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Thank you for making the Friends Network 2013 Annual Conference—Focus on Friends—a success!

DSC_0683Thank you to everyone who attended the Friends Network's Sixth Annual Conference. We had our largest turnout ever with 55 attendees, comprising: 46 Friends groups’ volunteers; 8 DCR Friends; and one very special Civilian Conservation Corps Alumnus. Twenty-three different Friends groups were represented at this year's conference.

The evaluations unanimously declare that the conference was "interesting and helpful", which means that we're already planning next year's conference. Next time we promise to turn up the heat and devote even more time to sharing Friends groups' successes and challenges!

Looking forward to seeing you at the Seventh Annual Conference in 2014,

The Friends Network Facilitators

More About the 2013 Conference

Thank you to our DCR guests: Commissioner Jack Murray; Bureau of Planning and Resource Protection Chief Joseph R. Orfant; DCR Bureau of Ranger Services Acting Chief Ranger Chris Williams; Director of Office of Cultural Resources Patrice Kish; Supervisor John DeCosta; Supervisor Val Stegemoen, Bureau of Ranger Services Lt. Tom Bender; and Ranger Ray McKinnon.

DSC_0671 Special thanks to Frank Evans for keeping the Civilian Conservation Corps legacy alive in Massachusetts (seen on left with Ellen Arnold, Friends of Upton State Forest and Commissioner Murray)

Thank you to our Friends group speakers: Bob Leverett, Forest Reserve Science Advisory Board, Native Tree Society and the Friends of Mohawk Trails State Forest (Bob is on a mission to save the Eastern Hemlock—more about how you can get involved coming soon); Bill Taylor, Friends of Upton State Forest; Mike Toomey, Friends of Douglas State Forest & Howe Park at Spencer State Forest; Sharl Heller, Southeastern Mass. Pine Barrens Alliance; and Ellen Arnold, Friends of Upton State Forest.

Thank you VFW Post 5594!

Many Friends groups participated in the Friends Groups Introductions segment of the conference, submitting photos for a brief presentation to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jack Murray.

View the participating Friends Groups Introduction Presentation (reduced resolution to aid download time).

Review notes from the Friends Network Conference

Check out the Friends Network Facebook for photos and comments about the 2013 Conference

Visit to learn about this year's DCR Friend of the Year Award Recipients

Upton Daily News: Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Partnership to hold conference in Upton on Dec 7


The Friends Network 2013 DCR Friend of the Year Award Recipients

Each year, the Friends Network recognizes the DCR employees who exhibit exemplary efforts on behalf of forests, parks, beaches, trails and Friends or other volunteer groups. Nominees were selected based on excellence in work performance, judgment, initiative, integrity, support for Friends groups and community relations.
DSC_0643 The Members of the DCR Office of Cultural Resource. Patrice Kish, Director of the Office of Cultural Resources (center), accepting the award on behalf of all of the members
Bender Bureau of Ranger Services Lt. Tom Bender. Nominated by Friends of Scusset Beach State Reservation
McKinnon Bureau of Bureau of Ranger Services Ray McKinnon. Nominated by Friends of Scusset Beach State Reservation

Visit the Friends Network Website to read the winners' nomination statements.

The Friends Network 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients

Each year the Friends Network recognizes volunteers who have benefited State parklands in an extraordinary way. Recipients were recognized at the Friends Network Annual Conference on December 7, 2013.

Visit the Friends Network Website to read the winners' nomination statements.

DSC_0650 Virginia Scharfenberg, Waquoit Bay Reserve Foundation (center)
DSC_0652 Caleb Blankenship, Friends of the Blue Hills Reservation (second from left)
DSC_0655 William Finn, Mt. Tom State Reservation Advocacy Group (center)
DSC_0657 Melissa Guimont, Friends of Myles Standish State Forest (second from left)
DSC_0659 Mike Penko, Friends of Upton State Forest (second from left)
Rick and Elise Smith receive special recognition from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Volunteers of the Year.

Elise and Rick Smith, Scusset Beach State Reservation (left) with DCR Supervisor John DeCosta, Linda Porazzo, and special assistant to House Speaker Representative DeLeo, Wayne Theroux, presenting a Certificate of Appreciation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Friends Network Volunteers of Year, Elise and Rick.


√  The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) is accepting comments from interested parties as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 recommendation process.

Help your special park and/or favorite state agency by asking for budget considerations for what you think is most needed. Have a look at Commissioner Murray's PowerPoint presentation above for information on the recent DCR cuts. Your input can make a difference.  

Address comments to:
Ms. Lonsdale Koester
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA)
Subject Line: Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

Comments must be received by Dec. 13, close of business—so hurry!

EOEEA  Notice

Friends Network Off-Highway Vehicle Trails Advisory Committee (OHVTAC) Terms End as New Terms Begin

Friends Groups would like to thank Sharon Jordan, Friends of Upton State Forest, our first representative to the OHVTAC, for completing her term of service. Sharon provided strong leadership on the OHVTAC Education Subcommittee and always kept the Friends group facilitators informed

We welcome Mike Toomey, Friends of Douglas State Forest and a Friends Network Facilitator and thank him for stepping into this important position. Mike and his family enjoy off-road vehicles and he has a long record of caring for the environment. We believe Mike will prove to be a valuable member of the Committee.

We wish to recognize another member of the OHVTAC who is stepping down at this time. Ken Anderson is an avid OHV enthusiast who has worked to bring the OHV community to the table of stakeholders. As a representative for the OHV community, Ken has promoted his sport with dignity, passion and reason. Thank you for your many years of service, Ken. You will be missed.

Help Distribute The Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Handbook

The Mass Environmental Police (MEP) has produced an excellent booklet, The Handbook of Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Laws and Safe Operating Procedures for OHVs.

The Friends Network facilitators will provide copies of the MEP Handbook at the Annual Conference on Dec. 7. If you'd like to pick up copies at the Conference, send an email to, and tell us how many you'd like.
Hard copies of the Handbook are available for distribution by contacting OHV.SafetyCourse@Massmail.State.MA.US. Please help the MEP distribute the Handbooks. Thanks for your help!


Networking Friends

Groups marked by an asterisk * attended the 2013 Friends Network Conference

*Arborway Coalition

Bay State Trail Riders Association

Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)
*Blackstone Canal Conservancy, Inc.

Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee

Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee

Grand Trunk Trail Blazers
*Green Futures

Mass Audubon
*Mt. Tom State Reservation Citizens Advocacy Group
*Native Tree Society
*New England Mountain Bike Association
*Olmstead 2020
*Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance

Friends of:
*Alewife Reservation
*Blue Hills Reservation

Boston Harbor Islands

Buckland State Forest

Dighton Rock Museum
*Douglas, and Howe Park in Spencer State Forest
*Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Hawksnest State Park

Harold Parker State Park

Lynn Woods
*Massasoit State Park
*Middlesex Fells Reservation
*Mohawk Trail State Forest
*Myles Standish State Forest

Mystic River

Nickerson State Park

Quabbin and Ware River
*Robinson State Park
*Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc.
*Scusset Beach Reservation, Inc.
*Shawme-Crowell State Forest

Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT)

Springside Park
*Upton State Forest

Wachusetts Mountain
*Waquoit Bay Reserve Foundation

Western Greenway

Willard Brook
*Wompatuck State Park

If your group is not on this list and think it should be, please send an email to:

Join Friends group leader Michael Toomey on LinkedIn for discussions relevant to Friends groups: Mass State Forests & ParksFriends Network


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Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network
P.O. Box 1199
Plymouth, Massachusetts 02362