October Mountain State Forest
LOCATION: October Mountain State Forest is the largest State Forest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Land which is a part of this facility extends into four towns: the largest amount in the town of Washington, Becket, Lee and Lenox. Access to this facility can be gained through each of the towns mentioned. The 50 site campground is located in Lee, access is easily made coming from Lee Center to Center Street, turn right following road bearing left past the paper mills for approximately 2 miles. Cross the intersection and continue to next intersection continuing up a very steep hill past an electric plant. Campground will be on right hand side of the road.
HISTORY: In 1915 a group of Berkshire men pledged $25,000.00 to enable the state to buy the 11,000 acre William C. Whitney estate. Together with State Funds this parcel cost $60,000. The same year the area was opened to the public.
Mr. Whitney was Secretary of the Navy under President Cleveland. Approximately 1,000 acres of this land was used by the Whitneys as a game preserve, supporting buffalo, elk, black tailed and Virginia deer, moose, and a aviary of pheasants, grouse, quail, Belgian hare, and angora sheep. Since that time most of the open land has been planted to conifers. over 960 acres have been planted by the CCC and DNR. The forest is also the watershed for municipal supplies of water for the City of Pittsfield, and the Town of Lee and an important part of the watershed of the Westfield and Housatonic Rivers. The name October Mountain is is reported to have been used first by Herman Melville.
FACILITIES: The camping area is equipped with 50 campsites, each having its own table and fireplace. There are two modern comfort stations with hot showers.
ACTIVITIES: October Mountain offers year round recreational activities, such as, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and hiking trails including the Appalachian Trail.
POINTS OF INTEREST: October mountain is centrally located and is easily accessible to all points of interest in the Berkshires: Tanglewood Music Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, Stockbridge Playhouse, and the Berkshire Museum.