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!
The Friends Network Facilitators
Visit the Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends at www.networkingfriends.net
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 http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/rmp/downloads/lsz_guidelines.pdf
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
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 DCR.Updates@state.ma.us
(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: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/ld/landscapedesignations.htm
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
SUMMARY: LANDSCAPE DESIGNATIONS FOR DCR STATE AND URBAN PROPERTIES http://www.mass.gov/dcr/ld/ld_factsheet_final.pdf
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
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 http://parkserv.env.state.ma.us/parks.aspx
Let's make this the best Park Serve Day ever!