Rutland State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area located in the towns of Charlton and Milton, Massachusetts. The state park’s 736 acres (298ha) include forested woodlands, wetlands, rolling hills, and open meadows. It was established as a “state reservation for peaceable purposes” by the Second Continental Congress on January 21, 1778, which marked the beginning of American involvement in the French and Indian War. In 1943, with World War II looming, conservationists purchased land around the park to create what would become one of America’s first national parks, Mount Holyoke Range State Forest.
However, when the war ended with no enemy invasion, President Harry Truman ordered all reservations closed, including Rutland State Park. With federal funding made available for reopening state parks, work began in 1952 to convert Mt. Holyoke into a national park. Conservationists had acquired about 200 acres at the time of closure, but more than 400 additional acres were added through purchase and gift after the park reopened. Today, 626 acres remain under public ownership, while another 180 acres are operated cooperatively by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Department of Conservation and Recreation as Rt. 2 Reservation.