Recreational Resources Summary
The Department of Environmental Management is the largest landholder in Massachusetts. It owns and manages a total of 285,000 acres including 47 state parks, 34 state forests, 15 state reservations, 3 rail trails and 200 facilities. The revenue generated from outdoor recreation in Massachusetts reached one billion dollars in 1991. The state parks alone were visited by 19 million people in 1993. This indicates that recreation is a great source of revenue for the Commonwealth.
In the mountainous region of Berkshire County in western Massachusetts, there are three Taconic trails that weave in and out of Massachusetts and New York; the Taconic Crest Trail, Taconic Skyline Trail and South Taconic trail. However, the South Taconic Trail does not connect with the northern Taconic Crest Trail and the Taconic Skyline Trail.
The Appalachian Trail (AT) in Berkshire County, is a National Scenic Trail and a premier hiking trail in the United States (Bruce 1998, p.1). From Salisburg, Connecticut, the trail passes through Egremont and runs 90 miles north to Clarksburg, and eventually to Pownal, Vermont. Within Massachusetts, the AT connects Mt. Everett State Reservation (including Mt. Everett), East Mountain State Reservation (East Mountain), Beartown State Forest (Mt. Wilcox), October Mountain State Forest (Mt. Becket), Mount Greylock State Reservation (Mt. Greylock), and Clarksburg State. Then the AT travels into Vermont as the Long Trail.
The Metacomet-Monadnock (M&M) Trail runs through the Connecticut River Valley in Central Massachusetts. The trail originates in Connecticut and terminates at Mt. Monadnock, New Hampshire where it then connects with the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway. The Metacomet trail from Connecticut enters Massachusetts near the Agawam and Southwick town lines where it becomes the M&M Trail. The entire length of the trail is 98 miles long.
The Mid-State trail is 92 miles long, stretching from New Hampshire to Rhode Island (Appalachian Mountain Club n.d., p. 1). From Harrisville, Rhode Island, near the border of Willimantic, Connecticut, the trail enters Massachusetts through the Douglas State Forest in Douglas. The trail winds its way northward through Spencer State Forest, Oakham State Forest, Rutland State Park and Wachusett Mountain State Reservation. The trail also passes through towns, villages and farmlands. In Massachusetts the trail ends in Ashburnham and connects with the Wapack Trail in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
In Boston, the historic Bay Circuit provides a string of parks for city residents. Today, with cooperation from many greenway advocates, 120 miles of multi-use trails are dedicated for the Bay Circuit in more than 30 towns. Since 1990 the Bay Circuit Alliance, a partnership of public and private organizations and individuals, is working together to complete the Bay Circuit by the year 2000. The goal of the Alliance is a 200-mile long corridor of 50 cities and towns, connecting a total of 79 areas (Bay Circuit Alliance n.d., p.1). The Warner Trail connects the Bay Circuit to Rhode Island.
The Warner Trail is 30 miles long from Canton to Diamond State Park in Rhode Island. The trail connects with the Bay Circuit in Sharon. The trail runs through both public and private land and features a number of stream and swamp crossings and unexpected hills such as Moose Hill Audubon Sanctuary, F. Gilbert Hills State Forest and Minehaha Falls. These five long distance trails and the Warner Trail are currently in use today.
Proposals by Others