French Park, North Egremont, is the Town's most notable recreation area, comprising 144 acres. The Park was established in 1965 as a donation from Mabel French Campion to the Town. The Town's Select Board is designed as Trustees of French Park.
Park visitors will discover a playground, two professional tennis courts, two pickleball courts, an adult fitness playground, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a horse rink, the French Park Dog Park, a Little League field, a softball field, community and pollinator gardens, a pavilion, a bandstand, a two-and-one-half mile trail network and a skating rink in winter. Please note the use of the tennis courts is by reservation. You will find a signup sheet at the courts.
Park visitors can also enjoy the Park's free public Wi-Fi provided by Fiber Connect of the Berkshires. When in the Park, access "EgremontFreeWi-Fi," an unsecured network. The Wi-Fi service covers the lower portion of the Park. A 360° antenna on a pole behind one of the dugouts broadcasts the signal. Speeds will vary depending on your distance from the antenna.
The Park is open all days, year-round, from dawn to dusk—Park facilities, however, officially close in mid-October. Reservations for the Pavilion are unavailable after October 15. Reservations reopen in mid-April. Hunting is permitted in October, November, and December with a permit. Please check the MA 2022 Hunting schedule (PDF) to know when hunters may be in the Park.
French Park's Adult Fitness Playground
An adult fitness playground enabled by donations to the Council on Aging is taking shape at French Park. Five of nine fitness stations are already placed in a line behind the children's playground and the smaller pavilion.
The current equipment includes a rowing machine, stationary bicycle, skill trainer, assisted balance walk, and cross-country skier. The equipment emphasizes core muscle strength and activities to increase flexibility and aerobics.
The skill trainer and assisted balance beam may be new to most users of the fitness equipment.
The Skill Trainer develops fine motor skills, coordination, flexibility, and balance. Users will grasp a colored ring and slide it from one side of the bar to the other, trying not to allow the ring to touch the inside bar. The Ring Trace is offered at three heights: seated, standing, or from a wheelchair.
The Assisted Balance Walk combines a balance beam with handrails for additional support to help users improve and maintain their balance. The balance beam is six inches wide and features a treaded surface. The handrails feature a comfortable grip coating, making them easier to grasp during exercise. Users can walk from one end of the beam to another to improve their balance or engage in more advanced exercises like one-leg squats to enhance flexibility.
French Park's Two Professional Tennis Courts
Please show your respect for French Park- fellow users and the Town’s maintenance staff - by adhering to the following:
- Motorized vehicles are prohibited in French Park, either in the open Park areas or trails. If you see a 4-wheeler on the trails, it is a town official checking the trails for safety.
- If someone has reserved the Pavilion with the Town for an event, they have exclusive use. You cannot access the Pavilion while the event is in progress. Please do not disrupt the event or invite yourself to the event. The rest of the Park remains open to the public. Details on reserving the Park are below under French Park Reservations.
- Please do not litter. Dispose of empty drink bottles and trash in the properly marked receptacles. Glass containers are prohibited in the Park. The Park’s trash and recycling receptacles are not for your private use. Please do not clean out your car while at the Park, and do not dump your home trash.
- Please close the gates when you leave if you use gated park areas – the ball field, horse ring, community garden, tennis courts, and dog park.
- Do not drive into or park your vehicle in the playground area.
French Park's Two Regulation Pickleball Courts
Pickleball Courts Ready for Play! Adult Fitness Playground Coming.
What you need to know about using the courts: tennis shoes only, racket sports only, 1.5 hours allotted for doubles, and 1 hour allotted for singles. Please be mindful of your time so others can have the same opportunity to play. Also, no paid lessons are allowed on the pickleball or tennis courts.
Please obey the No Parking signs along Baldwin Hill North. Ample parking is available at the main entrance to the Park on Prospect Lake Rd. It's a short walk to the courts. The courts are located between the tennis courts and the Little League field.
It is anticipated that within 2023, an adult fitness playground enabled by donations to the Council on Aging will be installed at French Park. Nine fitness stations will be placed in a line behind the children's playground and the smaller pavilion. The equipment will include a ski walker, a chest press/lateral pull, a hip twister, an exercise bike, a double leg press, a pommel horse, a self-weighted rower, and a balance beam. Check out the images of some of the fitness equipment on the Council on Aging webpage. The equipment emphasizes core muscle strength and activities to increase flexibility and aerobics.
Trustees of French Park Awarded Forest Stewardship Grant (Press Release)
The Trustees of French Park (Egremont Select Board) have been awarded a grant totaling $19,050.00 from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation’s Community Forest Stewardship Grant program for FY’23. Grant funds will help Town staff and consultants begin implementing the French Park Forest Management Plan, a 10-year plan written with expertise by local Forester James W. Kelly.
The Community Forest Stewardship grant award was generously matched by Egremont’s voters, who committed $5,000 of Town funds during the 2022 Annual Town Meeting, signaling strong support for closer stewardship at the Park.
Though the Forest Management Plan has many diverse goals to be reached over the next decade, four areas were given the highest priority this fiscal year: To 1) Enhance wildlife diversity, 2) Improve recreational access, 3) Protect unique/sensitive cultural, historical or natural features 4) Control invasive species.
Under these priorities, work activities will include the removal of selected trees weakened by invasive insects; continuing with the cutting and treatment of invasive shrubs, such as Euonymus at the Chapel area; re-blazing of all woodland trails by Greenagers; completion of a recordable Park boundary survey, including marking boundaries with consistent signage, and enhancing public education on pollinators, habitat restoration and more, by creating an interpretive sign program. Planning for years 2-3 with active park Committees is also part of the proposed work.
Residents and town Committees interested in finding out more about the French Park Forest Management Plan and assisting with future planning should email Tom Reynolds, Egremont Buildings & Grounds Department, or Peg McDonough, Grant Administrator.
French Park Dog Park
The French Park Dog Park (FPDP) is located on the property of French Park and is operated by the Town of Egremont; the operation and upkeep of the Dog Park area are privately funded.
The FPDP is a fully fenced-in outdoor space featuring two grassy lawn areas that allow dogs to socialize with one another off-leash. Clean-up bags and trash cans are provided to make disposal easy. Dog owners are advised to bring water to keep their dogs hydrated. No food or treats are allowed in the park.
Users of this French Park Dog Park do so at their own risk. To use the FPDP, you must register. You can register here. If you have not registered, you will be asked to do so before entering the park. The registration form states the use rules for you and your dog(s). You'll also find the PDF of the Rules under Helpful Documents. The information you provide will only be used for registration purposes by the Town of Egremont and will not be released to any other parties.
The FPDP is funded entirely through private donations. Donations to the FPDP can be made at the Dog Park. The park costs approximately $4,500 yearly to maintain. Contribute by cash or check (payable to the French Park Dog Park) in the secure donation box by the park entry gate.
Dog Park Committee Members
Questions? Email the French Park Dog Park Committee.
French Park Pollinator Garden
Visit French Park's upper field, where you'll discover a pollinator garden maintained by volunteers near the French Park Dog Park. A pollinator garden attracts and supports pollinators like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects. These gardens are typically filled with native plants that provide food sources like nectar, pollen, and seeds. They can also provide nesting sites and caterpillar host plants for certain species of butterflies and moths.
A pollinator garden can be highly beneficial for the environment and local ecosystems for a few key reasons:
- Supports biodiversity: The garden attracts and supports a diverse range of pollinator species throughout the season by planting various plants that flower at different times. The differing flowering times help to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem.
- Aids in food production: Many food crops, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts, rely on pollinators to reproduce. By supporting pollinator populations, we can help to improve the productivity of local gardens and farms.
- Preserves wildlife: Pollinator gardens provide crucial habitats for many types of wildlife. Beyond pollinators, these gardens can also support a range of birds, small mammals, and beneficial insects.
- Fights against pollinator decline: Unfortunately, many pollinator species are in decline due to habitat loss, pesticide exposure, climate change, and disease. Creating a pollinator-friendly garden can provide a haven for these vital creatures.
- Educational opportunities: Pollinator gardens can also serve as a valuable educational tool, providing a way for people of all ages to learn about ecology, conservation, and the vital role that pollinators play in our food system and the environment as a whole.
To Reserve the Pavilion in French Park
Please be aware of the following rules and regulations before reserving specific areas (see below) of French Park. Though the Park is open from dawn to dusk, booked events may be permitted until 10:00 PM. The French Park Trustees reserve the right to approve or deny a reservation request.
Download the French Park Reservation Form (PDF) and the calendar of French Park Pavilion Booked Dates for 2023 (PDF). Please check with Town Hall to confirm a booked date at 413-528-0182 ext 17 before sending in your form. Reservations for the use of the Pavilion are unavailable from October 15 to mid-April.
- Reservation requests for the Pavilion and the bandstand must be made to the Town Hall Office Administrator for events such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, reunions, etc.
- Reservation requests for the Little League Field, volleyball court, horse ring, basketball court, tennis court, or the Babe Ruth ball field must be made to the Town Hall Office Administrator.
- Reservations for fundraising events must be made to the French Park Trustees in writing.
- Reservations for the whole of French Park or a significant portion are not permitted. Reservations are specific to the area requested. French Park will remain open to the public and their use during reserved events.
- The Town requires proof of a liability insurance certificate of $1.000.000 for significant group events such as fundraisers, horse shows, or ball games.
- Admission and parking fees to French Park are prohibited; admission fees to events held in specific park areas are permitted.
- If dogs are present for a reserved event, they must be leashed unless kept in the French Park Dog Park. Dog owners are responsible for cleaning up and removing their dog(s) waste from the Park.
- Horses are allowed in the open area of French Park between the Little League Field and Prospect Lake Road, in the horse ring and its immediate surrounding area, along the tree line accessing the trails, and in the Park’s wooded areas. Horses are not allowed in the playground, ball fields, or Pavilion. Horse owners are responsible for cleaning up and removing their horse(s) manure.
- Any trash from an event must be placed in the proper park receptacles. Recycling is mandatory, with receptacles marked. Glass containers are not allowed.
- If an event has music, please attempt to notify abutting homeowners prior.
Voluntary French Park Donation Suggestions
Donations to help pay the cost of maintaining French Park are appreciated. To donate, make checks payable to the Town of Egremont and either drop the check at Town Hall or mail it to P.O. Box 368, South Egremont, MA. 01258. Thank you.
- Large Corporate Picnics/Organized Groups: $150.00
- Non-Resident Functions: $50.00
- Egremont Residents: $20.00
Jug End State Reservation and Wildlife Management Area
Comprised of 1,158 acres, Jug End offers some of the best scenic views of the Berkshires. Passive recreation opportunities include hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and nature study. Jug End also offers access to and parking for the Appalachian Trail.
Jug End is open from dawn to dusk. Please check the MA Department of Conservation & Recreation for trail maps, self-guided opportunities, and restrictions on use.