Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 190: Regulation of off-road vehicle use on public lands containing coastal wetland resources

Date: 12/24/1980
Issuer: Edward J. King
Mass Register: No. 243

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, while off-road vehicles (ORV's) provide enjoyment and recreation for many, their indiscriminate use threatens our public lands. Uncontrolled, they have severely damaged coastal wetland resources; including dunes, beaches, barrier beaches, salt marshes and tidal flats; disturbed wildlife; and conflicted with other recreational uses.

Scientific studies conducted for over five years at the Cape Cod National Seashore have concluded that even low-level vehicular use can result in severe environmental degradation of coastal ecosystems.

With the substantial increase in the number of ORV's, and the concomitant increase in the use of our public lands for other recreational purposes, major conflicts have arisen and will continue to develop.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Edward J. King, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth, do hereby order and direct that all state agencies shall balance the competing uses of the Commonwealth's public lands and minimize the degradation of its public coastal wetland resources.

1. For the purposes of this Executive Order, "Off-road vehicle" (ORV) shall mean any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, wetland or other natural terrain, except that such term excludes: (a) any registered powerboat, (b) any military, fire, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle, and (c) any vehicle expressly authorized for official state agency use.

2. For the purpose of this Executive Order, "public lands" shall mean: (a) all lands under the custody and control of a state agency, which contain coastal wetland resources; and (b) all lands purchased in whole or in part with state funds, or federal funds administered by the state, which contain coastal wetland resources.

3. All state agencies shall be responsible for establishing scientifically supported guidelines and monitoring procedures for ORV use on public lands. Such guidelines, which are to be submitted to the Secretary of Environmental Affairs for public review under the provisions of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act within one year of the effective date of this Executive Order, shall:

(a) balance ORV use with other recreational uses of the public lands;

(b) assure that ORV use is consistent with the state coastal wetland policy, as defined under the state Coastal Wetland Protection Act and regulations;

(c) exclude ORV use in sensitive environmental areas, specifically, dunes, salt marshes, and tidal flats, which provide significant public interests; and

(d) assure that soil erosion and damage to vegetation are minimal; and

(e) assure that harassment of wildlife and significant disruption of wildlife habitats are minimized; and

(f) assure that ORV's will not be excluded from public lands but will be channeled into environmentally acceptable areas.

4. The Secretary of Environmental Affairs, in conjunction with the Commissioner of the Departments of Environmental Management and Fisheries, Wildlife and Recreational Vehicles shall review all guidelines and monitoring procedures to ensure compliance with this Executive Order, and shall coordinate and assist when necessary in the development of these guidelines and procedures.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 24th day of December, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighty and of the independence of the United States of America two hundred and five.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Contact   for No. 190: Regulation of off-road vehicle use on public lands containing coastal wetland resources

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