78 Cape Street, Rte. 112, Goshen, Massachusetts 01032
In January 1928, at the Massachusetts Daughters of the American Revolution (MDAR) state board meeting, it was voted to look into purchasing a state forest. With a unanimous vote on March 15, 1928, MDAR made the decision to purchase a forest. The goal was to raise $5,500 for the purchase of a forest to present to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In January 1929, they chose More’s Hill land located in the towns of Goshen and Ashfield. The land was paid for by MDAR on March 1, 1929, and officially presented to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 14. It was officially dedicated on May 23, 1929, “as a memorial to past, present, and future DAR members who carry out the ideals and institutions of liberty in this country.” It was the first DAR forest in the United States of America.
Originally the forest was 1,020 acres and made up from some twenty-three parcels of land. Some of the parcels had been settled by American Revolutionary War veterans. Immediately, four thousand spruce and pine trees were planted. In 1935, Lower Lake and Highland Lake were purchased by the state to add to the forest. In 1936, the forest was opened as a public day-use recreation facility. A camping area was added in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A sixty-five foot tall fire observation tower was built in the early 1950s. In 1966 improved camp sites were constructed and opened to the public. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased additional land in 1972 bringing the size of the DAR State Forest to 1,536 forest acres.
In 1974, MDAR presented the picnic shelter and fireplace, called the Long House, to the DAR State Forest as their bicentennial gift. An interpretive program began in 1975. In 1976, the DAR provided funds for the building of the pavilion. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a camper’s beach, nature trail, and boat rental service were added. Timber management is practiced at the DAR State Forest.
In 1979, the fiftieth anniversary jubilee was held at the forest and the new nature center was dedicated. In 1989, the dedication of the forest was re-enacted in a 60th anniversary gala. A Centennial Jubilee and Constitution Week celebration was held at the forest on September 22, 1990. The memorial ellipse was dedicated at this event. In 2000, a Nature Center was given by the MDAR. In 2004, a granite bench was presented in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the forest.
The MDAR has continued to support the DAR State Forest through the years with purchases such as a tractor-mower, citizen band radios, flags and flagpoles, benches, planting various trees, and taxidermy work.
In 2019, during the third year of the Blair Administration, MDAR Daughters when inquiring about needs for the forest, learned that benches were needed to be placed throughout the forest along the many trails. Imagine walking along trails and wanting to stop for a rest or to take in the natural beauty the forest provides. The Daughters provided 46 benches, many named in honor of their families, patriots, and notable NSDAR Daughters. They also fulfilled the need for a fire pit for camping enthusiasts to enjoy a warm fire and camaraderie with others. Lastly, the Nature Center was outfitted with proper signage for the items presented there.
The DAR State Forest is a part of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.