What we're about
Founded in 2007, the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest have been holding volunteer-led group hikes and birding events at various locations in and around the vast Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth and Carver, Massachusetts. Myles Standish SF is the size of the island of Manhattan, covering more than 12,400 acres (or 25 square miles) with many dozens of miles of hiking and bicycle trails allowing you to explore its 16 pristine ponds, four major campground areas, two boy scout camps and wildlife management areas. Few people have seen every corner of it.
The park is split between sections of Plymouth and Carver. Minutes from Route 3 or Route 495, you have probably passed within a few miles recently. Why not join us to give it a try?
The Friends have been around for 15 years. We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the park's founding in 2016 and our 15th annual Family Fishing Derby in 2022.
For most of the year, we have a regular group that goes out hiking on weekday mornings. (Right now the group goes out on Thursday.) We also have a group that goes out with their dogs on many Sundays. Saturday and Sunday hikes are offered whenever we have leaders available.
Bird watching and other bird support activities are scheduled when the birds allow. We are approaching our 2000th Meetup since our group started using Meetup in 2009. It just helps people get together and allows a little flexibility in case the weather decides not to cooperate.
Clearly, a lot of people are having fun and we hope you will join us soon.
Members of the Friends are also currently working on various stewardship projects such as:
Trail Maintenance- Together with the state, we have helped to maintain miles of trails in the forest. Sometimes we go out with loppers. Other times, we have rented equipment for the state workers to use in clearing and leveling some of the trails. (We aren't allowed to use power equipment ourselves in the forest.) In 2018, we repaired two of the boardwalks around the East Head Reservoir. It took hundreds of hours of volunteer time and we spent over $3500 on the repairs. We are proud of what we accomplished.
Native Bird Support- A group of volunteers cleans and monitors about 40 bluebird boxes at various locations throughout the forest. These boxes are visited weekly during the nesting season and all activity is tracked and reported. Watch Meetup for notices about when training and setup activities are scheduled. (Typically in late March/ early April.)
Native Plant Support- The Friends have helped to maintain native plant gardens at headquarters and at other visible locations in the forest.
Annual Fishing Derby- For 15 years, the Friends have held a Family Fishing Event on the last Saturday of September. Together with MassWildlife and the DCR, we provide fishing tackle, bait, instruction and prizes to hundreds of area families.
Visit the Friends of Myles Standish web page to find out more about these activities.
While there, please consider a membership, which is only $10, to support them. (This is different than signing up on Meetup. Registering on the Meetup is free. Membership in the Friends is completely optional.)
This Meetup Group is sponsored by the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest (FMSSF). a volunteer group charity organization founded in 2007. We are private individuals who want to bring interesting and fun hikes, bird-watching programs and other events for all ages to Myles Standish State Forest, the largest state forest in eastern Massachusetts-- a park as big as many of the towns that surround it.
This group is not sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) or the State of Massachusetts. We often work closely with the DCR on clearing trails and on our annual fishing derby and many other projects but if you have an issue with the park, please address it to the state. (You can copy us. We like to know about such things and we do what we can to help focus the attention of the State on what we see as the bigger issues with the park.)
All ages are welcome on our hikes as long as parents/guardians are with any younger hikers. Friendly leashed dogs are welcome on most hikes. If you love hiking or birding you will discover that MSSF has some great places to explore. The pine barrens of Myles Standish are unique and beautiful. They are worth a visit, any day of the week, 365 days a year.
What are you waiting for?
Again, please consider joining our Friends group. Basic membership is only $10 per year. Visit the Friends of Myles Standish web page to find out more about us.