Massachusetts State Parks

Summers from 1998 - 2002






















































During the Summers of 1998 - 2002 I worked as a Naturalist, Ranger, and Supervisor for various state parks across western Massachusetts. It was during this time that I did some of my best nature writing, becasue I had the rare opportunity to work outside every day. I had to move on in my life in order to find job that paid more, but I don't think I'll ever have a "better" job than I did those summers.

1998 - Holyoke Range State Park

I grew up in South Amherst, right across the street from the Holyoke Range State Park. For me, the park was a paradise, and provided hour after hour of entertainment on summer afternoons and evenings.

In 1998, I took my first job with the Massachusetts State Parks as a Nature Interpreter at HRSP. I had just begun my photographic career at that point, and was thrilled to be able to walk the trails of the park for hours with a camera in my hands. I created many slideshows of my work in an attempt to share some of the amazing sights that could be seen in the quiet, seldom-visited corners of the park.

1999 - Savoy Mountain State Forest

Eager to sample as many different park settings as possible, I decided to try something different in 1999. I got in contact with the supervisor of the Savoy Mountain State Forest (Tim Zelazo would become one of my best friends) and took a job as the Nature Interpreter in this magnificent Berkshires property.

I lived in a rather interesting one-room cabin and spent hours trekking through the 10,000 plus acres that were now my domain. The Busby Trail (pictured here) became an almost daily adventure, and I quickly got into the best shape of my adult life.

I was also extremely fortunate to be working for a man who had spent some of his formative years working as a photojournalist (Tim takes amazing photograhs!). With his support, I collected a huge stock of the forest's waterfalls, summits, and other hidden places. Many of those photos would later appear in my newspaper columns.

Wolf Pine on the south side of Skinner SP.

2000- Skinner State Park

Unfortunately, the Big Dig took its toll on every facet of state-run facilies in Massachusetts. Shortened schedules and lack of funding forced me to look for a position that had an earlier starting date, so I found myself looking for yet another new setting in 2000.

This time I was sent to Skinner State Park and it was there that I was able to familiarize myself with a section of the Holyoke Range that I had looked at from the valley all my life, but had never visited. I spent hours crisscrossing the mountain sides and summits collecting a wonderful series of photographs along the way. I created several slideshows that I presented to park visitors, trying to focus on the beauty of the park's forest habitats. It was fun, but I was looking for more!

Fortunately, a position as a Park Ranger openned up at Savoy State Forest, and in July of 2000 I was able to return to Savoy, a place that I would truly come to love.

2002 - Mt. Greylock State Reservation and Greylock Glen

In 2001, with the support of my friend Tim, I took a job as the Park Supervisor of Greylock Glen State Park. A strange offshoot of the much larger Mt. Greylock Resevation, the setting of Greylock Glen was actually rather pastoral. Large fields and open views were the products of an earlier attempt to convert the area into a golf course. The little willow-lined ponds offered many beautiful mornings of photography in this sleepy little corner of the world.

The other bonus was the fact that Mt. Greylock was right there, which meant there were plenty of opportunities to get up the mountain and explore. Some stands of old growth mountain trees, and an old forgotten fireplace (seen at right) made every trip into the woods feel like a trip back in time.

I was ready to return to the park in 2002, but budget cuts resulted in the demise of the DEM, which no longer exists. It was reorganized, combined with other departments, and reintroduced to the public as the Massachusetts DCR. It was time to move on.

Copyright 2012 William Danielson