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Free Admission to State Parks Over Thanksgiving Weekend; Info On ‘Black Friday’ Hikes

Nov 26, 2015 05:40AM ● By Bill Gilman

(Editor's note: The following information was published by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.)

BOSTON, MA -- In light of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced Tuesday 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, 201510:00AM-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.


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