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MASSACHUSETTS SIERRA CLUB
10 Milk Street, Ste 417, Boston, MA 02108-4600 Tel:(617) 423-5775

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Help Protect Our Natural Spaces

We lose 44 acres of open space in Massachusetts every day.

We are focusing on three critical parks and open space bills which will help protect our public lands for future generations.

Public Lands Protection Act (Article 97)

Currently, if a city or town wishes to take parkland for construction (museum, library, housing), it only requires a 2/3 vote in the legislature - which is customarily granted.

This bill would make it the policy of the Commonwealth that when taking parklands, the city/town must replace it with an equivalent park AND that there is no feasible alternative. In other words, taking public parks can only be done when there is no net loss.

For more information on this bill, click here

Public Input Bill

Currently, there is no requirement that Massachusetts state agencies and authorities provide advance notice or hold public hearings, before felling trees, clearing land, building structures, or making other alterations to public lands.

Abutters, walkers, joggers, and other users of parks, forests, and other public lands, frequently find out about changes only when they see the spray paint on the trees or the backhoes on site.

The Public Input Bill (2009/2010 bill H. 739) An Act to Provide Public Input Into Changes to Public Lands and Buildings Located Thereon would require public notice and input before for significant physical alterations to state parks and other public natural resource lands could take place.

For more information on this bill, click here

Old Growth Forest Bill

Old growth forests are parcels of land that have been left undisturbed since Europeans arrived in the Americas. In Massachusetts they contain trees that are hundreds of years old, some of which are 100 to 150 feet high.

Old growth forests are a link to the grandeur of the natural world. They are among the most biologically diverse landscape. And they are very rare. 

Even though these exemplary gems of nature are found on state lands, the old growth stands lack statutory protection necessary to withstand inconsistent state agency management policies. For example, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation recently permitted the destruction of 12 acres for a snowboard park beside the rare and biologically rich old-growth forest at Wachusett Mountain State Reservation - contrary to the agency's resource management plan for the forest.

The Old Growth Forest Bill (2009/2010 bill H. 797) would require an inventory of forests on state lands, identify old growth forest reserves, and develop plans for the management and protection of the reserves.

For more information on this bill, click here

What you can do to help

We urge you to join the fight. Take a few minutes today and support this critical legislation. Here are a few simple ways you can make your voice heard:

  • Call, visit, or write to your state senator and state representative
  • Attend a public hearing in support of the legislation
  • Write a letter to the editor in your local newspaper
  • Drop off flyers at your local library, grocery store, or other high-traffic area

We welcome other suggestions from those interested in protecting natural spaces here in Massachusetts. Please call 617-423-5775 or email us at   

 

See Also
Forests & Parks

Threatened Lands

Mt. Wachusett

Forest Management on Massachusetts Public Lands  

The Parks Protection Package, a legislative initiative

 

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