DCR Trails Funding Alert  April 14, 2016

Many of you care for trails on Massachusetts DCR land, work with their staff, and know how staff and capacity continues to dwindle. A quick call to your State Representative today will help. And it will help even more if you forward this to your trail groups or others. The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee has released its FY17 budget and it would reduce DCR’s budget by another 7% after years of consistent cuts. The “State Parks & Recreation” line…, which is the primary parks operations account, would be cut by 19% from last year. DCR has lost nearly 400 full-time positions in the last 7 years – that’s 31% of the workforce responsible for park operations, forest stewardship, playgrounds, ball fields, rinks, pools, 2,000 miles of trails, historic parkways, and oversight of over 3,000 dams.

Representative Paul Schmid has introduced an amendment to increase the State Parks & Recreation Line by $12.5 million to $50 million. We need to garner co-sponsors for the amendment right away.

Please take one minute to call or email your State Representative today and ask him or her to Co-Sponsor Representative Shmid’s budget amendment to increase “DCR State Parks & Recreation Line Item 2810-0100 to $50 million.” You will most likely simply ask the person who answers the phone for your Representative to co-sponsor – it’s not difficult and really only takes a minute. The deadline for co-sponsoring is Friday at 2:00.

Find your State Representative and contact information at www.wheredoivotema.com.

Here are the details they will need, including the staff contact:

DCR State Parks & Recreation (Line-Item: 2810-0100)
FY17 Amendment Increase Amount: $12,591,570 (to bring funding to $50,000,000)
FY17 House Ways & Means: $37,408,430
FY17 Governor: $37,378,430
FY16 funding: $46,361,985
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is responsible for the stewardship of over 450,000 acres of land which include parks, beaches, forests, pools, skating rinks and campgrounds. DCR has lost nearly 400 full-time positions (31% of its workforce) in the last seven years. These cuts have led to property closures, unstaffed campgrounds, shorter seasons for our pools and rinks, and fewer programs for children.
• To co-sponsor, contact Serafina Zeringo at serafina.zeringo@mahouse.gov.

Please make a call or send an e-mail. Then share this with your friends and ask them to do the same.
Thanks Becky

Massachusetts Equine Economic Impact Survey

The Equine Committee of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is undertaking a study to assess the impact of the equine industry in the state of MA, to be conducted by Farm Credit East. Funding has been raised by the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, and come from the generous support of such organizations as the Bay State Trail Riders Association, the Hanover Hunt & Riding Club, Massachusetts Horse magazine, the Massachusetts Horsemen’s Council, the Massachusetts Morgan Horse Association, the Western New England Professional Horseman’s Association, and UPHA Chapter 14, along with a variety of private donors. No public funds are being used to pay for the study.

A questionnaire that request some financial information is part of the study. It’s important for everyone to complete the questionnaire as accurately as possible. Please answer the questions as they pertain to your ownership or operation. Example: gross revenue from equine operation in 2015. If you own your own horse for your own use you won’t have any gross revenue. So just enter 0.

Farm Credit East will summarize the data obtained from it for the Equine Committee so that its members can produce information brochures for the Massachusetts equestrian community that will help in lobbying state government on behalf of horse owners and stable operators. We would like to emphasize that the financial information will be kept confidential and will be retained by Farm Credit East. It will not be available to anyone else, including state or local officials, the Farm Bureau, Farm Credit East, or the Equine Community.

The purpose of this study is to help the equestrian community understand the value of the Massachusetts equine industry, and gather important date to help in lobbying on your behalf. We need your help  and participation!

If you participate you will be automatically entered into a drawing for one grand prize of a $500 gift certificate from SmartPak or one of five $100 gift certificate from SmartPak.

Surveys are due Feb. 1, 2016. Prize drawing will be held April 1, 2016.

To download and fill out the form, click below.


Or to fill out on-line, please go to: www.farmcrediteast.com/equinestudy



DCR Park Fees & Impact on Parking Your Trailer


In January 2015, the Commonwealth of MA modified certain MassParks day use parking fees, including the following:

An increase in day use parking fees at parks and beaches that charge a parking fee.  In addition, the day use parking fee for vehicles with out-of-state license plates is now slightly higher than for those with Massachusetts license plates. For the most part the price on a day use pass is $8 for MA residents and $10 for non-MA residents. If you go to this site, it will list the prices for all the park fees: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/passes-and-fees/parking-fees.html

An increase in fees for the annual MassParks Pass to $60 for MA residents and to $85 for non-MA residents.   The charge for adding a second vehicle to an Annual Pass is now $25.

Effective March 15, 2015, a new, one-time fee of $10 for a lifetime Senior MassParks Pass for Massachusetts residents 62 years or older.  DCR will continue to honor Senior MassParks Passes previously issued by the agency.

The new revenue raised by the increased fees will be used by DCR to address critical staffing and infrastructure needs across the state park system.  DCR has been sensitive to the economy, and we have not increased our day use fees statewide since 2004.

There are some parks that they way they are set up, you will be charged a parking fee for your truck & trailer when you go riding.

An example of this is Lake Dennison. I was up there on the 24th to meet with Mike and do some trail work. If you go in through the main gate by the Lake to go park on New Boston Rd or one of the other smaller parking areas, you will be charged.

If you visit often, your best bet is to get an annual pass which will be good at all state forests and parks. The other option would be to park at the River Road Trail Head by Birch Hill Dam. This just puts you on the other end of the park area.




For any riders that ride along the tarred road next to the lake which would be part of New Boston Road (.3 of a mile) and Royalston Road South (.3 of a mile) – if your horse deposits a pile – please dismount and kick it off the road.

This is a very high use area and Mike would like to see it kept “clean” if you know what I mean!

Requests like this I think are going to become more common in high use areas. And we all should be cleaning up our hay and manure from where you are parked.

If you ride with others, please teach them the proper duties that we should be doing so as not to loose our riding privileges. This is the easiest and simplest thing we can do to make sure we are not banned from riding. RESPECT!