Upton State Forest: A History
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
After 1956 when Fish and Wildlife moved their Field Headquarters to Westborough Upton State Forest was used by the forerunner of DCR, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). During this period the cottage was used as a residence by a state forester and his family with Forestry offices at the site.
Around 1970 Upton became a satellite of Mt. Wachusett State Reservation. Beginning in 1977 it was managed from Douglas State Forest until the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park was established in 1981. Today Upton is a satellite of the Blackstone River Valley District in the Central Region.
During the energy crisis in the 1970’s a “cut a cord” program was established and on weekends many local men with trucks would gather dead wood for their stoves and fireplaces.
In 1980 the DEM Mounted Unit began with one horse and one rider, Curt Rudge, assigned to patrol Hopkinton State Park. At its peak the unit had 12 trained riders and 8 horses stationed throughout the state. Upton became the unit’s base in 1981 with the former supply building of Camp SP25, CCC being turned into stables and a tack room.
Riders attended the National Mounted Police Training School in New York returning to patrol parks, provide crowd control and interact with visitors while enforcing regulations. Around 2001 the unit was disbanded by DEM. A very effective educational, enforcement and public relations tool the unit is missed by all that remember them.
In 2003 the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) were combined into the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). It is the DCR that manages the park today. The DCR Search and Rescue team holds periodic training and practice drills at Upton State Forest.
In 2005 the remaining CCC buildings at Upton State Forest made the Preservation Mass "Ten Most Endangered List".
In 2007 Upton was transferred from the Blackstone District to the Metrowest District and is now a satellite of Hopkinton State Park.
When you are at the site today the central parade ground remains surrounded by the barn (former Supply Building of Camp SP25) to the west of the entrance, the Administration Building at the head of the parade ground and the cottage (former Infirmary of Camp SP25) on the east side. Visitors to the site who are familiar with other CCC sites in the northeast are impressed with the surviving features and condition of the buildings. As you stand in front of the Administration Building observe the large cedars at intervals around the complex. They were shrubs next to the buildings that were planted during the CCC occupation. They stand as markers to the past and sentinels for the future. The FUSF is working to nominate the cedars for "Witness Tree" designation.
Click on one of the following FUSF periods for more information:
- Pre Colonial
- Early Settlers
- New State
- Early Roads
- Hopkinton Springs
- Early Mills
- Stone Cutting
- District #7 School
- Conservation Movement
- The Great Depression
- Civilian Conservation Corps at Upton State Forest
- Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Friends of Upton State Forest History