DCR Announces School Vacation Programming

Discover Massachusetts State Parks!

***Outdoor activities may be modified or cancelled due to forecasted extremely cold weather. Please call ahead for information.***

February Vacation Week

Free Family Friendly Programs
February 13 – 21, 2016

Fresh air and family fun are the perfect combination for your February Vacation Week plans.  Come out and play in your Massachusetts State Parks and enjoy a fantastic array of family friendly programs and experiences for all ages.  Embark on a Winter Beach Safari, share your love of nature with a valentine hike, celebrate President’s Day and learn about US presidents and  their connections to state parks,  discover signs of scat and tracks, enjoy a winter woodland walk  or go back in time with Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond!  Enjoy guided experiences or create a park adventure on your own.  There is so much to enjoy and explore in your state parks.  – Come for a visit!

Following, please find a listing of Guided Programs, Visitor Center Special Exhibits, and ongoing Resources.

Greater Boston      North Region      South Region      Central Massachusetts      Western Massachusetts

Visitor Center and Exhibits      Ongoing Resources      Printable List pdf format of February Vacation Week

Things to know before you go!

  • All programs are free unless noted.
  • Please be aware parking fees may apply – visit   Day Use Parking Fees   for applicable parking fees or   Borrow a MassParks Pass & Discover Massachusetts State Parks  to borrow a ParksPass from a community partner.
  • Be season smart and safe.  Dress for the weather.  Bring water and snacks.  Have a map and cell phone.
  • Seasonal weather and storms affect parks and trails.  All events, programs and activities are subject to change.  Please take a moment to call ahead to confirm.
  • Programs are listed by geographical region, date and time

A WAVE OF KINDNESS: Ride the Wave! Falmouth students and staff working together for “NO GUFF”

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $538 Million in Loans to Fund Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $538 Million in Loans to Fund Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects
Low-Cost Financing Offered for 71 New and 20 Ongoing Water Resources Projects Statewide
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that 91 projects in 63 communities across the Commonwealth are eligible to receive $538 million in 2 percent interest-rate loans to fund construction and planning projects designed to improve water quality, upgrade or replace aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and cut treatment plant energy use and costs.
The low-cost financing, through the State Revolving Fund (SRF), is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT) and funds projects implemented by cities and towns, regional water supply and wastewater treatment districts, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The projects include 61 clean water initiatives totaling more than $414 million and 30 drinking water projects totaling more than $124 million. Communities offered SRF funding in this round must decide to move forward with the project by June 30, 2016 and secure local funding authority.
“The availability of safe, clean drinking water and the proper disposal of wastewater is vital to the quality of life for the Commonwealth’s residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This state funding will protect both natural resources and public health, while stimulating the engineering and construction sectors of our economy.”
“State Revolving Funds are applied directly to critical infrastructure projects at the local and regional level,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These projects strengthen the partnerships forged between the state and local officials as we work together to protect the health of our communities.”
“The Clean Water Trust delivers a critical service to municipalities by financing water infrastructure projects,” said Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Chair of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. “Improving water quality presents both public health and economic benefits for the citizens and communities across the Commonwealth.”
In accordance with the Clean Energy Results Program (CERP) under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), 17 of the projects receiving funding are for renewable energy, energy efficiency or green infrastructure initiatives. These projects involve energy efficiency upgrades to treatment plants and the on-site installation of renewable energy technologies, such as solar cells and wind turbines.
Energy use at wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities is a major contributor to overall energy consumption for many cities and towns, with communities statewide spending approximately $150 million per year on electricity to treat 662 billion gallons of wastewater and drinking water. About 30 percent of municipal energy use derives from water treatment.
“Upgrades to water infrastructure projects around the Commonwealth are vital in order to provide safe drinking water and proper wastewater disposal for our state’s residents,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By including energy efficiency and renewable energy components to improvements being made with resources from the State Revolving Fund, communities across the state will be in a position to cut local operating costs and help to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from the water treatment sector.”
This year, 36 of the new projects are eligible to receive principal forgiveness. Principal forgiveness is awarded to renewable energy projects and for projects in communities that meet the affordability criteria established by the MCWT. The affordability criteria factors in per capita income, unemployment rate and population trends.
“This year, up to 30 percent of the SRF funding can be used for principal forgiveness that can be applied directly to local and regional green infrastructure projects and communities that qualify,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The funding awarded will help cities and towns advance initiatives focused on environmental protection in an efficient, cost-effective and timely manner.”
The SRF is comprised of two programs that have provided more than $6 billion to Massachusetts projects: the Clean Water Fund, first capitalized in 1989; and the Drinking Water Fund, which began operation in 1999. More information on the two SRF programs can be found at: SRF  
This year, the Clean Water SRF provides approximately $414 million in financing for clean water projects across the Commonwealth. Approximately $380 million will fund 35 new construction projects, $15 million will be allocated towards funding nine previously approved multi-year projects, $2 million has been allocated to the emergency set-aside account, $3 million will be directed to the Community Septic Management Program to remediate failed septic systems in participating communities, and $14 million will fund 15 proposed planning projects.
The Drinking Water SRF provides approximately $124 million in financing for drinking water projects across the Commonwealth. Approximately $87 million will fund 16 new construction projects, $35 million will be allocated towards funding 11 previously approved multi-year projects, $2 million will fund an emergency set-aside account and approximately $500,000 is allocated for the two planning project submitted.
“Congratulations to the communities that are being financed with the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan programs,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler. “This partnership will assist our communities to comply with the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act and maintain or improve water quality for our residents across the Commonwealth.”
“Access to high quality, clean drinking water and the disposal of wastewater are critical to preserving public health in Massachusetts communities,” said Senator Anne M. Gobi, Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I want to commend the Baker-Polito Administration for offering these low-interest loans to cities and town throughout the Commonwealth.”
“I congratulate the UBWPAD, which serves seven area communities, on being selected for this financing opportunity,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury).”The funding will help UBWPAD expand existing efforts to increase efficiencies, and to ensure the quality of water resources for residents and consumers.”
“I appreciate the great work MassDEP under Commissioner Marty Suuberg and Secretary Beaton with the Baker-Polito Administration is doing in addressing matters for infrastructure projects and improvements for our clean water and waste water treatment plants,” said Representative Paul K. Frost (R-Auburn). “I am very pleased to see the Upper Blackstone Valley treatment plant as one of these projects which will receive funding support from this program. The Upper Blackstone is vital to our region and I fully support the efforts to benefit this facility.”
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Environmental Protection for designating funds to improve water quality in towns across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden). “This is yet another example of the true partnership between the Administration and municipalities and I am thrilled the Town of Rutland was chosen as a recipient. Congratulations to all of the communities who received funds, as they will benefit the citizens of the Commonwealth and generations to come.”
Massachusetts awards infrastructure financing under the SRF, which is administered by the MCWT – a joint effort of MassDEP, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and the State Treasurer’s Office.
To be eligible for Clean Water or Drinking Water SRF loans, municipalities, wastewater districts and water suppliers filed applications with MassDEP last year demonstrating that proposed projects offer significant public health or water quality benefits, have local funding authorization and that there is a commitment on the borrower’s part to file a timely loan application. The projects on the 2016 SRF list must now file loan applications and receive MassDEP approval to obtain funding.
A full listing of community projects selected for the 2016 Clean Water SRF can be found in Table 1 at:: SRF-CW
A full listing of community projects selected for the 2016 Drinking Water SRF can be found in Table 1 at: SRF-DW
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

2016 SOUP-ER BOWL (A Soup and Bread Lunch & Hunger Awareness Benefit for the Falmouth Service Center


A Soup and Bread Lunch &

Hunger Awareness Benefit for the

Falmouth Service Center

Sunday, January 31

12 P.M.-1:30 P.M.

Suggested donation: $5-10

Falmouth Jewish Congregation

7 Hatchville road, East Falmouth

Come out of the cold and enjoy hot soups and bread. Participate in the raffle of beautiful bowls donated by local artisans. All proceeds support the Falmouth Service Center. Hosted by the Falmouth Jewish Congregation and the Waquoit Congregational Church.

Massachusetts Celebrates 25 Years of First Day Hikes

Massachusetts Celebrates 25 Years of First Day Hikes

Annual DCR Event has Become a National Initiative

BOSTON – Monday, December 21, 2015 – The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will sponsor free, guided hikes in 11 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.  The Commonwealth was the first state in the country to develop the First Day Hikes program, which provides individuals and their families an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with nature by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2016 at a state park close to home. Participating in a First Day Hike is a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

“First Day Hikes will provide an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to get outside and enjoy nature,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It’s a great way to kick off the New Year and discover some of Massachusetts most exceptional landscapes.”

“For years Massachusetts citizens have been able to enjoy and take advantage of the First Day Hikes initiative, which provides an invigorating hike throughout many of the Commonwealth’s beautiful state parks,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains steadfast to providing outdoor recreational opportunities for the wellbeing and development of all.”

First Day Hikes originated in 1992 at the Blue Hills State Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to promote a healthy lifestyle throughout the year and to remind the public of the year round outdoor recreational access available at Massachusetts state parks. In 2012, for the first time, all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor America’s State Parks First Day Hikes, which has become the signature nationwide program for the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). Last year, over 997 First Day Hikes were held in state parks across the country, and a record-breaking 41,153 people participated and logged in 79,892 miles of hiking.

“For 25 years now, DCR has offered First Day Hikes as a fun, unique opportunity for people to get out and explore nature as part of a healthy lifestyle,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “We are honored to partner with states across the country in this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks.”

“Massachusetts has always been known to be at the forefront of pioneering concepts, and DCR is proud to have inspired state park systems across the nation to host First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day,” said Priscilla Geigis, DCR’s MassParks Director and recent past NASPD President. “Every year the First Day Hikes have served as excellent opportunities for individuals and their families to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, and we are excited to continue that long standing tradition.”

Additionally, on January 1, 2016, DCR officials will present the President’s Award on behalf of NASPD to Patrick Flynn, who started the tradition of First Day Hikes at the Blue Hills State Reservation in 1992 when he served as its supervisor. Flynn worked for DCR for 20 years until 2008; however, he still returns each New Year’s Day to participate in the annual hike at the Blue Hills.

This year’s event will mark the fifth anniversary of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative, and the beginning of the National Park Service’s (NPS) centennial year. In honor of the centennial, the NASPD invited National Park Service staff to participate in America’s State Parks First Day Hikes in all 50 states to kick off the year. The centennial is designed to celebrate the importance of all parks – national, state, and local – and to engage new supporters as we promote continued shared stewardship for the next century. The NPS participation on the first day of the anniversary year (January 1, 2016) will directly tie the centennial effort to America’s State Parks by highlighting the important connection between state and national parks.

“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit,” said Lewis Ledford, Executive Director of NASPD. “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”

America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From Massachusetts to California, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide.

Park staff will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park. Details about hike locations, difficulty, length, terrain, and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on DCR’s website at www.mass.gov/dcr. Hikers are also encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #FirstDayHikes.

In Massachusetts, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times:

Boston Area:

Pope John Paul Park, Hallet Street, Dorchester, 12:00PM

Meet at the Hallet Street entrance. 

Hot chocolate will be available after the hike at the McKeon Post.

Central MA:

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 1:00PM

287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

Registration begins at noon. Meet at the Visitor Center.


Bradley Palmer State Park, Asbury Street, Topsfield, 10:00AM

Meet at headquarters. Reception at Willowdale Estates following the hike.

Breakheart State Reservation, 177 Forest Street, Saugus, 12:00PM

Meet at the Visitor Center. Arrive early to allow time for parking.


Blue Hills State Reservation, Hillside Street, Milton, 12:00PM

Meet at the Houghton’s Pond parking lot at 840 Hillside St.

Free soup will be served at noon, hikes begin at 1:00PM.

Myles Standish State Forest, South Carver, 194 Cranberry Road, 1:00PM

Meet in the Parking Lot near Forest Headquarters, 12:30PM.

Nantasket Beach State Reservation, Route 3A, Hull, 10:00AM

Meet at the MJM Bathhouse at 204 Nantasket Ave.

Nickerson State Park, RTE 6A, Brewster, 1:00PM

Meet at the Main lot near entrance.

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Waquoit, 1:00PM

Meet at the Visitor Center, 131 Waquoit Highway (Rt. 28).    

Western MA:

Mt. Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, 12:00PM

Meet at the Visitor Center.

Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, 1:00PM

Meet in the Discovery Center.

Holiday travelers should check out www.naspd.org to find hikes in all 50 states.



The MBTA has launched the MBTA Rider Census


The MBTA has launched the MBTA Rider Census, a system-wide passenger survey, at www.mbta.com/census and they would like to hear from you. The results of the census play an important role in planning future service and ensuring service is provided fairly and equitably.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Free Admission to State Parks Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Free Admission to State Parks Over Thanksgiving Weekend

BOSTON- Tuesday, November 24, 2015- In light of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that all entrance and parking fees to state parks and forests will be waived for visitors starting on Thursday, November 26, 2015 to Sunday, November 29, 2015, as a way to give thanks to all those who have served and continue to serve in the United States armed forces. Previously, the Administration announced fee waivers for Veterans Day; however, because of rain and high winds, many people were unable to take advantage of that day’s free access.

“It is my hope that we all take a few moments during our time with friends and family this Thanksgiving to think of the many sacrifices brave men and women have made on behalf of serving this great country,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Offering free access for all during this upcoming holiday is a small token of appreciation to all those who ensure the liberties we cherish are preserved.”

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) also offers free parking and admission to its facilities year round to cars with Disabled Veterans license plates from all states.

“As a state and a nation, we all have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “DCR’s parks and forests offer a unique opportunity to reflect in quiet contemplation, and it’s important that we all take a moment to be thankful for our men and women in uniform who protect our nation every day.”

With over 450,000 acres of public land, there are many exceptional places to explore and visit, including Walden Pond, which served as the inspiration of Henry David Thoreau, the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial located at the summit of Mt. Greylock, and historic Fort Independence on Castle Island.

“Thanksgiving is a time for friends and families to come together and enjoy one another’s company while also reflecting on the many things we are thankful for,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “I encourage Massachusetts residents and visitors alike to continue in that spirit all weekend and visit one of our many public parks and forests, free of charge.”

Additionally, DCR will offer several “Black Friday” hikes in Massachusetts state parks, forests, and reservations for the public to enjoy. The hikes, which are offered in the different regions of the state, are intended to provide people and their families with added outdoor recreational opportunities.

“With the holiday season fast approaching, it is essential that we all take time out of our busy schedules to get outside and remain active as part of a healthy lifestyle,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Daniel Sieger. “DCR’s Black Friday hikes serve as an excellent example of the dedication the agency has to ensure a high level of public access and programming for families and individuals to enjoy and take part in.”

For all hikes, DCR recommends people dress warmly, wear proper footwear, and to bring a bottle of water. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Below is a list of Black Friday hikes:

 Greater Boston Area

 Middlesex Fells Reservation, Botume House Visitor Center, 4 Woodland Road, Stoneham

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hike 1: Long Pond Loop, 10:00AM-11:30AM

Meet at the Long Pond parking area on South Border Road, Winchester

Hike 2: Bear Hill Tower, 2:00PM-3:30PM

Meet at Sheepfold parking area, located at 698 Fellsway West in Stoneham, Route 28

  • Both hikes are suitable for children over 7 and parents carrying infants. For more information please call (617) 727-5380 ext. 412

Revere Beach Reservation, One Eliot Circle, Revere

Friday, November 27, 2015 10:00AM-11:00AM

Meet at the tan DCR building at the corner of Dolphin Avenue

  • A two-mile dog-friendly walk along one of DCR’s healthy heart trails includes brief stops for entertaining history lessons about Revere Beach. For more information call (781) 485-2804 ext. 105.

Northeast Massachusetts

Great Brook Farm State Park, 165 North Road, Carlisle

Friday, November 27, 2015 1:00PM –3:00PM

Meet at the Interpretive Center in Great Brook Farm State Park

  • The hike is co-sponsored by DCR and the Carlisle Trails Committee, and is appropriate for families with children 8 years and older. For more information, please call Great Brook Farm State Park (978) 369-6312.

Southeastern Massachusetts

South Cape Beach State Park, Great Oak Road, Mashpee

Friday, November 27, 2015 10:00AM-11:30AM

Meet at Bayberry Parking Area on Great Oak Road

  • The hike will feature an opportunity to view the landscape and wildlife from the observation decks at the edge of the marsh. For more information please call (508) 457-0495 ext. 125

Borderland State Park, 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton

Friday, November 27, 2015 9:00AM-12:00PM

Meet at the Visitor Center

  • A five-mile, moderately paced recreational hike of the northern-most point of Borderland State Park that is tailored for adults and older children. For more information or to confirm in case of weather concerns, please call (508) 238-6566.

Massasoit State Park, 1361 Middleboro Avenue, East Taunton

Friday, November 27, 2015 10:45PM-1:45PM

Meet at the Main Parking Lot on Middleboro Avenue

  • Join park staff for a five to six mile hike through Massasoit State Park to the shores of Lake Rico, King’s Furnace area, Middle Pond, and Big Bearhole Pond. The hike is for adults who can walk at a moderate pace. For further information or weather cancellation, please call (508) 866-2580 ext. 161.

Central Massachusetts

Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge

Friday, November 27, 2015 2:00PM-3:00PM

Meet at the Visitor Center

  • The hike will feature and identify several evergreen trees, such as Hemlock, Norway spruce, and White pine, as well as the park’s coniferous and evergreen plants. The hike is appropriate for all ages. For more information please call (508) 278-7604.

Western Massachusetts

Mount Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough

Friday, November 27, 2015 10:00AM-1:00PM

Meet at the Visitor Center

  • Explore remnants of abandoned farmland, contemplate forest succession, and view wildlife during this three hour hike. Dogs are allowed if they’re on a 10 foot maximum leash. For more information, or in case of inclement weather call (413) 499-4262.

Savoy Mountain State Reservation, 319 Florida Road, Savoy

Friday, November 27, 2015 11:00AM-12:00PM

Meet at the Contact Station

  • This one mile hike along South Pond Loop trail will feature beautiful views of South Pond and of the rare balanced rocks of Savoy Mountain State Forest. This hike is appropriate for younger children and adults. For more information please call (413) 663-8469.


The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Acting Commissioner Daniel P. Sieger, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr. Contact us at mass.parks@state.ma.us.