DCR issues short-term and long-term permits for a variety of activities at DCR parks, beaches, forests, and reservations. Permits are issued for purposes ranging from one-day walkathons, to seasonal construction access to five-year commercial agreements. Some permits are awarded through a competitive bidding process, and others are available upon request. Each type of permit is administered by a different division of DCR, and the fees, seasonal schedule, and turnaround times vary.
TYPES OF PERMITS ISSUED BY DCR
Recreation & Stewardship Permits
- To find out about Off-Road Vehicle permits, booking a Group Picnic site or pavilion, or other events or programs at your local DCR park, ask a park staff member or visit the park webpage for contact information.
- To reserve an Athletic Field at a DCR park in Greater Boston, visit the DCR Athletic Fields webpage.
- To book a Golf Course Outing or get more information on DCR’s two public golf courses, including season tickets and green fees, visit the DCR Golf webpage.
- The success of DCR depends on the participation of individuals in enhancing and protecting our state parks. To find out more about volunteer and stewardship opportunities visit the DCR Get Involved webpage.
Special Use Permits
- A Special Event Permit is needed for concerts , charity walks, road races, cultural festivals, community service projects, small weddings, gatherings with amplified sound, and other special events held on DCR parklands.
- There is a $35 fee per event, and liability insurance is required for all special use permits.
- Complete and submit a Special Event Permit Application to DCR.
Commercial Activity Permits
- Any commercial activity on DCR parkland requires advance permission.
- Seasonal businesses at DCR parks, beaches, and pools, including boat rentals, food and beverage concessions, vending, parking, ski and golf operations, etc. are permitted for up to five years, usually through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
- Other permitted activities include: agricultural cultivation, including haying; high-ground telecommunications installations; historical tours; fitness “bootcamps;” bicycle, pedicab, or Segway tours; professional dog-walking; surfing, yoga, or other sports lessons.
- To find out what RFP bids DCR is currently seeking, or to propose a new idea for a concession, service, or activity at a DCR park, visit the DCR Seasonal Concessions and Vending Opportunities webpage.
Construction and Vehicular Access Permits
- A Construction Access Permit is required for utility companies, municipalities, or other agencies to access DCR parklands for construction, equipment installation and maintenance, etc. There is a $50 application fee.
- All commercial vehicles, including delivery trucks and moving vans, require a permit to use DCR parkways – including Soldiers Field Road, Park Drive, Memorial Drive, VFW Parkway, Nantasket Avenue, and the like.
Download a short-term or annual permit application.
- DCR’s Bureau of Planning and Resource Protection issues research permits to educational institutions and others who propose appropriate studies on DCR properties. A research proposal, progress reports, a site visit, indemnification of DCR, and applicable insurance coverage may be required.
- DCR reviews applications on a rolling basis; please note that applications must be received at least 30 days in advance. The following link will send you to our application form and research program requirements.
Office of Watershed Management Permits
The Division of Water Supply Protection’s Office of Watershed Management manages and protects the drinking water supply watersheds for more than 2.2 million residents of Massachusetts, including the Quabbin Reservoir, Ware River, Wachusett Reservoir, and Sudbury Reservoir.
In order to protect the reservoirs' water quality and the watersheds' other special natural and cultural resources, permits are required for a variety of activities: group access, vehicular access, night access, seasonal parking, and hunting.
For more information visit the DCR Watershed Permits page.
Note that any project that involves both Agency Action (defined as a Permit, a Land Transfer, or Financial Assistance from a state agency) and meets or exceeds certain categorical triggers could require a filing with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). MEPA is administered by the Executive Office of Energy Environmental Affairs. For more information on MEPA, please visit the MEPA website at http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/home.aspx