Encroachment Threatens the Midstate Trail
Each year, continuing development along the trail’s corridor pushes the Midstate Trail onto paved roadways. Currently, the Midstate Trail is on approximately 60 miles of protected land, 15 miles on private land and 17 miles on roadway. Landowners should realize the value the trail brings to the area and work to keep it off the roadways.
Protected land in Massachusetts is at a premium. Less than 15% of the Commonwealth’s land is publicly owned. Every year, Massachusetts loses over 16,000 acres of open space to residential and commercial development. Development destroys and fragments existing habitat and threatens the long-term conservation of Massachusetts’ native species and natural communities. As private development continues at an alarming rate, public lands are becoming increasingly valuable for plant and wildlife habitat, recreation, education, research and spiritual renewal. Competing demands on our Forests and Parks are growing and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the ecological resources and quality recreational opportunities remain for future generations.
Although Massachusetts is the sixth smallest state in the nation, it has the ninth largest forest and park system in the country, making the state an especially attractive place to live. More than 12 million visitors a year seek out Massachusetts’ forests and parks to bring mental and physical health to their lives, enjoying swimming holes and fishing streams, sunsets and wildflowers, quiet hikes, and peaceful bird-watching.
Massachusetts Forests and Parks in Crisis!
Lack of funding and a decreasing number of staff working to accommodate an increasing number of visitors have placed Massachusetts forests and parks in jeopardy. Specifically:
- Chronic misuse of parks and damage to natural resources are occurring as a result of inadequate staffing.
- Deteriorating facilities, owing to a $100 million backlog in routine maintenance and infrastructure improvements, potentially jeopardize public health and safety.
- Shrinking visitor services like parks closing earlier in the year, school programs being cut, fewer lifeguards on duty have led to a cut in services that the good people of Massachusetts do not deserve.
Contact your state legislator and let them know how you feel on this issue.
If you would like more information, e-mail Don