|David Brown's Wildlife Services
12 Hotel Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Tel: 978 544 8175
|Quabbin Trails Program
Quabbin Reservoir is surrounded by a huge protected
watershed of forest, field and beaver ponds where human
intrusion is light and wildlife abounds. Even in marginal tracking
or birding conditions, a day spent in this "accidental wilderness"
refreshes the soul.
Suitablility: Outdoor programs are suitable for reasonably fit adults and accompanied teenagers 13 years and
up. Both beginner and experienced trackers are welcome. However, participants should be free of any medical
condition that might be aggravated by long periods of walking in rough terrain. Since much travel is off-trail,
programs are not suitable for anyone with balance or coordination problems. Due to the difficulty in obtaining
emergency medical care in remote locations behind locked gates, Quabbin programs are not
recommended for anyone with a history of incapacitating sudden-onset illness.
Clothing and Equipment: Wear long sleeves and pants. Light colors show up ticks better than dark. Bring a
lunch, extra water and bug gear. Insect repellants contain 'deet': diethyl tuolomide, are best for repelling mosquitoes
and blackflies. Hiking boots are best for off-trail walking.
Directions: Quabbin programs meet at 9:45 a.m. in the country store at the Petersham common. (Please note:
the country store in Petersham has reopened under new management and new bathroom facilities. (The store
opens at 9am, carries trail snacks and serves breakfast if you wish to arrive early.) From the common we will
carpool-caravan to one of the Quabbin gates. From Boston take Exit 17 (Rte. 32) and go south 6 miles to the
common. From other directions see a roadmap or internet map service.
Registration: Use the linked registration blank only to register for "Quabbin Trails" programs described on this
page..(For events on the Sponsored Programs page, refer directly to the sponsoring organization for details and
If you wish to register after the deadline indicated in the program description above, please call or e-
mail first to ensure that the program has openings.
Please note: in order to get an accurate count of participants, those who have unused registration fees
on account should let me know by e-mail for any program they wish to attend. An accurate count is
needed because DCR does not allow groups larger than 15 without a special use permit.
- In the event a program is not adequately subscribed by the registration deadline, you will be notified of
cancellation at the telephone number or e-mail address you supplied on the blank.
- You may withdraw from a program with refund any time before the registration deadline. After the deadline
refund depends on filling the vacancy from a waiting list. In a personal emergency you may, of course,
withdraw with refund at any time.
- Light rain will not cancel tracking or bird programs. If seriously inappropriate weather conditions are forecast,
requiring postponement or cancellation, you will be called or e-mailed after the registration deadline
according to the contact information supplied on the registration blank.
Preparations for Quabbin Trails programs:
Quabbin Tracking: Fall-Winter 2017-18
Quabbin Trails Tracking programs will resume in December. A
schedule will be posted here in mid-October.
Land Navigation I: GPS
Sunday, October 15, 10am-3pm. Meet at 9:45 in the Petersham Country Store.
There is a learning curve to effective use of the Global Positioning System. This program will take you through
set-up, plotting coordinates on a paper map and following a bearing to a map location. Among other topics will
be an explanation of the difference between the lat/lon and UTM systems along with an explanation of those
mysterious acronyms and terms you see on your GPS.
Participants will need a GPS, clipboard and pencil. If you have it, bring the instructional manual for your GPS to
help with setup. Paper maps will be supplied. Other preparations are the same as for Quabbin Trails programs
(see below). The number of participants is limited. Cost is $35. Please register using a mail-in Quabbin Trails
registration blank. After October 11 please call or e-mail first to be sure there is still room in the program.
Land Navigation II: Map and Compass
Sunday, November 12, 10am-3pm. Meet at 9:45 in the Petersham Country Store.
You can get into a lot of trouble by relying solely on a GPS and a cell phone to find your way safely in the woods.
Both rely on batteries that can die at the worst moments, and cell phone reception is often poor or non-existent
in just the remote locations where you may need it most. Redundancy is best. This course will show you how to
use the compass and a paper map to locate yourself and find your way. Topics covered will include plotting
coordinates, reading the terrain and relating it to contours and other map features, setting and following a
bearing and estimating distance as well as some of the tricks that competitive orienteerers use to navigate in the
Participants should bring a sharp pencil and clipboard as well as a compass. The most useful compasses for
land navigation have a rotatable bezel on a clear, rectangular plastic base (several models are sold by Silva,
Suunto and Brunton), but any compass will do. Other preparations are the same as for Quabbin Trails programs
(see below). Participation is limited. Cost is $35. Please register with a mail-in Quabbin Trails registration blank.
After November 8, call or e-mail first to be sure there is still space in the program.
David Brown has had a lifetime of land navigation experience in remote locations. He was also a competitive
orienteerer for many years.