Guide Greenways & Trails Program

Greenways are corridors of land and water that connect and protect natural, cultural, and recreational resources. Greenways are a part of our natural "green infrastructure." They include many types of trails and walkways, river corridors, bicycle paths, wildlife corridors, and conservation lands linked by trails

DCR's Greenways and Trails Program works in partnership with greenways and trails advocates and uses in Massachusetts to promote and support the creation of greenways and trails at the local, regional, and state levels. To advance this goal, the Program provides small grants, information, and technical assistance to communities, user groups and non-profit organizations for planning and developing greenways and trails throughout Massachusetts. DCR also works to protect greenways of statewide significance through statewide planning and technical assistance, as well as direct land protection efforts.

Trails System Planning

Myles Standish State Reservation

Trails in and around DCR’s parks, forests and reservations are not individual pathways, but components of larger, integrated land management and recreational networks.  These forest road and trail systems are integral to the activities, services and resources that DCR manages on its 450,000 acres of land across the Commonwealth.

Ideally, each road and trail system should effectively highlighting ecological, scenic, and cultural features within our facilities; provide specific, enjoyable recreational experiences to a variety of users; provide vital access for forest management, fire control and emergency response; and connect important trail corridors, destinations and population centers both within and outside of our facilities.  Our road and trail systems should achieve these goals while simultaneously avoiding sensitive areas, meeting user expectations, minimizing ecological impacts and minimizing maintenance requirements.

The following trail system plans are complete:

Middlesex Fells Reservation Trail System Plan

Myles Standish Trail System Plan

Pittsfield and October Mountain Trail System Plan

Additional Resources for Trails System Planning

Citizen's Guide to Creating Greenways

Whether you call it a trail, a linear park, a riverway, or a wildlife corridor, it is the approach to creating and protecting these areas that defines them as  greenways. 

Additional Resources for Citizen's Guide to Creating Greenways

Commonwealth Connections

Commonwealth Connections is a vision for a coordinated network of greenways and trails in Massachusetts, and includes specific steps for making this vision a reality. It was developed by DCR in partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club, the National Park service and a broad group of stakeholders from across Massachusetts.

Commonwealth Connections reflects the collective priorities of the greenway and trail community. It addresses current concerns about conserving important community resources, reconnecting with the outdoors, and creating “greener” ways to move through the landscape. It is hoped that this vision plan will help link the many greenway and trail efforts underway, focus attention on the most critical issues and areas, and galvanize support for implementing greenway and trail projects throughout Massachusetts.

Regional Greenway & Trail Priorities

Commonwealth Connections outlines the major greenway and trail priorities identified in each region.


Connecticut River Valley

Central Massachusetts

Southeastern Massachusetts

Metropolitan Boston

Northeastern Massachusetts

Additional Resources for Commonwealth Connections

Massachusetts Recreational Trail Advisory Board (MARTAB)

MARTAB is a volunteer board, appointed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation through the Director of DCR’s Recreational Trails Program.  As an independent entity, it provides advice to DCR staff on issues and projects of importance to the trail community.  It represents every major trail user group from motorized users to non-motorized users and seeks to promote a cooperative, practical approach to solving trail issues.  It’s most important function is to make recommendations to the Commissioner on the distribution of the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds that come to each state from the US Department of Transportation.  Massachusetts disburses approximately $1 million each year.  MARTAB’s recommendations are the first cut on how these funds could be spent and it involves the Board reviewing each proposal, discussing them and rating them according to an agreed list of criteria and weights.  At the end of the review process, a ranked list of the applications submitted from communities and organizations throughout the state is created and forwarded to the Commissioner and Governor for their approval.

MARTAB is involved in other activities, including sponsorship of statewide trail workshops to improve the skills and experience of the many trail volunteers working to enhance our trail network within the Commonwealth.  They also organize and put on the annual Massachusetts Trails Conference.   These educational and community-building opportunities are funded through the Recreational Trails Program -Educational Grants.

MARTAB Members

Member Name               User Group / Member Organization                        

Charlene Saulnier             Trail Users with Dogs / Coalition of Massachusetts Dog Owner Groups (MassDOG)

Bill Boles                          Mountain Biking / New England Mountain Bike Association

Pam Browning                  Canoe & Paddling / New England Canoe Kayak Racing Association, US Canoe Association

Heather Clish                    Hiking  / Appalachian Mountain Club

Becky Kalagher                Equestrian / Bay State Trail Riders

Dick O'Brien (Chair)         Community Trails & Greenways / Leominster Trail Stewards

Benton Phelps                   All-Terrain Vehicles / New England ATV Association

Mike White                       Full Size 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles / Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs

Larry Tucker                      Snowmobiles / Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts

Dick Williamson                 Bicycling & Rail Trails/ Friends of Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Mass Central Rail Trail Coalition

Thomas Chamberland      Long-Distance Multi-Use Pathways / Friends of Sturbridge Trails, Friends of the Titanic Rail Trail

Joe Geller                            Rail Trails / Topsfield Rail Trail Committee, East Coast Greenway Alliance


DCR Liaisons                                      

Amanda Lewis           DCR, Recreational Trails Program Coordinator

Paul Jahnige             DCR, Director of Greenways and Trails

MARTAB Meetings and Minutes


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