Less than an hour’s drive north of Boston, the Harold Parker Planning Unit includes the 3,295-acre Harold Parker and 1,045-acre Boxford State Forests. The forests contain 13 ponds, 105 certified vernal pools, 7 state-listed rare species, and several Native American and colonial archaeological sites.
Harold Parker State Forest offers 93 campsites tucked into the forest near Frye Pond. Fishing, canoeing, and non-motorized boating are also popular activities at Field and Stearns Ponds. Visitors use approximately 59 miles of trails and unpaved forest roads for walking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Interpretive programs offer the opportunity to learn about the rich cultural and natural history of the forest and the surrounding area. The day use area at Berry Pond, which contains picnic and swimming facilities, closed in 2009 due to the lack of DCR staff. Boxford State Forest provides hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing facilities.
Public input is an important component of the process. It enhances communication and cooperation among the DCR, park visitors, stakeholders, partners and the surrounding communities.
Three public meetings were convened as part of the RMP planning process. The first was held on April 18, 2012, a second on June 13, 2012 and the third on December 5, 2012; 30-day public comment periods followed each meeting. Public input received at these meetings and during the associated comment periods helped shape the Harold Parker Resource Management Plan, which was adopted by the DCR Stewardship Council on March 1, 2013.