Land Stewardship Zoning, and the RMP process of which it is a part, addresses the agency’s statutory responsibilities in M.G.L. Chapter 21: Section 2F to prepare management plans that: encompass all reservations, forests and parks; provide for the protection and stewardship of natural, cultural, and recreational resources under the agency’s management, and ensure consistency between recreation, resource protection and sustainable forest management. The Land Stewardship Zoning system helps to ensure that recreation and management activities do not degrade ecological or cultural resources.
The Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines defines three types of zones to ensure resource protection based upon site specific field data, and provides guidance for current and future management based upon resource sensitivities. Inventory and assessment of resources during preparation of a Resource Management Plan (RMP) is factored into land use management and decision making, and provides guidance for stewardship of these resources. This process results in the zoning of areas and specific sites within DCR properties based on their sensitivity to recreation and management activities that are appropriate for each facility as recognized during the RMP process.
The three Land Stewardship Zones provide a general continuum to categorize resources (relative to potential degradation from human activities) from undisturbed sites with highly sensitive resources, through stable / hardy resources, to sites that have been developed and consistently used for intensive recreation or park administration purposes. Significant Feature Overlays may also be applied to highlight resource features that have been assessed by professional resource specialists. Management and protection of these resource features is guided by specific management recommendations that have been developed by resource specialists.
July 2012 DCR Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines Update
DCR’s Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines have recently been updated to integrate with other agency planning processes and to provide expanded general management guidelines. The updated Guidelines were available for public review from March 21, 2012 – April 20, 2012, and were subsequently edited based on public comments received by DCR.