DAR State Forest Upper Highland Lake Beaches, Water Quality Information & Camping Information

Posted on May 13, 2024


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The  day-use area beach will be open after we conduct our first water quality test on May 20, 2024 and get the results back on the May 22, 2024. The beach will be unguarded until June 15, 2024 when our lifeguards come on duty and roping is in place.  The official swimming season typically ends around Labor Day weekend.

Note that the beaches at DAR State Forest are NOT monitored or maintained by the Town of Goshen.  These are owned, operated and monitored through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Water quality at both the Upper Highland Lake Campers and Upper Highland Lake Day Use beaches is monitored and tested by DCR.  Testing is done weekly, during the swimming season, with results available only by calling the DCR Beach Water Quality hotline at (617) 626 4972.  Tests are normally carried out on Mondays and results are usually on the hotline by Tuesday or Wednesday.  In addition to the hotline, if the water is considered unsafe, notices will be posted at the two beaches by state officials.  There is NOT a website for this information.  You must either call the hotline or go to the beach to see the postings.  You may also call the DAR Headquarters at (413) 268 7098, or, email the headquarters at dar.forest@state.ma.us

Massachusetts has a web page with FAQs on Beach Water Quality & Testing that provides information on the following:

  • Why is beach water sampled?
  • What is a public beach?
  • What is a semi-public beach?
  • Who monitors the beach water quality?
  • How often is the water tested?
  • What kind of bacteria is the beach water tested for?
  • What are indicator organisms?
  • What are the standards for beach water quality in marine water?
  • What happens if levels exceed 104 cfu/100 ml?
  • What are the standards for beach water quality in fresh water?
  • Are beach postings triggered in any other way?
  • What does it mean for a beach to be posted?
  • What type of illness can you get from contact with water contaminated with bacteria?
  • How can I reduce my risk of illness from swimming?
  • What are the sources of bacteria in the water?
  • What about animal wastes on the beach?
  • What can I do to enhance water quality at beaches I use?
  • How can I find out if the beach is open or has been posted?
  • Where can I get more information?
  • How do I know when a beach is sampled?

If you wish to see historical data on contamination at particular beaches go to the Annual Beach Reports web page and you can view data from 2010 to the year before the current swimming season.  This will tell you the testing schedule,  the number of tests performed, how often there was an issue and how many days the beaches were posted as closed.  Note that Goshen beaches are on the Freshwater beach report.

For more information about the DAR State Forest go to their website at DAR State Forest website.  The website will have information on the following areas:

  • Download a trail map
  • Reserve a campsite:  First night of camping at the DAR is May 16, 2024 this year.  All campers must have a reservation to camp.  Reservations can be made through the Reserve America web site or by calling 1-877-422-6762.
  • Self-guided opportunities
  • DCR Trip Tip family self-guided adventures
  • Hours
  • Parking and fees:  Daily parking fees begin on Saturday May 25, 2024 and remain in place through the Monday of Labor Day weekend.
  • Activities
  • Facilities
  • Accessibility
  • Restrictions
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