Below are questions and answers on topics of frequent interest to persons planning visits to DCR parks and facilities.  If you have other questions, please call 617-626-4973 or email     

1. How do I become a DCR lifeguard?

To become a lifeguard, you must successfully complete the Department's written, swimming, and practical lifeguarding examinations. As a first step, sign up for a  lifeguard swimming test. For information on testing dates and locations and items to bring to your test, see Lifeguard Test Dates and Locations .  Just prior to your lifeguard swimming test, you will be provided with an application to complete.  Once you have successfully completed your lifeguard swimming test, your application materials will be sent to the appropriate regional office. Department staff then may contact you to discuss placement options. For additional information visit Lifeguard Application Procedures

2. Are dogs allowed on DCR state parks?

Dogs are allowed in most of our parks. However, there are a number of locations where dogs are not allowed, mostly for public safety, public health, or habitat concerns or deed restriction purposes. At many locations, dogs are required to be on leash, and owners must always clean up after them. To find out about specific locations where dogs are allowed and the rules and etiquette that apply while recreating with dogs at those properties, please visit: Dogs in DCR Parks

3. Can I have a wedding in a state park?

If you are interested in holding a wedding at a particular state park, contact the park’s staff to see if weddings are allowed, to check availability on the date, and to obtain direction on completing any required permits. Fees may apply.  For more information, visit Weddings

4. How do I report a pothole, streetlight or traffic light outage, or other maintenance problem on DCR roadways or at other properties?

DCR Community Relations staff handles complaints or concerns about maintenance of parks, roadways, and other facilities.  Call them at 617-626-4973 or email your comments to

5. Is there an entrance or parking fee at State Parks?

Most DCR facilities charge day use parking fees.  Some parking fees apply  
year-round, although most are applicable only from Memorial Day in May to Columbus Day in October. For a listing of parks that charge a daily parking fee and the fee amount, please see   Day Use Parking Fees

6. Where can I buy an Annual Parks Pass?

Annual MassParks Passes may be purchased at the contact stations of parks and beaches that charge daily parking fees. You can purchase the Annual Parks Pass at these parks only during the period that parking fees are charged.  You can also visit and buy the pass online. If you choose to do this, you will receive the pass in the mail. For additional information, visit Annual MassParks Pass

7. Are there fee waivers for seniors, veterans, and persons having disabilities?

Day use parking fees are waived for vehicles issued an Annual MassParks Pass, holders of a Senior MassParks Pass and vehicles bearing a handicapped license plate or placard or disabled veteran license plate, from any state. Fees are also waived for veterans who received a Purple Heart. The Senior MassParks Pass costs $10, and it is available to Massachusetts residents 62 year of age or older and is valid for the lifetime of the passholder. For information on how to obtain a fee waiver, please visit Annual MassParks Pass

8. How do I schedule a concert, charity walk, road race, or other special event in a state park or other DCR facility, and do I need a permit? 

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 in state parks or other DCR facilities.  For information on how to schedule a special event and obtain a Special Events Permit, see Recreation and Stewardship Permits

9. How to I schedule use of a DCR athletic field in the Greater Boston Area?

Fill out an Athletic Field Scheduling request, which can be found at the link below. Then submit your request to DCR Athletic Permits, by mail to 165 William J. Day Boulevard, MA 02127 or by fax to 617-727-7059. Athletic Fields & Facilities

10. How can I sign up to volunteer on DCR property?

If you have any questions about DCR’s Volunteers in Parks Program, please speak with staff at the park where you are interested in volunteering or call 617-626-1250 and ask to speak with the DCR Volunteer Resources Manager in Boston. Volunteers in the Parks

11. How do I make a camping reservation for a DCR state campground?

To make a camping reservation, contact ReserveAmerica either online or by phone.
• United States and Canada
1-877-422-6762 or 1-877-I-CAMP-MA
• TTY Customers
• Outside United States and Canada
518-884-4959 (Long distance charges apply)
Camping in Massachusetts State Campgrounds

12. How can I file a claim for property damage or personal injury incurred on DCR property?

The procedures for filing a property damage or personal injury claim can be found at Property Damage or Personal Injury Claim Procedures

13. Where and when may Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) be operated in state parks?

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is permitted only in a limited number of state parks and only during the riding season (as conditions allow), beginning no earlier than May 1 and ending no later than the last Sunday in November each year. To be sure the forest is open to riding, please call ahead to the specific park that you are looking to visit or monitor the DCR OHV webpage below. For all information relating to OHV use in DCR facilities, see Off-Road Vehicles

14. When do the summit roads to DCR’s mountaintops (Mt. Greylock, Mt. Tom, Skinner State Park, Mt. Sugarloaf, Wachusett Mountain, etc.) open and close for the season?

Summit roads usually open on or around Memorial Day in May, and they usually close after Columbus Day in October.  These dates can change, depending on weather conditions at the summit. For updated information on summit road opening and closing dates, see the webpage for the specific park or call the park. For a link to the individual park pages on DCR’s website, see Places to Go

15. Where can I picnic in a state park?

There are many scenic locations throughout the 450,000 acres of Massachusetts State Parks where you can picnic. Pavilions and group picnicking areas in the parks require an advance reservation, and fees usually apply. Groups of more than 25 people should also contact the park to see if a Recreational Use Permit is required, especially for waterfront areas.  For a partial list of the parks that offer picnic areas for the public to enjoy, Picnicking

16. Where can I go hunting and fishing on DCR property?

For hunting locations and additional information, see Hunting .  For fishing locations and additional information, see Fishing

17. How do I get a concession permit to sell food and merchandise on DCR property?

The DCR Office of Long-Term Leases and Permits handles the offers and requests for such uses via a permit (a revocable license) for periods extending from up to one day to 10 years.  For information on concessions and commercial activity permits and how to apply for them, visit   Concession Permit

18. How do I find out what concerts, hikes, tours, and other programs and events are happening in DCR parks this year?

A calendar of DCR programs, events, and activities taking place in state parks can be viewed at Programs & Events

19. When do the DCR golf courses (Ponkapoag and Leo J. Martin) open and close for the season?

The season usually lasts from early April to late November. For additional information on DCR’s golf courses, see Public Golf Courses

20. How do I pay a DCR parking ticket?

There are four ways that you can pay your ticket:
• PAY BY PHONE AT: 1-855-445-8531
• PAY BY MAIL: DO NOT MAIL CASH. Pay only by money order or check payable to: Commonwealth of MA. Write your ticket number on the front of your payment to ensure proper credit and mail it to:
DCR Parking Clerk
251 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02114
• PAY IN PERSON MONDAY-FRIDAY 8:30AM – 3:00PM (except holidays) at the above address with money order only. Department of Conservation & Recreation Office of the Parking Clerk

21. Do you offer special programs, services and accommodations for people with disabilities?

The Department of Conservation and Recreation's Universal Access Program (UAP) is dedicated to providing outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities. Accessibility to our State Parks is achieved through site improvements, specialized adaptive recreation equipment, and accessible recreation programs. You can sign up online to receive a quarterly UAP newsletter that includes DCR seasonal events and activities for people of all abilities. Adaptive recreation programs and accessible facilities are listed on the website, as well. DCR's Universal Access Program

22. How do I get a job at DCR?

Check out the Commonwealth employment opportunities website to find available DCR and other state employment opportunities, including duties, minimum entrance requirements and the information on “how to apply.”   Year-Round Full-Time Employment Opportunities

23. When is Park Serve Day, and how do I sign up to volunteer?  

Park Serve Day is DCR’s annual statewide day of volunteers working in parks doing clean-ups, trail maintenance, plantings, trash removal, and more to get the parks ready for the summer recreation season. It usually occurs on or around Earth Day in late April.  Park Serve Day is announced in March and volunteers can register to participate on DCR’s website.

24. What is the schedule for street sweeping on DCR’s streets in the Greater Boston Area?

DCR’s annual program of monthly street-sweeping to clean along selected roadways in the Greater Boston Area, extending from the Lynnway in the north to Nantasket Avenue, Hull, in the south, begins April 1 and continues through November 30. Some street sweeping is done overnight when parked cars do not need to be moved from the roadways; however, the majority of sweeping is done during the day, according to a posted schedule.  Cars not moved from the roadways when daytime street sweeping occurs will be ticketed and towed by State Police, and car owners need to contact State Police for the location of their towed car. The daytime street-sweeping schedule for specific locations can be found at the following link: DCR Monthly Street Sweeping

25. When do the DCR ocean beaches, inland beaches and swimming pools open and close for summer?

Most DCR ocean and inland swimming beaches and spray decks are open to the public between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  DCR swimming pools and wading pools are open in late June through Labor Day, except the Connell Pool indoor pool in Weymouth, which is open October through May. For additional information, see Pools & Beaches

26. How can I sign my child up for swimming lessons?

Contact staff at the specific pool to obtain an application and to see if space is available. Prior to placement of each child, pool staff must complete an assessment of swimming ability to determine the appropriate level of instruction.  For a list of DCR pools that offer swimming lessons and their locations, see Summer 2016 Schedule

27. Where can I grill or barbecue in a state park?

While there are only a few locations in the Greater Boston area where grilling is allowed, many state parks across the rest of the state allow grilling.
For a list of locations where grilling is allowed in DCR parks and information on whether gas or charcoal grills are permitted, see Grilling in State Parks

28. Where can you ride a horse in state parks?

A list of parks that allow horseback riding can be found at Horseback Riding Trails

29. Why are small sections of DCR’s coastal beaches fenced off in spring and summer for nesting shorebirds? 

Here in Massachusetts we have various threatened and other listed species of shorebirds that you can help protect by checking out the following link and learning more about the local birds. These species are protected by federal and state laws and monitored by environmental agencies and local organizations during breeding season.
CZ-Tip - Birdwatching on the Coast

30. How do I report a problem with leaf removal on a DCR roadway?

DCR Community Relations staff handles complaints or concerns about maintenance (such as leaf removal) on DCR roadways and in parks or other facilities.  Call them at 617-626-4973 or email your concerns to

31. What are the best state park locations for fall foliage viewing? 

Within the 450,000 acres of DCR state parks and watershed lands, many locations offer opportunities for viewing fall foliage.  In particular, are many of the mountain summit locations managed by DCR across the Commonwealth (e.g., Mt. Greylock, Mt. Sugarloaf, Wachusett Mountain, Mt. Tom, the Mt. Holyoke Range, and many others that offer spectacular scenic vistas.) For information on fall foliage viewing at DCR parks, visit   Fall Foliage Season in the Parks  You can also check out the Massachusetts Travel & Tourism Bureau’s Fall Foliage Hotline:

32. Where can I go cross-country skiing or snowmobiling on trails in state parks?

Parks that offer cross-country skiing: Cross-Country Skiing

Snowmobile-friendly parks: Snowmobiling

33. What are public skating hours at DCR’s ice skating rinks?

Many rinks have specific public skating hours.  These vary, depending on the rink, so it is best to call the specific rink ahead of time to check for public skating hours. For a list of DCR-owned rinks and phone numbers see Ice Skating

34. Can you go ice skating or ice fishing on water bodies in a DCR park?  

To review the specific regulation that applies to ice skating or ice fishing on a water body, please see 302 CMR 12.04: (14) in in the DCR regulations pdf format of 302 CMR 12.00 Parks and Recreation Rules