State Budget Cuts Affect Blue Hills Trailside Museum
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—In response to cuts in the Massachusetts state budget by Governor Charlie Baker, Mass Audubon has found it necessary to reduce services and personnel at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton. Effective the weekend of February 18-19, free education programs will no longer be offered and the restroom in the north parking lot will be closed. One full time staff position as well as part-time staff hours have been cut.
The reductions come in the wake of losing $500,000 in state funding—more than 60 percent of Trailside’s annual operating budget.
Mass Audubon operates the popular museum situated on Route 138 on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The building and facilities are part of the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation, owned by DCR.
While unfortunate, the museum cuts have been made as strategically as possible, in order to increase capacity for other popular programs and visitor experiences at Trailside, including those that allow us to generate additional operating income.
Mass Audubon has taken these steps because of its longstanding commitment to Trailside and to the thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds who visit each year to connect with nature. Trailside also serves as the visitor center to the Blue Hills, the state’s largest swath of protected land in a suburban/urban setting.
Mass Audubon will continue to work with the Legislature, DCR, and the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs leadership in an attempt to restore this year’s funding, and it will make every effort to ensure that Trailside funding is included in the final state budget for FY18.
We also urge Mass Audubon members and supporters to contact their legislators and encourage them to ask that operating support for Trailside be restored.
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.