PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – A ribbon-cutting event held Tuesday in Palmer marks the official grand opening of the new Forest Lake boat ramp.

The new boat ramp includes 12 parking spaces for vehicles and eight parking spaces for vehicles with trailers. The $200,000 facility was constructed by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game.

“This is a regional asset, I mean folks come from Springfield and Holyoke, especially young families. This is a great lake especially if you have young families needing to learn how to fish,” said Town Manager Ryan McNutt.

“The new Forest Lake Boat Ramp serves as a great example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to increase public access to the Commonwealth’s treasured natural resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “This new facility will provide excellent recreational opportunities at Forest Lake for both anglers and boaters for many years to come.”

The 35-acre property allows shore fishing on the beach along River Street and at other locations on the other side of the lake. Trailer boats, kayaks, and canoes will also have easy access to the lake with a place to safely park vehicles. A handicapped accessible shore fishing platform is also planned to be constructed in the spring that will also be used to host learn-to-fish events sponsored by MassWildlife.

“I am glad to see the results of many conversations and much hard work. This ramp will ensure that our recreation and sporting communities are able to enjoy Forest Lake and the surrounding natural resources for years to come,” said Spencer State Senator Anne Gobi. “I would like to note special thanks to the Office of Fishing and Boating Access for their hard work through the engineering, design, and construction of the ramp.”

“I am pleased to welcome this new boat ramp and excited to improve access to a great recreational destination,” said Warren State Representative Todd Smola.

The new boat ramp is also welcome news to businesses bordering Forest Lake. Russo’s Restaurant looks forward to hosting more customers encouraged by the new boat ramp, bringing more boat owners to town.

“I think it’ll bring in a lot of business in the summer. I think it’s good for the overall situation,” said Manager Erika Fisher.

Forest Lake is a 43-acre pond in Palmer that has an average depth of then feet and a maximum depth of 26 feet. The lake is filled with largemouth bass, chain pickerel, rainbow trout, brown trout, yellow perch, white perch, black crappie, bullhead, and sunfish. MassWildlife also stocks the lake with trout regularly.