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  Alpine CCC Ski Trails > Massachusetts

Wachusett Mountain CCC Ski Trails
Princeton, Massachusetts
The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015
The Pine Hill Trail (March 2015)

Overview
Location map The highest peak east of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, Wachusett Mountain was one of the first Civilian Conservation Corps ski projects in the state. The Wachusett Mountain Reservation was created in 1899 with A. G. Bullock, Harold Parker, and Theodore L Harlow serving as the first commissioners.

Thirty-seven years later, the 197th company of the CCC developed ski trails on the mountain. Using three Caterpillar tractors and hundreds of pounds of dynamite to eliminate protruding stumps and rock, many stretches of trail were finished with loam and planted vegetation to make for a smooth surface.

The CCC work effort in 1937 included construction a field stone lodge near the base of the Wachusett Mountain Trail, with chief forester George Grabner stating, "The ski lodge is not intended exclusively for use in winter time. It is so laid that nature study, outdoor or wild life clubs may use it at any time of the year."

With a federal funding reduction set to shut down the 197th company's operations in September 1937, the lodge was temporarily boarded up and abandoned. A last minute reprieve allowed for construction to continue, with the facility hosting its first event in December. The building eventually became known as the Bullock Lodge, possibly when Wachusett Mountain Ski Area was developed.



Trails on Wachusett Mountain
Balance Rock Trail - Open
Designed by Charles Parker, the Balance Rock Trail was improved for skiing by the CCC in 1936. Originally known as the Wachusett Mountain Trail, it sported an 858 vertical drop over the course of 5,557 feet in length. A lodge was constructed near the base of the trail one year later. The lower portion of the trail became lift-accessible with the early 1960s Wachusett Mountain Ski Area development. While the middle portion is closed, the upper portion of the trail was incorporated into the ski area in the early 1980s.

Pine Hill Trail - Open
The Pine Hill Trail was also likely developed for skiing in 1936. Dropping 545 vertical feet down the east face of the mountain, the trail was 2,850 feet long with a maximum grade of 34 percent. Considered "as fast, if not faster than the speedy Mt. Greylock trail in the Berkshires," the Pine Hill Trail was the site of many races over the next quarter century. While the trail was not incorporated into the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, it has remained heavily used by hikers.

Quotes
" The work on these trails is still in progress with tractors rooting out stumps and the sun-tanned CCC boys doing the rough grading preparatory to fall seeding. According to camp officials these trails will offer amusement to ski enthusiasts this winter that cannot be surpassed in this section of the state. "
Fitchburg Sentinel, October 10, 1936


" 1938
Worcester Ski Club was responsible for the development and cutting of a new racing ski trail on the east side of Wachusett Mountain, called Pine Hill Trail. From the late 1930's through the 1950's, a dozen male members of the Club, with scythes and sickles, mowed the tall grass weeds from both the Balance Rock Trail and the Pine Hill Trail each fall in preparation for the winter skiing season.
"
History of the Worcester Ski Club


Images
The Massachusetts DCR map showing the Pine Hill Trail
The Massachusetts DCR map showing the Pine Hill Trail

The 2008 Wachusett trail map showing the Balance Rock Trail
The 2008 Wachusett trail map showing the Balance Rock Trail

The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015
The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015

The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015
The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015

The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015
The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015

The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015
The Pine Hill Trail in March 2015

The Bullock Lodge in November 2015
The Bullock Lodge in November 2015

Resources
  • Wachusett - NewEnglandSkiHistory.com
  • History of the Worcester Ski Club - Worcester Ski Club
  • Wachusett Mountain Official Site
  • Last updated: February 7, 2021
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