Massasoit State Park is only a mile from my home and right on the Middleboro and Taunton Town Line. I had never been here before so my friends and I went to check it out and see how wheelchair accessible this State Park is.
When you drive into the Massasoit State Park there is a parking lot to the right and a nice grass area when one can have a picnic or just sit and relax. This area has picnic tables but it is not wheelchair accessible for there is a curb that my wheelchair couldn’t get up.
If you continue on the main entry road you will come to a Contact Station. There was a very nice young woman and man working here today. They gave us a map of the whole park and a daily pass so we could go into this park to see how wheelchair accessible it is.
They also gave us a brochure that said this ‘State Park officially opened in 1969, but people have used the land for centuries’. It is known that the Native Americans lived here from the arrowheads and stone axeheads found buried in this park. The Pilgrim Settlers often used this park too. The story the brochure stated that was really cool was that Elizabeth Pole traded “a jacknife and a pot of beans” to the Native Americans for 5,000 acres of land in 1637! Still Hill is now known as Stall Island and was Elizabeth Pole’s farm and is in park. Other historical sites in this park are King’s Iron Furnace that was built in 1724 and Dean’s Cotton Mill that was built in 1812. This park is not just recreational, it is also historical and educational.
There is a grass area behind the Contact Station that has one picnic bench in it. The area here is wheelchair accessible for there is a part in the curb that is cut out so a wheelchair can access it. None of the picnic benches in this park are wheelchair accessible because the benches don’t pull out. This area overlooks the Cranberry Bogs and has a bluebird house in the front of the bogs. Eastern Bluebirds are very common in Middleboro and Lakeville.
The park has many campsites that people can camp overnight at. There are 3 handicap camping sites located in this park. So if you’re in a wheelchair and like to camp you may want to check out this park. The cost to camp is very reasonable. It is $12 for a non electrical site, $15 for an electrical site and $17 for a site one can put a camper on.
There are four lakes in this park. Anyone can fish here if you have a fishing license. To fish in fresh water in MA you need a fishing license that you can even get at Walmart. Many come here to canoe, walk, hike, horseback ride and even cross country ski in the winter. There is a beach but only those camping here can swim in the water at the beach.
We drove along the road very slow in this park for the speed limit is only 5 mph! It is a safe place to take a walk, wheel your wheelchair or a take a bike ride for no one is speeding. We stopped at the restrooms and went in to check them out. There is a nice pinic area in front and you can see many campers camping a far.
The sinks are wheelchair accessible and the pipes under the sinks are not exposed. The room with toilet stalls has one handicap stall but it is way to small to fit my wheelchair in.
There was a room with three shower stalls in the restroom we stopped. It had one larger one for a wheelchair but it was way to small. The handicap accessible shower stall and another stall had a sign on it that it – ‘Out of Order’.
We then proceeded to the beach area. There are 2 handicap parking spaces right across the road from the beach area. The restroom in this area would be difficult for a person in a wheelchair to enter for there is a 4 inch lip your wheelchair would need to get over.
The beach would only be wheelchair accessible for one in a beach wheelchair. This State Park does have a beach wheelchair available for one to use. It is kept upfront and locked up at the Contact Station. There is a wooden ramp leading to a wooden deck area that overlooks the lake. This is wheelchair accessible and easy to wheel a wheelchair on.
The Beach has NO LIFEGUARDS on duty so it is swim at your own risk. We asked about this and were told that up to nine years they did have Lifeguards on duty but the State Budget cut the funding for Lifeguards! What a shame!
We then followed the signs to the boat ramp expecting to see a dock of some kind. We found it and discovered it is just a sandy opening leading into the water.
We then hunted for the fishing area because I love to fish. We saw a man with a fishing pole and asked where the fishing area is. He told us it is anywhere in the park and pointed out a popular area to fish in. We asked if there are a lot of fish to catch and he told us there are very few ….maybe if one is lucky they might catch a pickerel or a bass. I think I’ll stick with salt water fishing off a dock!
I give Massasoit State Park ONE STAR for wheelchair accessibility. In order to earn the other Four Stars, the State of Massachusetts would need to reinstate the money needed to hire Lifeguards for the beach at this State Park, cut out areas in all cement curbs to make all locations wheelchair accessible, place some picnic tables that are wheelchair accessible in this park, enlarge the handicap toilet stall in the bathrooms, enlarge the handicap shower stall in the bathrooms, repair plumbing to ensure all showers work and build a wooden walkway or deck in an area by the pond so one in wheelchair can safely fish.