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Return to nature at Robinson State Park

Date: 6/16/2009

By Rick Sobey

Staff Intern

AGAWAM -- Before technology took over most of today's society, people spent their free time with nature.

Robinson State Park is offering an opportunity for locals to return to nature during Robinson State Park Day on June 20.

"People should come to our event to experience nature," Carol Gilmour, an event organizer, said. "We're indoors too much these days and have forgotten how to relax with nature, to learn from nature and to have fun with nature without the aid of technology.

"We as the Friends [of Robinson State Park] feel that this is a great day to celebrate the park and to invite the community to experience all that Robinson has to offer," she continued.

Steven Rossi, a member of the Friends of Robinson State Park, also wants people to enjoy the outdoors.

"The events around Robinson State Park Day are designed to showcase the wonderful resource that we all have available to us," he said. "Also, we want people to realize the great value that our parks have to offer."

There will be guided hikes and displays throughout the day. The events will start with a bird walk at 8 a.m. led by John Hutchinson of the Allen Bird Club.

After that, Professor Mike Young of Westfield State College will direct a group through the M & M Trail. This hike covers the western portion of Robinson State Park to the top of Provin Mountain.

Other events during the day include a "Big Tree Walk" and a "Vernal Pool Identification." The first presentation educates people about the forest, and the latter talks about why vernal pools are special and important to the ecosystem.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has been working with the Friends of Robinson State Park to ensure that the park remains a sanctuary. According to Gilmour, two DCR Rangers will spend June 20 at the park leading guided walks, incorporating history, safety and nature as their topics.

Gilmour believes that there should be additional programs at the park.

"Robinson State Park Day is just one way to involve the community and educate them about the importance of the park," she said. "I'd also like to have regular visits to Robinson be a part of the Agawam curriculum for every age group. I want to encourage more scout troops to use the park to earn badges. And I'd like to see the senior center become more active in the use and care of the park.

"Places like Robinson are becoming very rare and we need to protect them from development and we even need to protect them from the state," Gilmour continued.

People attending this event should provide their own food and water. Rain or shine, the event will go on as scheduled.

A standard $5 per car admission fee will be collected at the ticket booth. This fee is always charged during the summer months.

For more information, contact Gilmour via e-mail at or log on to