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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.

Table of Contents

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