Trails Plan for DCR's Middlesex Fells Reservation Released

Even if you don't live near or use the Fells, please read on and consider commenting on this plan as this approach has implications for all DCR properties and how and when management decisions get made.
 
On Monday, September 20th, DCR presented a draft Trail System Plan for the Middlesex Fells Reservation.  The Fells is a heavily used property in the midst of a densely populated area and there is a history of user conflicts and illegal trail use.  In particular, mountain bikers have been urging DCR to open up more trails for their use, although the plan addresses other needs and uses as well. 
 
Given the complexity of the site, the significant natural resources documented on the site including rare species, wetlands, and vernal pools, and the potential impact of expanding trail uses, several environmental groups and the Friends of the Middlesex Fells called on DCR to undertake a full Resource Management Plan and make the Trails Plan a component of the RMP.  While the good news is that DCR has agreed to begin an RMP process for the Fells this November, the Draft Trails Plan still recommends a number of signficant changes be implemented prior to the full RMP being completed. 
 
ELM, MA Sierra Club, Mass Audubon, AMC, and TTOR have written to DCR asking for clarifications about decisions and timing and urging DCR to conduct the full RMP process before any significant management decisions are made. 
 
Comments on the draft Trail Plan are due on November 19th.  The draft can be found at http://www.mass.gov/dcr
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