METROWEST, MA - The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is sponsoring five public forums in February to discuss draft recommendations on the future stewardship and management of forest lands within the Massachusetts state parks system.
The upcoming public forums will be at the following dates, times, and locations:
Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Westborough Public Library
55 West Main Street, Westborough
(Snow date: Tuesday, February 16)
Saturday, February 6, 2010 -10 a.m.- Noon
North Adams Public Library
74 Church Street, North Adams
(Snow date: Saturday, February 13)
Saturday, February 6, 2010 -2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Berkshire Community College
Melville Hall Room 201
1350 West Street, Pittsfield
(Snow date: Saturday, February 13)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 -5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
43 Amity Street, Amherst
Thursday, February 11, 2010 -5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Taunton Public Library
12 Pleasant Street, Taunton
(Snow date: Thursday, February 18)
DCR began the Forest Futures Visioning Process last spring to determine how best to manage the myriad public benefits and values of forest land within the agency's parks system,
including recreation, tourism, aesthetics, renewable forest products, habitat diversity, and landscape ecology, and how to strike the appropriate balance among them.
The process has several components, including the formation of an advisory group of stakeholders and the Technical Steering Committee. The Technical Steering Committee,which includes academics, practitioners, and scientists, is developing the draft recommendations with input from the public and the stakeholders.
"We are committed to having an open, wide-ranging, public conversation about forests in Massachusetts," said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "We had three public forums and forest tours over the summer, and we look forward to the Technical Steering Committee's recommendations and hearing public comment."
DCR contracted with the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution & Public Collaboration(MODR) at the University of Massachusetts in Boston to develop a design for the public process, act as facilitators throughout its implementation, and ensure that the discussion and processes are unbiased.
The Technical Steering Committee is composed of 11 individuals who have a high level of expertise in the issues, trends, and best practices of forest conservation and ecology, landscape ecology, natural resource economics and law, recreation, silviculture, aesthetics, watersheds, and wildlife habitat.
The draft recommendations will be posted soon on the DCR website, WWW.MASS.GOV/DCR The public is encouraged to review the recommendations and comment on them by email to MODRDCRFFVP@umb.edu. The Technical Steering Committee is expected to make its final recommendations to DCR in late winter 2010.
For more information on this public process, visit: http://www.mass.gov/dcr
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr., the agency's mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr. Contact us at email@example.com.