DCR highlights $1.5M in Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground upgrades

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo speaks at the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground on Friday, as the DCR kicked off the camping season and showed off its $1.5 million in investments to the campground.

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo speaks at the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground on Friday, as the DCR kicked off the camping season and showed off its $1.5 million in investments to the campground. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo speaks at the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground on Friday, as the DCR kicked off the camping season and showed off its $1.5 million in investments to the campground.

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo speaks at the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground on Friday, as the DCR kicked off the camping season and showed off its $1.5 million in investments to the campground. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo thanks state Rep. Natalie Blais and Charlemont Town Administrator Sarah Reynolds for their continued partnership, as the DCR welcomed folks back to the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground on Friday afternoon.

Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Brian Arrigo thanks state Rep. Natalie Blais and Charlemont Town Administrator Sarah Reynolds for their continued partnership, as the DCR welcomed folks back to the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground on Friday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 05-17-2024 4:36 PM

CHARLEMONT — Following $1.5 million in investments to the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground, the Department of Conservation and Recreation kicked off the 2024 camping season on Friday and welcomed folks back to the campground that had been closed last season for repairs.

As the first campers of the year began setting up shop for the first time since 2022, DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo celebrated the partnership between the state, the Legislature and communities like Charlemont, as those relationships bring economic development to towns, while also providing countless recreational opportunities for residents across Massachusetts.

Joining Arrigo was state Rep. Natalie Blais, Charlemont Town Administrator Sarah Reynolds and Florida Selectboard member Tim Zelazo, along with numerous DCR employees.

“Camping is something we’ve seen tremendous popularity in,” Arrigo said, adding that DCR had more than 10,000 camping reservations across the state in the first 24 hours of opening in March, with more than 34,000 reservations across the system as of this week. “It’s an overwhelming response to our campgrounds and puts the onus on us to make sure we are providing great spaces for people.”

Friday’s visit also celebrated the reopening of the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground, which was closed in 2023, as the DCR needed to dig a new well, repave the park’s roads, replace roofs and make repairs to Civilian Conservation Corps-era cabins.

Other upgrades include a shoulder on the campground’s roads, converting the comfort station to electric heat and making several cabins accessible for people with disabilities.

Kate Preissler, DCR’s director of the western region of the state, said repairs to the water system necessitated the shutdown of camping in the park in 2023, but the closure also presented a chance to put as much work into it as possible.

“I think the team really stepped up and gave us a few more decades here,” Preissler said, adding that it was a “true DCR team effort” that came out of a difficult situation.

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Arrigo said in an interview that the $1.5 million investment in the campground is a chance to multiply those dollars for Charlemont, the region and the state as a whole.

“For us to come back newly renovated, our spaces [have] a tremendous opportunity to be an economic driver for towns all across the commonwealth,” Arrigo said, adding that these investments are “crucial” for communities. “We try to stretch every dollar and that’s why we really prioritize the opportunities that can make a significant difference for towns. … Obviously this is an important one for the region and we’re excited about today.”

Both Blais and Reynolds said the campground acts as an economic engine for the region and businesses in Charlemont often rely on tourists and campers to spend money.

“We have stores and restaurants that depend on the people,” Reynolds said. “For us, it’s an economic driver.”

“We’re thrilled,” Blais added. “To be able to have this resource is amazing.”

For more information about the Mohawk Trail State Forest Campground, visit mass.gov/locations/mohawk-trail-state-forest.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.