Safeguard State Conservation Lands

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, as well as unique sites like rare old growth forests.

Much of the land owned by the state 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, 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 plans to prioritize and guide management at many sites.

State parks as well as municipal and privately owned conservation lands are also being threatened by several proposed natural gas pipelines. Learn More

Get Involved

You can 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.

  • Find out what Mass Audubon is doing to protect forests and parks.
  • Participate in the state’s public meetings and comment opportunities on management plans for your state parks and forests.
  • Learn about how to protect the state’s rare and precious old-growth forests.
  • Volunteer in your local forest or park to help maintain trails, certify vernal pools, and run educational programs.
  • Get involved locally in protection and management of land in your community.
  • Tell your legislators to improve funding for your state parks. 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 percent in recent years. Parks are understaffed, some facilities are no longer open, and the maintenance backlog of over $1 billion continues to accumulate.