News from the Friends Network

The Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network

Connecting volunteers serving Massachusetts forests & parks since 2007!

Dear Sharl,

April is a busy time for Friends groups. Even so, it's important to keep networking for the mutual support of friends groups. Please take a few minutes to read this newsletter created by and for friends groups. And keep in touch. We like to know what your group is up to!

Happy volunteering,

The Friends Network Facilitators

Visit the Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends at

Action Item:  Draft Update to Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines Comments Due April 20, 2012

Your input is important!

The Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines (LSZG) define three types of zones to ensure resource protection based upon site–specific field data and provides guidance for current and future management based upon resource sensitivities.

Zone 1 – Highly sensitive resources
Zone 2 – Resources that support recreation
Zone 3 – Intensive use areas such as recreation and maintenance

The LSZG have recently been updated to reflect the integration of other agency planning processes, and provide expanded general management guidelines. These updated guidelines are now available for review at

Please give close attention to the Zone 1 Guidelines–Protection of sensitive resources from management or other human activities that may adversely impact the resources.

Does the Zone 1 definition “Rare species habitat, natural communities, archeological sites, or fragile cultural sites identified as being sensitive to/easily degraded by human activities” go far enough? What about the habitats of species not designated as “rare”? Or lands that are unusually pristine or have highly erodible soils? Or wetlands and their buffers? Or places with legacy trees and cultural sites still in use?

Does Section IV. Forest Resource Management Plans give enough protection to forested lands?
Information and data collected in the [Forest Resource Management Plans] FRMPs related to forested areas is similar to what is gathered for an [Resource Management Plan] RMP and will be utilized in the development of RMPs for properties located in these areas. As DCR continues to develop RMPs for its properties, forest management planning will occur as a part of the RMP process.
The Friends Network continues to read M.G.L. Chapter 21: Section 2F, (to prepare management plans that: encompass all reservations, forests and parks; provide for the protection and stewardship of natural, cultural, and recreational resources under the agency’s management, and ensure consistency between recreation, resource protection and sustainable forest management) as requiring DCR to prepare RMPs first so that complete inventories of forest resources, along with the cultural, recreational and water resources can be recorded before FRMPs.

The language in the LSZG is confusing but we understand that the FRMPs already developed will guide timber harvesting now and that those FRMPs will inform future RMPs. Does that seem right?

DCR is accepting written comments on the Draft Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines until Friday, April 20, 2012, 5:00 PM.
Send comments to to (please put ‘Land Stewardship Zoning’ in the subject line)

Forest Future Visioning Process Landscape Designations Finalized

The new Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Landscape Designations, Management Guidelines, and maps that will guide management of 308,000 acres of state parklands (not including DFW or DCR watershed lands) can all be found on the DCR website at:
Those of you in the Friends Network who took part in the Forest Futures Visioning Process (FFVP) can take pride in the process that started with forest advocates demanding better stewardship and greater transparency regarding timber harvesting in state forests and parklands. Forest advocates did not get all they wanted out of the process, but then neither did the timber industry.

DCR is to be commended for undertaking the year–long FFVP process and we appreciate the time and resources that DCR expended to reach out to the public. Forest friends must remain attentive and watchful as we move ahead. It is DCR's actions, not words that win public trust.
Below are a few of the changes that we hope will result in greater care of our forests subject to timber harvesting:
  • Clear designations of DCR lands into woodlands, parklands, and reserves
  • The new position of Director of Forest Stewardship (Peter Church appointed)
  • Cuts restricted to 1/3 acre openings, larger cuts require special approval of the DCR Commissioner
  • Projects developed by DCR foresters, internal review by local DCR staff, sign–off by Regional Director and Management Forester
  • Harvesting project proposals to be developed biannually with consultation with DFW, NHESP, natural and cultural resources,  and operations personnel
  • Timber Harvesting Summary posted on DCR website
  • Public information meetings seeking public comments on proposed timber harvests—DCR to review and respond, public site visits of planned harvest areas
  • Preparation of detailed silvicultural prescription documenting inventoried site level resources
  • Prepare and file a MA Cutting Plan—post on the DCR website

To understand how your input may have affected the final Management Guidelines see Appendix 8 beginning on page 101, Key Changes to Landscape Designations from Draft to Final of the Landscape Designations for DCR Parks & Forests: Selection Criteria and Management Guidelines at

Understanding Tick–born Lyme Disease

Friends Network Facilitator Mike Toomey found an article that everyone who ventures outside in Massachusetts needs to read.

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for the Northeastern U.S.


Park Serve Day, Saturday, April 21, 2012

To volunteer or for more information
call DCR at 617-626-4980 or Visit the DCR web site
Welcome to DCR Park Serve Day!

For a list of the ~ 50 participating parks, beaches and ships, go to

Let's make this the best Park Serve Day ever!

April 16, 2012

  In this issue:

The Political Front

An Act relative to land taking regulations (SB 1854)  is now in committee. The bill will gut the regulatory authority of the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) by only allowing them to review development projects slated to take place in "significant habitat”.  NHESP does not currently designate "significant habitat", so this change would leave NHESP virtually powerless to weigh in on development projects that threaten rare wildlife.

Currently NHESP regulates "priority habitat" as a more flexible approach to endangered species protection.

The bill's backers have begun a propaganda effort on You Tube.  You can help protect our collective natural heritage by:

View the video

2. Vote "thumbs down" on the video

3. Contact your
state senator and reps to let them know that you do NOT support SB 1854.

4. Read the Mass Audubon
Roundup Alert

5. Read SB 1854

Want to chat about MA forests, parks and friends groups?

Join Michael Toomey on Linked In - Mass State Forests and Park Friends Network

Join the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands
and receive a 10% discount on our membership.  Use our password:  FBHINEC (this order only valid for internet memberships)

Membership provides support for our on-island volunteer programs, and provides the member with:
  • Discounts on FBHI boat trips (to Rainsford, Long and Little Brewster Islands),
  • Discounts on FBHI books & apparel
  • 20% discount on Boston Harbor Cruises boat trips (including the high-speed Provincetown boat)
  • 15% discount on Mass Bay Lines boat trips
  • 20% discount on a boat haul at Admirals Hill Marina (Chelsea)
  • 10% discount on Sailing Lessons at Black Rock Sailing School (Boston)
  • And more!

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