hemlock. The young forest habitat created benefits several declining bird species such as Brown thrasher, Blue-winged warbler, and White-throated sparrow, all of which depend on this type of habitat. Meet at the Templeton General Store located at the intersection of Routes 101, 2A, and Baldwinville Road. Carpooling to the tour location is encouraged.

July 28 - Heyes Forest Products Sawmill, Orange - This unique sawmill and forest products manufacturing tour is being offered by Heyes Forest Products (HFP), a company that has harvested trees and manufactured lumber products from the forests of the North Quabbin region for the past 40 years. Meet at 6:00 PM at Heyes Forest Products, 34 Daniel Shays Highway (Route 202) in Orange.

Following up on a public site walk at the Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area in May 2008, MassWildlife's Forestry Program hosted a series of public site visits on state wildlife lands throughout the summer and fall of 2008. Each visit focused on wildlife habitat enhancement goals for the property, and the forest harvesting and other habitat management activities employed to achieve those goals. Foresters and biologists from MassWildlife led the site walks, provided information and answered attendees questions.

A schedule of public site visits follows.

  • June 18 - Herm Covey Wildlife Management Area pdf format of hermancoveywma.pdf
, Belchertown at 6:00 pm. On this property habitat management activities include white pine shelterwood harvests to establish structurally diverse young forest habitat of mixed white pine and native hardwoods. Meet outside the McLaughlin State Fish Hatchery on East St., in Belchertown, just south of Route 9.
  • July 18 at 2PM and 3PM - Eugene Moran pdf format of eugene-moran-wma.pdf
and Chalet WMAs pdf format of chaletwma.pdf
in Cheshire and Windsor - Shrubland management and forest reserve. For the first walk, which will take about an hour, meet at 2 PM at the large parking area at the Moran WMA in Windsor on the east side of Rte 8A. The second walk will begin at 3 PM, meeting at the Holiday Farm which can be reached from the Moran WMA by following Rte 8A south for 0.2 miles to Route 9. Turn right (west) on Route 9 and travel for about 4 miles, and turn right into Holiday Farm. Park near the office and prepare to hike up into the Chalet Forest Reserve. This walk will have two components; first, a half hour hike of moderate difficulty on a logging road into the forest reserve to an area with discussion on how the area came to be a reserve and how reserve status impacts wildlife habitat. At this point in the walk, attendees have the option of returning to the parking area or embarking on a further exploration of the Reserve with MassWildlife staff. This portion of the walk will be a strenuous hike through rugged terrain over a couple of hours. Participants should be in good physical condition, wear quality hiking boots, and carry water, snacks, and insect repellent.
  • August 15 - Forest Management Site Walk, Middlefield - As part of a series of Forest Management Site Walks offered by MassWildlife to the public, agency foresters will lead a site walk on state wildlife land on Friday, August 15, 2008 at 6:00 PM. This walk will focus on the results of forest cutting practices for aspen regeneration and reclamation of abandoned orchard habitat at the Fox Den Wildlife Management Area pdf format of fox-den-wma.pdf
(WMA) in Middlefield and Worthington. MassWildlife Foresters and Biologists will be on hand to provide information on the wildlife species benefiting from active forest management as well as answering questions from attendees. The walk will take place rain or shine--wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footgear for walking in the woods and fields. Bring insect repellant, binoculars and a camera! Meet at the Middlefield General Store in the center of Middlefield at the intersection of Skyline Trail and Bell Road (immediately west of the Middlefield Fair Grounds and the Middlefield Highway Garage, and across the road from the Methodist Chruch). Because of the rough terrain, car pooling from the meeting location in 4 wheel drive vehicles will be necessary. Foresters!--This public site visit will be approved for 1 Continuing Forestry Education credit in Category 1.
  • September 9 at 5PM - Peru WMA pdf format of peruwma.pdf
file size 1MB , Peru - Explore the Tracy Pond section of the Peru Wildlife Management Area, on Middlefield Road (a.k.a. Skyline Trail) and see a 13 acre regeneration harvest conducted by MassWildlife to regenerate a Norway spruce plantation to a mixed, two-aged stand of northern hardwood, Norway spruce, and white pine forest. Visit open portions of the site, retention areas of Norway spruce within the site, and an extensive un-cut stream filter of Norway spruce at one edge of the harvest area. Discuss habitat goals for the site, as well as recreational and aesthetic impacts of the harvest. Take a short 0.5 mile drive down Middlefield Road at the conclusion of the site visit to walk into Tracy Pond if your schedule allows. Meet at the entrance road into the WMA on the south side of Middlefield Road opposite the intersection with South Road in Peru, MA. (From Route 143 in the center of Peru [near the town hall and church], turn south onto South Road. Follow South Road for a distance of about 2.5 miles to the intersection with Middlefield Road (about 2.0 miles from Peru center, South Road takes a hard right turn, then a hard left turn before you come to Middlefield Road). The WMA entrance road is nearly opposite the intersection of South Road and Middlefield Road, so turn left on Middlefield Road, then immediately turn right into the WMA entrance road. There is a gate a short distance up the entrance road, but the gate will be open for additional parking).
  • October 21 at 4PM - Phillipston WMA pdf format of phillipston-wma.pdf
, Phillipston- The goal of the forest management at Phillipston is to regenerate old field white pine forest to a structurally diverse stand of mixed hardwood, hemlock, and white pine that provides adequate habitat for area-sensitive wildlife species that prefer larger patches of young forest habitat. Learn more about the forest management efforts, rare species concerns and about moose in Central Massachusetts at this walk. Meet at the WMA entrance on west side of Williamsville Road in Phillipston, MA (about 1.2 miles south of the intersection of Williamsville Road and Route 101 - Follow Route 101 southwest from the center of Templeton, MA for about 2.25 miles to Williamsville Road, turn left on Williamsville Road for about 1.2 miles).