Support Sustainable Trails in the Ware River Watershed
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We urge the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) to support and promote non-motorized recreation and trail access to the Ware River Watershed. Sustainable recreation made possible by public access to trails is important to the many citizens and taxpayers in the heart of the Commonwealth. We strongly urge the EOEEA to require the Division of Water Supply Protection to allow non-motorized access to the many miles of singletrack trails that are currently or could be made sustainable in the watershed.
Local residents have enjoyed activities such as walking, biking, and horseback riding on the more than 35 miles of trails in the Ware River Watershed area for decades. In the 11 year period from 2003-2014, the amount of state controlled lands in the watershed has grown by ~9,000 acres to its current size of ~25,000 acres, and every year the watershed continues to expand through land acquisition and the purchase of Watershed Protection Restrictions from private landowners. The current policies restricting passive recreation on these lands are inconsistent and not supported by factual evidence.
The EOEEA should require the Division of Water Supply Protection to allow sustainable recreation for the citizens living in the communities surrounding the watershed. Connecting communities with sustainable trails provides passive recreational opportunities and does not negatively impact water quality, and partnering with caring local citizens enhances monitoring of the watershed for unauthorized activity and true threats to water quality.
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