Upcoming Programs and Events

Come Out and Play!

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Blackstone River and Canal
Blackstone River and Canal, Central Massachusetts

Fall is a wonderful time to explore your Massachusetts State Parks!  DCR offers wonderful opportunities to bike, hike, and enjoy the beautiful autumn colors!   Call the Massachusetts Fall Foliage hotline at 1-800-227-6277 for all the details.  Find suggested viewing areas at a DCR park near you!   Also, fall and winter camping opportunities are still available!  Make your reservation at www.reserveamerica.com.

October is archaeology month! Join us at Dighton Rock State Park on Saturday for Archaeology day from 10am-2pm.  Learn how to think like an archaeologist…excavate a test unit, screen for and identify artifacts, and document and record soil levels! 

There is so much to experience!  We have some wonderful programs happening statewide this week- below are few highlights!  For more information check out the DCR event and program calendar

Share your adventures @massdcr on instagram and twitter!    

 See you in the parks!

Boston Region

Bark in the Park   

Saturday, October 20, 9:30am-10:30am

Join National Park Rangers for a half-mile walk from Carson Beach to Dorchester Heights, followed by tips, treats by 2 Dogs Treats, and fun for you and your pet! Canines earn an o­fficial badge during our B.A.R.K. Ranger swearing-in ceremony. Walk departs at 9:30 am from the Edward McCormack Bath House and will conclude at Dorchester Heights for the badge ceremony and other activities.  Come in costume on October 27 and enter our costume challenge! Presented by Boston Harbor Now and the National Park Service.

Head of the Charles Regatta

Charles River  Reservation

Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21

Enjoy beautiful Charles River Reservation and check out the 54th Head of  the Charles Regatta. Check out the following link for the complete schedule and details: https://www.hocr.org/the-regatta/schedule/.

Central Region

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park

287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

Luminary Walk

Saturday, October 20, 5:30 – 6:30pm

Sponsored the Blackstone River Watershed Association in partnership with MA Dept of Conservation, Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park. Take a lantern stroll along the Blackstone Canal towpath at River Bend Farm Visitor Center, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA. Join us for a not-so-spooky walk at the water’s edge, listen for wildlife, watch out for the tricky will o’ the wisps and enjoy the scents and sounds of autumn! Kids will decorate paper bags to make their own lanterns then place a LED in each one and line the towpath with them. The walk will start before sunset and continue through twilight, as darkness falls we will return on the path which will be illuminated with the children’s lanterns. This is a 45 minute family friendly easy walk and is stroller friendly. All ages welcome and children are encouraged to wear costumes. Enjoy cocoa and cookies in the visitor center after the walk. There is no cost for this event but registration is requested at http://thebrwa.org/HalloweenWalk  for planning purposes. For more information, email maggie.plasse@thebrwa.org or call 508-278-5200. 

Mount Watatic Reservation

Route 119, Ashburnham

The Story of Forest Health

Sunday, October 21, 10:00am – 1:00pm

Meet next to the kiosk in the parking area for Mount Watatic on Rt. 119 in Ashburnham, MA for this strenuous 3-mile, 3-hour guided loop hike to the top of Mount Watatic and over to Nutting Hill. Join our DCR Director of Forest Stewardship and a Park Interpreter for a hike through the Watatic woods. We will take a close look at what makes a forest change over time, what affects our forests’ health, and what the future of our forests looks like.

Most appropriate for ages 12 and up. Must be able to complete a strenuous, uphill and downhill hike over rocks; exposed roots; and uneven, sometimes steep terrain. Sturdy hiking shoes or hiking boots are required. No open-toed shoes. Bring water and a snack.

Rain will cancel this event.

There is no restroom available at the meeting location or along the hike route. All children must be accompanied by a parent/ adult guardian. For more information or directions, call (978) 597-8802.

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

198 Purgatory Road, Sutton

Eyes on the Wild

Monday, October 22, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Have you ever noticed changes happening at your favorite nature spots? Keeping an eye on these places will give you a new appreciation for your surroundings, and help you feel more “rooted” to the places that you visit most often. Join the park interpreter to take part in a brief environmental survey of nature at Purgatory Chasm. We will learn simple techniques for making nature observations that you can use anywhere you’d like to go. You will be amazed by the changes we find week-to-week, and season-to-season. Begins at the Visitor Center. Dress for the outdoors, with sturdy footwear. Bring water, insect repellent, and sunscreen if needed. Be ready for some moderately challenging hiking, for a distance no more than 1 mile. Most appropriate for ecologists ages 10 and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Wet weather will cancel.

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation

345 Mountain Road, Princeton

Tee ID Walk

Thursday, October 25, 1:00 – 3:00pm

Join a park interpreter on a leisurely trail walk at Mount Wachusett. You will learn how to use leaves and bark to identify common species of deciduous and coniferous trees. We will also discuss forest ecology and succession of species to help us understand the makeup of a forest. As an added bonus, we will point out characteristics of old-growth trees to help you learn how to recognize them. The program will meet at the Mount Wachusett State Reservation Visitor Center. We will walk approximately 1 mile, round trip, on moderately strenuous terrain, so be sure to wear adequate footwear. All children must be accompanied by a parent/ adult guardian. The program is free, but there is a $5 parking fee at the Visitor Center ($6 for out-of-state plates).

South Region

Off the Beaten Path Hike

Borderland State Park

Friday, October 19th from 1:00PM to 3:00PM

Let’s hike some of the lesser known trails during the winter season at Borderland State Park. Each week we will change up the hike, exploring different trails and areas of the park on these easy to moderate 2-5 mile hikes. Dress for the weather, bring water, and wear winter boots. Hike is easy to moderate in difficulty. For adults and older children. Meet at the Visitor Center. Severe and inclement weather will cancel hike, please call ahead to confirm hike is still happening at (508) 238-6566. Hike is free; parking fees apply. Borderland State Park is located at 259 Massapoag Avenue in North Easton.

Off the Beaten Path Hike: Silas Road

Nickerson State Park

Friday, October 19th from 1:00PM to 3:00PM

Join the Nickerson Hikers on this fun and informative recreational hike series where we explore a different part of Nickerson State Park each week. Each hike is from 2 to 4 miles in length. Please bring water, insect repellent, and wear shoes appropriate for hiking. For adults and older children who can hike moderately difficult trails. Hike is free; no parking fees. For more information and to confirm in case of inclement weather, please call 508-896-349. Nickerson State Park is located at 3488 Main Street in Brewster.

Archaeology Day!

Dighton Rock State Park

Saturday, October 20th from 10:00AM to 2:00PM

Be an archaeologist for the day! Learn how to think like an archaeologist…excavate a test unit, screen for and identify artifacts, and document and record soil levels. Other activities focus on the extensive and rich peopling of the area dating back thousands of years. Find out why this place was and is so special to the First People of Massachusetts. Learn how to use a bow-drill, grind corn with a mortar and pestle, weave a fishing net, make a ground stone-tool fishing weight, make a ceramic pot in the traditional indigenous way, play the game of Hubhub, or even try your hand (arm) at throwing an atlatl! Visitors are welcome to bring an artifact for the experts to identify and to tour the most studied artifact in the U.S.‑Dighton Rock‑ carved by indigenous people thousands of years ago. The event is free; no parking fee. Bring water (and work gloves if excavating and screening). Dighton Rock State Park is located on Bayview Avenue in Berkley.

Beyond the Rock: Hidden Stories of Plymouth Colony

Pilgrim Memorial State Park

Saturday, October 20th 2:00PM to 2:30PM & 4:00PM to 4:30PM

There is more to the Pilgrim story than Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, and Thanksgiving! On this walking tour you will hear some of the less commonly told stories that provide a new perspective on your thoughts about the Pilgrim and Native American history here in Plymouth. The terrain is mild, with most of the walking done on pavement. The walking tour begins at the Plymouth Rock portico. Inclement weather cancels the walking tours. This program is appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and up. Visit one of the signboards in the park, located by the bathrooms or by Plymouth Rock to see the full program schedule for the day. On-street and lot parking is operated by Park Plymouth. For information on parking, visit their website at http://parkplymouth.com. Limited parking in the park is available in the cul-de-sac south of Plymouth Rock. For more information or to confirm in case of inclement weather, please call (508) 208-0675. Pilgrim Memorial State Park is located at 79 Water Street in Plymouth.

Kids Mansion Tour

Borderland State Park

Sunday, October 21st from 12:00PM 12:30PM

What would it be like to be a kid living in this huge mansion? Join the Park interpreter for this 30-minute interior tour of the Ames Mansion. This is a great historic mansion tour for families with younger kids to explore the first floor of the mansion. Meet in front of the mansion. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Rain, snow or shine. Grab a brochure of suggested family hikes from the Visitor Center or the Park Interpreter and enjoy a family walk at the park before or after your tour. Rain or shine.  For more information, please call (508) 238-6566. Tour is free; parking fees apply. Borderland State Park is located at 259 Massapoag Avenue in North Easton.

The Mystery of Dolmen Rock

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest

Sunday, October 21st from 1:00PM to 3:00PM

Take a hike to see some mysteries in the woods, including our dolmen - a large flat rock perched on three rocks, much like a table. Retired park supervisor Ron Clough will also take us to a number of standing stones, aligned stones, and stone beehives in the area. There are theories to their origins, but they’ve never been proven for sure! Meet at the High Rock parking area off of Route 1 in Foxboro. For a park map which shows the High Rock area, visit the F.G. Gilbert Hills webpage. Appropriate for adults and children 12+. Program is free; no parking fee. Please bring water, dress for the weather and be prepared to cover about 3 miles of moderately difficult trails. Rain or shine; dress appropriately. For more information, call (508) 272-9376. F. Gilbert Hills State Forest is located off of High Rock Road in Foxboro.

Ames Mansion Tour: The Ameses and Women’s Rights

Borderland Stat Park

Sunday, October 21st from 3:00PM to 3:30PM

Did you know that 100 years ago, when the Ames Mansion was built, women did not have the right to vote? Oakes and Blanche Ames’s involvement in the struggle for women’s rights helped pass the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution on August 18, 1920. During this 30-minute guided tour of the first floor of the Ames Mansion, you will learn about their women’s suffrage efforts and view some of Blanche’s suffrage artwork and political cartoons. First floor only. For adults and older children. Meet in front of the Ames Mansion. Rain or shine. Tour is free; parking fees apply. For more information, please call (508) 238-6566. Borderland State Park is located at 259 Massapoag Avenue in North Easton.

North Region

Walden Pond State Reservation

Walk with the Author- Robert Thorson

Saturday, October 20, 9am-10:30am

Explore "the history, nature, landscape, and literature of one of America's most Iconic places" with geologist and Thoreau scholar Robert Thorson during this special October event. Walk with Thorson through his 2018 "Guide to Walden Pond!" Walk starts at 9:00am from the Walden Visitor Center deck. Walking shoes and water are suggested. Book-signing to follow at 10:30am in the lobby of the Walden Pond Visitor Center. No reservation needed. Regular parking rates apply. $8 for MA plates, $15 for out-of-state plates.  The hike is 1.7 mile around Walden Pond with some hills involved.

Walden Pond State Reservation

Pencil Making – Inside the Thoreau Family Business  

Saturday, October 20, 1pm-2pm

Come and learn about the Thoreau family’s pencil business and how Henry’s innovations improved the quality of American drawing pencils. Join a park interpreter at the Thoreau House Replica for a fun pencil-making activity. Children will leave with their own working pencil! Appropriate for children ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult.

Middlesex Fells StoryWalk ®

Saturday, October 6 – Sunday, October 21, 2018

Countdown to Fall” by Fran Hawk, illustrated by Sherry Neidigh

Count backwards from 10 to one during one of the most colorful times of year, fall. Learn about the bright, colorful leaves and the trees from which they fall: aspen, birch, maple, oak, chestnut, linden, pine, beech, dogwood, and sweet gum. Watch the animals frolicking in the crisp, autumn air as they get ready for the approaching cold winter! Foster your child’s connection with nature as well as their literacy skills by participating in our StoryWalk ® in the Fells! This self-guided StoryWalk ® is for designed for children and families. Walk a trail, read a story, use your senses and connect with your surroundings. Due to the road construction we are moving the walk to the trail that begins at the Botume House Visitor Center, 4 Woodland Road, Stoneham. Look for the signs. The trail is an easy walk, about 1/3 mile, and can accommodate jogging strollers. This is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Friends of Middlesex Fells, Melrose/Wakefield Mass in Motion, The Medford Family Network, & North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network. Please be sure to sign in at the Kiosk off the parking lot. Enjoy this unique opportunity to bring the joy of nature and the magic of reading together outdoors!

Belle Isle Marsh State Reservation

Saturday, October 20, 8am-9am

An Oasis for Birds

Discover the abundant birdlife at Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, a restored wildlife sanctuary. We will walk while birding for a distance of a mile on easy level terrain. Some binoculars and a spotting scope will be provided but please bring these items if you have them. Reasonable accommodations available upon request. Recommended for adults and children ages 10 and older but all ages and experience levels are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult.  Meet at the Main Parking lot on or near the boardwalk to the right of the bulletin board, located on Bennington Street, East Boston between address 1236 Bennington St., East Boston and 173 Bennington St., Revere. Accessible by public transportation: MBTA Blue line, Beachmont Station. Exit station, turn right, at intersection cross State Road/Bennington Street, travel right along Bennington Street to park entrance on the left. Visit www.MBTA.com for bus and train information.

Winthrop Shores Reservation

Avian Delights

Saturday, October 20, 10am-11am

Join a DCR Park Interpreter on a morning walk on the beach to observe migrating shorebirds and to learn about their adaptations for survival. Walking is on the uneven terrain of beach sand for a distance of up to a mile. Suitable for all ages and skill levels as a birder. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Bring Water. Sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and footwear suitable for walking on the beach are recommended.  Meet at Winthrop Beach on Winthrop Shore Drive across from Sturgis Street and 62 Winthrop Shore Drive, Winthrop, MA. On street parking is available free of charge. Accessible by Public Transportation: Paul Revere Transportation bus 712 or 713 Point Shirley-Orient Heights, arrive at the Winthrop Beach stop then walk down Sturgis Street, Winthrop MA (If traveling from outside Winthrop, board the bus at the MBTA Orient Heights station on the blue line). Visit www.MBTA.com for bus and train information (schedule, route and fees).

Bradley Palmer State Park

Fall Feature StoryWalk®

Saturday, October 13th through Sunday, October 28th 

why do leaves change color book

Join DCR’s Fall Feature StoryWalk® during our beautiful fall. Walk a trail, read a story, use your senses and connect with your surroundings. Fall is a perfect time to tramp in the woods and enjoy the magic of reading together outdoors!

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Written by Betsy Maestro and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski.

Come and participate in this self-guided storywalk® for PreK kids with adults! Enjoy the gorgeous fall colors and learn why all of our green leaves turn to oranges, reds and yellows! About the Trail: This StoryWalk® starts near the parking lot kiosk at the park. The trail is easy and stroller friendly; about 1/3 mile in distance.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), would like to acknowledge and thank The StoryWalk® Project, created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the KelloggHubbard Library for their work and inspiration.  Park info & directions

West Region

Great Falls Discovery Center

Great Falls Harvest Festival

Saturday, October 20, 2pm-6pm

Great Falls Harvest Festival (aka Pumpkin Fest) Discover us on Avenue A! We are joining the fray of harvest fun once again this fall. Kids and families— make fall seasonal animal crafts at our outdoor tables near the corner of Avenue A and 2nd Street from 2-6 pm. Enjoy our museum exhibits during our special extended open hours from 10 am to 6 pm.

Mt. Greylock State Reservation

Autumn Scavenger Hunt, 10am-4pm

Saturdays Ongoing, AUTUMN SCAVENGER HUNT, 10am to 4pm - Autumn is upon us, offering so many opportunities for fun things to do and see! Here at Mount Greylock, we’ve created several “seek and find” Scavenger Hunt lists for different age and skill levels. These adventurous quests invite you to explore various treasures along any forested trail in the changing fall forest, including some of the many beautiful trails here on Mount Greylock, or even in your own backyard! This program is designed as a SELF-GUIDED activity. Pick up your FREE Scavenger Hunt lists at the Visitor Center while supplies last! Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information: Call (413) 499-4262.

Mt. Greylock State Reservation


Sunday, Oct 21, 0am to 4pm

At Mount Greylock, we have over 80 miles of scenic hiking trails on the mountain, and endless picturesque roadways and scenic byways surrounding the mountain at its base. STOP at the Visitor Center to view our Local Fall Foliage Destinations Video, or pick up a Fall Foliage Packet including leaf identification charts and Fun Fall Crafts and Activities for the kids! This program is designed as a self-guided activity or may be led by a Park Interpreter. Also be sure to pick up your Fall Foliage Viewing Destinations Map of the best foliage viewing areas in the region! Call 413-499-4262 for more information. Mount Greylock Fall Foliage Driving Map


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