Lake Denison

About this Location

Lake Dennison Recreation Area is a 121-acre Massachusetts state park located in the town of Winchendon. It comprises a small portion of the 4,221 acres of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Birch Hill Flood Control Project that are managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and also include Otter River State Forest.

The shore is undeveloped. Adjacent to the north and east shores is a large camping area. If you are camping, you can keep your non-motorized boat near your site. Outboard motors larger than 10 hp. are prohibited.

By the 1930s Lake Dennison’s shores were dotted with summer cottages. Across from the modern-day use beach once stood the Fagerstrom House. Children came from all over the Commonwealth to board here for summer camp. A large dance pavilion once stood where the East Camping Area is today. During the day visitors could rent a canoe and paddle the lake or take a steamboat cruise. Any night of the week listening to the sounds of the big bands cost a dime, an extra nickel to dance. When a famous big band came to town, admission was a quarter but the dancing was free.

Ice fishing was a popular activity on those winter days in the thirties. After a day on the frozen lake, cold anglers often stopped at the Stumble Inn, on what is now Old Route 202, for a warming cup of coffee. Those with bad luck on the lake could pick up dinner at Dolan’s Fish Market, in the area now known as Dolan Flats.

Car top boats can be launched at numerous locations along the lake. Choose a picnic area along the lake and launch or unload your boat on the grass near the beach.

About Birch Hill Reservoir

See all hotspots at Birch Hill Reservoir

Birch Hill Dam is a project of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Besides flood risk management, a significant benefit of the dam is that the 4,384-acre reservoir area provides open space for public recreation. Since 1976, the Corps of Engineers has leased most of the reservoir area (4,221 acres) to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for recreation and fish and wildlife purposes, including the popular Lake Dennison Campground and Day Use Area. Under the supervision of DCR, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks fish and pheasants and promotes healthy wildlife populations within the reservoir area for public hunting and fishing.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

Content from Lake Dennison (MassachusettsPaddler) webpage and Birch Hill Reservoir Official Website

Last updated December 7, 2023