Petition Closed

Lift the dog ban at Elm Bank

This petition had 62 supporters

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MA Hort) leases a portion of Elm Bank Reservation from the state of Massachusetts for its horticultural pursuits with the express stipulation that they continue to provide access to the public; “ensuring the shared use and enjoyment of the Elm Bank Reservation and access for the public and the community to the Charles River and the historic confines of the Premises”[1], [2].

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society has recently posted a Dog Free Zone policy

The Elm Bank community opposes this proposed restriction

We come to Elm Bank for many reasons; we enjoy the trails, playing fields, gardens and historic structures with our families and friends, many of us with the express purpose of sharing the experience with our dog(s).  For those of us who don’t have dogs an opportunity to interact with them. We are residents of the neighborhood, surrounding towns, members of MA Hort and most importantly Massachusetts taxpayers who have generously supported MA Hort by subsidizing the leasing of a section of this property.  Our legislature intended for this property to be maintained “for the enjoyment of all”. The proposed policy alienates the community at large, including elderly or physically impaired people who use the gardens to stroll with their dogs taking advantage of a smooth flat surface, benches and a short distance to the parking lot.  We oppose this policy on these grounds as well as one of public safety. The proposed expanded dog free zone excludes dog from walking on the paved paths within the garden area between buildings. This in effect forces us to walk on the service road when walking between trailheads.  The road is extremely unsafe; vehicles have very poor line of sight and drivers NEVER obey the posted 15MPH limit. MA Hort’s restriction will precipitate an unsafe environment that could result in injury to its visitors.

We the undersigned propose and support the following:

1. Continue to allow dogs on the paved areas between the formal garden areas. We support the dog restrictions in    the specialty garden areas e.g. Weezies garden, Italianate etc. 

2. Enforcement of current leash and waste removal policies

3. Replace No Dogs signs with waste disposal bag dispensers and donation boxes where people can donate to cover expenses


Elm Bank has been a source of public enjoyment for 75 years, the last 15 of which have been shared with MA Hort under the supervision of the DCR.  This relationship is based upon shared-use of public property and we believe that MA Hort should continue to allow access to all members of the community for the benefit of taxpayers and all visitors.

[1]MDC- MA Hort. Society Lease agreement – April 1996

[2]authorized by the 1995 session of the Massachusetts State legislature, Chapter 105, General Court Acts of 1995

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