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Ensure the Fells is Designated as a Parkland

posted May 7, 2011, 2:13 PM by michele biscoe   [ updated May 7, 2011, 7:09 PM ]
The Massachusetts General Laws, in Chapter 92, Section 33, define "Reservations", like the Middlesex Fells Reservation, as "open spaces for exercise and recreation". 

Between April 2009 and April 2010, the Department of Conservation and Recreation undertook a Forest Futures Visioning Process (FFVP).  A key recommendation that came out of the FFVP was that  State and Urban parklands be allocated into three different designations to clarify management objectives and uses. Those designations are Parklands, Reserves, and Woodlands.  Of the three new categories, “parklands” would be managed primarily for recreation, human experiences, and the protection of cultural and natural features. “Reserves” would be managed primarily for biological diversity based on natural processes and the protection of large, contiguous blocks of high-value ecosystems. “Woodlands” would be managed primarily for state-of-the-art sustainable forestry, forest products, and active carbon management.

It is clear that having initially been designated a Reservation, an open space for exercise and recreation, the Fells should now be designated a Parkland.  Indeed, in the FFVP Final Recommendations, the Middlesex Fells Reservation is listed among State Parks and Reservations to be designated as Parklands.

The designation of the Middlesex Fells as a Parkland to be managed primarily for recreation, human experiences, and the protection of cultural and natural features, however has been challenged, most notably by members of the Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation Board of Directors, Bryan Hamlin (Chair) and Walter Kittredge.  Hamlin and Kittredge have proposed that the entire Middlesex Fells Reservation be designated a "Patch Reserve System".  "Patch reserves", according to the FFVR Final Report  are "designed to protect ecologically sensitive or culturally important resources that require management standards more restrictive than would generally be the case for parklands.  On March 31, Kittredge submitted an "expanded" proposal as public comment for the Resource Management Plan for the Fells.

Please come to one of the seven public meetings for Landscape Designations for DCR State and Urban Parks.  The meetings on Tuesday, May 24, in Danvers and on Wednesday, May 25,  in Wellesley will probably be the most convenient for Fells visitors.

View 2nd Public Workshop Series to Discuss Draft Landscape Designations in a larger map

Tuesday, May 24
Essex Agricultural & Technical High School
562 Maple St., Danvers
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 25
Elm Bank Reservation
Washington St.
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 26
Berkshire Athenaeum
1 Wendell Ave.,Pittsfield
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 2
Frontier Regional High School
113 North Main St., South Deerfield
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Monday, June 6
North Middle School
350 Southampton Rd., Westfield
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 7
Bristol County Agricultural High School
135 Center Street, Dighton
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Monday, June 13
The Trustees of the Reservation’s Doyle Conservation Center
464 Abbot Ave., Leominster
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
michele biscoe,
May 7, 2011, 3:07 PM