West Bridgewater State Forest
West Meadows Pond WMA & West Bridgewater State Forest
599 Spring St, West Bridgewater
The West Meadow Pond Wildlife Management Area and the West Bridgewater State Forest abut each other just south of the Brockton line in the town of West Bridgewater.
The West Meadow Pond WMA is a very scenic spot. A large lake and dam are right next to the main parking lot. Hockomock River spills from that dam and leads to Mill Pond at the southern end of these properties. The West Bridgewater State Forest is one of those many nearly forgotten state properties. Few people have ever heard of it.
I enjoy riding here as it's very close to a major city, yet somehow it seems very remote. In fact, if you could somehow subtract the traffic noise from nearby route 24 you'd be sure that you were somewhere in the backcountry of oh, I don't know, northern Maine.
The original trails in the WMA are all doubletracks. At one time they were improved and solidified, maybe even improved to the level of dirt roads. But over the years they have degraded somewhat. No longer smooth, they have occasional puddles and exposed roots. The puddles however, retain firm bottoms for the earlier improvements. And you can ride right through the middle of most of them without encountering mud. The WMA has about 5 miles of these old woods roads.
In more recent years ATVs have created a network of trails that are not so stable. They wind through the woods oftentimes through deep boggy areas. (ATV's and all motorized vehicles are not allowed in these two properties.)
The West Bridgewater State Forest is best accessed from the West Meadow Pond WMA. Follow the road across the dam and then turn left, either right after the dam, or about a half mile later. The old roads in the state forest were never improved to the extent the ones in the WMA were. As a result the puddles are deeper and the bottoms of them are much muddier. In addition there are pools of standing water on many of these 'roads' the result of years of motorized use without maintenance.
In all the two properties have over 15 miles of trails. A very mellow ride can be had if you stay on the old roads in the WMA. Things get much more difficult in the state forest, and on the ATV trails.
I enjoy riding here in the summer when the spring's water has mostly dried up. It's also a blast riding here in the middle of the winter with studded tires after a period of below freezing weather. Then all the water will be solidified and you can easily ride most everywhere.
Expect to see a lot of waterfowl in and around the lake. And if you're a fisherman, cast your line into the water just above the spillway.
From the north or south: Take Rte. 24 to exit 16 and head East towards West Bridgewater. Go 1.1 miles and turn left on North Elm Street. Go .9 miles and turn left on Spring Street. Follow Spring Street to the end, (it will turn into a dirt road.) Park anywhere in the dirt parking area.
It's wet and muddy in the spring or after an extended period of rain. Always bring plenty of bug spray during the insect season. Both of these areas are open to hunting during the Massachusetts hunting seasons. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sunday's.)
Submitted by Bill Boles