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National Trails Day

The very start of the month, June 1st, marked the annual National Trails Day, a celebration of love for the natural world and continual exploration. This event was established by the American Hiking Society in 1993 and since then has grown into a method of preservation of the country’s natural areas and environment. To commemorate the day, people are encouraged to appreciate and interact with the wilderness and trails across the nation, whether that be for casual day hikes, challenging adventures, or an escape into the beauty of nature.

Massachusetts is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of different trails and preservations open to the public. Plymouth hosts many of these opportunities and I encourage anyone willing to open their minds to their environment to explore some of these areas. The Town of Plymouth website is a perfect place for beginners, or experts, to visit to examine the wide variety of options available to them.

This post explores sites such as the Clear Pond Conservation Area, a space that is the epitome of Plymouth’s unique nature. The conservation houses acres upon acres of cranberry bogs that although turn their famous scarlett in the fall, are a perfect place to welcome nature walkers in summer months like this. Roughly a ten minute drive away is the Crawley Woodlands Preserve. If you are a nature lover who enjoys fishing and the atmosphere of peaceful ponds, this may be a site you would want to check out. The preserve is sandwiched between Lout Pond and Billington Sea, of which ascend into steeper grounds littered with trails paired with fascinated glacial erratics. Billington Sea concludes the route of the main trail, and is also part of another more popular area, Morton Park. Also close to Clear Pond and Crawley Woodlands, this site’s description is excluded from the attached website, but brimming with potential for a picturesque summer day. Within the park are a variety of sitting areas that provide grills and pathways for swimming, along with a warm welcome for dogs. If you are seeking a relaxed afternoon, Morton Park is a short drive away from central Plymouth and perfect for you.

Two final nature sanctuaries that fit the criteria for National Trails Day, even though there are an endless amount more, are Russell Mill Pond Conservation Area and Myles Standish State Forest. The first is connected to Eel River Preserve, of which both are quintessential places to explore if you not only want to commemorate the warming days, but be more familiar with Plymouth itself. Eel River and Russell Mill Pond are named after the two major sources of wetland environment and mesmerizing wildlife they host, Eel River and Russell Mill Pond. Both provide several miles of trails and acres of woods and cranberry bogs that make an irresistible scenery for those yearning for glimpses of substantial nature. As promised, the final area, not at all mentioned in the link above, is Myles Standish State Forest. As a recent environmentalist, this is a perfect place to start for those who want to understand and traverse the natural world around them. I recommend the Healthy Heart Trail for beginners, as that was my first true hike in Plymouth. It’s short and sweet, but if that’s not your style, take a look at the provided map to try more challenging options. The forest is extremely expansive and filled with endless possibilities. It is also an icon for the Town of Plymouth as it is named after one of our colony’s founders, Myles Standish.

Although National Trails Day has come and gone, it has opened the door for a summer of exploration of Plymouth’s wide variety of conservation areas, all of which are available to those who wish to take a step, or maybe a few, outside into their beautiful surroundings.