Spencer is proud of its legacy of land appreciation. Census after census has shown the appreciation residents have for their forests and parks.
Paddle through abundant waterways….or capture a precious moment at one of the many locations listed. Spencer’s parks & playgrounds provide great backdrops for local photographers. Enjoy a great picnic or walk.
The Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC), worked throughout Howe Park and the other sections of Spencer State Forest’s northern section known as Camp Marshall today. In Massachusetts, CCC programs had seven primary activities: camp construction, road building, silviculture, fire hazard reduction, pest control, wildlife management and recreational development. The program left a lasting legacy of forest improvements and recreational resources as it touched the lives of both the enrollees and communities where they performed works.
More than 80 years later, many of the facilities built by the CCC throughout the state are still in use. One of the most lasting contributions of the CCC was the construction of park recreational facilities. Howe Park’s Supervisor’s cottage and barn, and most of Camp Marshall’s buildings were CCC work.
Howe Park’s waterfall is another example of CCC work.
“ Built of rough-hewn, on-site materials, the lodges, cabins, shelters, picnic pavilions, bath houses and other structures were designed to reflect the color and texture of their surroundings. Many are noted for their quality of design and workmanship. In addition, the CCC made landscape improvements to enhance recreational use of the forests. In some areas, vistas and scenic overlooks were carved out at the roadside to reveal dramatic views. Hiking trails and stone steps in high-use areas as well as log guardrails and stone retaining walls along roads were artfully designed to further contribute to the park-like experience”
Today both artist and environmentalist join together with the Iron Ranger Painting Program The 170 Iron Rangers located in 111 properties across the state collect donations made by many of the more than 30 million visitors the Commonwealth attracts to its many state parks, beaches and forests each year. Donations received through these Iron Rangers fund educational programs and conservation projects in the parks. Friends Of Howe Park in Spencer State Forests are requesting any interested artist take on the challenge and unleash their creative spirit at Howe State Park.
Artists are invited to paint the Iron Rangers and enhance their appeal in the parks. Here are examples of how artists enhance their environment.
Bemis Memorial Park
BEMIS MEMORIAL PARK, located on a knoll on the north side of Route 9 just west of the Seven
Mile River, commemorates Samuel Bemis, the first permanent European settler of Spencer, and
Captain Edmund Bemis, who served in the French and Indian War. Designated a state roadside
rest area, the small park contains monuments and two Parrott guns (cannons) used in the Civil
Buck Hill Conservation Center
BUCK HILL CONSERVATION CENTER consists of 128 acres of the Camp Marshall 4‐H Center.
Located in north Spencer on McCormick Road, Buck Hill features nature trails and a 10‐acre fish
Burncoat Pond Wildlife Sanctuary
BURNCOAT POND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, a 64‐acre parcel purchased by the Massachusetts
Audubon Society in 2006, includes woods, a small pond, and trails. It is accessible from
Greenville Street and also from the Midstate Trail near the Leicester line.
Camp Marshall Worcester County 4-H Center
CAMP MARSHALL WORCESTER COUNTY 4‐H CENTER, located at 92 McCormick Road,
encompasses approximately three hundred acres of pastures, woods, and ponds. Established on
the site of the former Civilian Conservation Corps and National Youth Administration camp in
1945, Camp Marshall is a traditional camp featuring swimming, fishing, horseback riding, and
barnyard and nature programs.
Four Chimneys Recreation Area
FOUR CHIMNEYS RECREATION AREA is a 200‐acre wildlife management area managed by the
Commonwealth Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Located on Borkum Road, a designated scenic
road, Four Chimneys is traversed by a section of the Midstate Trail.
Howe State Park
HOWE STATE PARK, also known as Spencer State Forest, is a scenic 965‐acre recreational area
offering hiking, canoeing, fishing, and picnicking, as well as cross‐country skiing and
snowmobiling in the winter. It contains a fieldstone monument marking the birthplace of EilasHowe (inventor of the sewing machine) and the original stone doorsteps of the house. There are
picnic tables and barbeque pits. The park is located on Howe Pond Road, off Route 31 south of
Isaac Prouty Park
ISAAC PROUTY PARK, located on Main Street near the old David Prouty High School,
was a gift to the town from Isaac Lothrop Prouty, a nephew of Isaac Prouty, a prominent
boot manufacturer. The park was presented to the town in 1905 and laid out with
walkways, trees, and shrubs. On Patriot’s Day in 1911, the town honored the 319 Spencer
men who had served in the Civil War by erecting a Soldiers Monument in the park.
Luther Hill Park
LUTHER HILL PARK, which borders Lake Whittemore in the center of town, is a 14‐acre
recreational area with a pine grove, public beach, picnic tables, play ground, skateboard park,
and disc golf course (donated and installed by the Spencer Lions Club). Named for judge,
businessman, and civic leader Luther Hill, who donated the land to the town in 1888, the park is
located at the end of Park Street off of Route 9. Parking fees apply during the summer months.
Moose Hill Wildlife Management Area
MOOSE HILL WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA, managed by the Commonwealth Division of
Fisheries and Wildlife, is a 560‐acre property that straddles the towns of Paxton, Leicester, and
Spencer. There is a levy (crossed by the Midstate Trail) and a small reservoir created in the
1960s for flood control. Spencer access is on Moose Hill Road. From Route 9, follow Donnelly
Road to Donnelly Cross Road.
O’GARA PARK originated in 1886, when the Spencer Baseball Association leased approximately
eight acres at the end of Water Street for a baseball park. Eight years later, businessman and
civic leader John O’Gara purchased the property for use as baseball and circus grounds. The
town purchased the property in 1934, and many baseball, softball, and youth football teams
play there today. The park’s historic wooden grandstand, constructed in 1931, is one of only
three in the nation.
Powder Mill Park
POWDER MILL PARK, on the southwest corner of Meadow Street (Route 31) and Smithville
Road, takes its name from mills that made gunpowder along the nearby Seven Mile River. It
contains playgrounds, picnic tables, and cookout facilities.
Ralph Warren Park
RALPH WARREN PARK is a small nature preserve featuring woodland trails. Located on Wire
Village Road, across from the Seven Mile River and historic mill sites, the park was named for
former Conservation Commissioner Ralph Warren. It was dedicated in 1978 by the U.S. Young
Adult Conservation Corps.
Spencer State Forest
Vietnam Memorial Park
VIETNAM MEMORIAL PARK, located on South Spencer Road beside the South Spencer School,
was the first of its kind in the nation. Dedicated on April 27, 1975, it pays tribute to the three
Spencer men who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.