From the globally rare pine barrens of southeastern Massachusetts to the mountains of the Berkshires that harbor black bear and bobcat, public lands support a great diversity of plant and animal species. State forests and parks contain some of the largest remaining intact habitat, essential to protecting native ecosystems in the face of development and climate change. And the state owns more habitat for rare species than any other single landowner.
Massachusetts has nearly 600,000 acres of forest and parkland held in public trust by state environmental agencies. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) manages about 450,000 acres of land, while the remainder is under the Department of Fish and Game.
Much of the state land is forested. Forests provide scenic beauty and opportunities for recreation and renewal. They filter and store clean drinking water, clean the air, provide essential habitat for native plants and wildlife, store large volumes of carbon helping to offset greenhouse gas emissions, and attract tourism.
Yet your state forests and parks are suffering. Why?
- Chronic underfunding in the state budget, causing staffing shortages and maintenance backlogs
- Damage from illegal Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use
- Invasive species and other habitat degradation problems
- Lack of publicly reviewed management plans to prioritize and guide stewardship
With the Forests and Parks Partnership (PDF 76K), and the Massachusetts Forests and Parks Friends Network, Mass Audubon is working to address these issues.
Get Involved - Help Protect the Nature of Massachusetts on Public Lands!
These are your lands, and your involvement is important to help DCR achieve its mission of conservation and recreation.
State Forests and Parks Management.
Learn more about these properties and how you can have a say in their future management.
Old-growth forests. Learn about the state’s rare and precious old-growth forests and how you can help protect them.
DCR manages the ninth largest park service in the nation, but the system is severely underfunded, with the annual operating budget reduced by over 30% in recent years. Parks are understaffed, some facilities are no longer open, and the maintenance backlog of over $1 billion continues to accumulate. You can help by signing up for the Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup and responding to our action alerts on DCR funding.
Other ways to get involved
For more information, contact Heidi Ricci.