Resource Management Planning

Resource Management Planning forms the framework for managing public lands based upon a comprehensive inventory and assessment of environmental and recreational resources, an identification of the unique characteristics of a property or management unit, the development of clear management goals and objectives, and an implementation plan to guide the short and long-term management of the parks, forests and reservations under the stewardship of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

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The legislation that directs DCR to prepare resource management plans (RMPs) for all reservations, parks and forests under its stewardship also states that these plans shall be submitted to the DCR Stewardship Council for adoption. 

Legislative Mandate

The Department is guided by a legislative mandate to prepare management plans for state parks, reservations and forests. M.G.L. Chapter 21: Section 2F. states that:

The Commissioner of Conservation and Recreation shall submit management plans to the DCR Stewardship Council for the Council’s adoption with respect to all reservations, parks and forests under the management of the Department.

Management plans shall include guidelines for operations and land stewardship, provide for the protection of natural and cultural resources, and ensure consistency between recreation, resource protection, and sustainable forest management.

The Commissioner shall seek and consider public input in the development of management plans, and shall make draft plans available for a public review and comment period through notice in the Environmental Monitor.

Within thirty days of the adoption of such management plans, as amended from time to time, the Commissioner shall file a copy of such plans as adopted by the Council with the State Secretary and the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture of the General Court.

The Commissioner shall be responsible for implementing said management plans.

Public Participation Guidelines

Each Resource Management Plan undertaken by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will include a public participation process to insure that interested parties have opportunities to provide input on the project . Public participation in the review of Resource Management Plans will involve an organized opportunity to gather public input, ongoing opportunities to submit input during the planning process, and opportunities to provide comments on draft Plans.

Public meetings or listening sessions will be posted on DCR's public meetings website and draft Plans will be posted at resource management planning website. DCR encourages the public to provide comments on draft Plans, as well as to register any questions or concerns, by emailing Additional means for sharing input with DCR on specific properties will be announced as the planning processes move forward.

  • M.G.L. Chapter 21: Section 2F requires that draft Resource Management Plans will be available for public review and comment period through a notice published in The Environmental Monitor, published bimonthly by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. As part of the required public review, copies of the draft Plan will be made available to interested parties and posted on the DCR website.
  • Any public meeting held to receive comments on the draft Plan will be published in The Environmental Monitor and on the DCR website. Notice will also be sent to local communities, constituent groups, and newspapers as appropriate.
  • The final Resource Management Plan will be submitted by the Commissioner of DCR to the DCR Stewardship Council for adoption. The Plan will include a summary of the public participation process.
  • DCR shall file a copy of the adopted Resource Management Plan with the Secretary of State and the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (formerly the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture).

Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines

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.

Additional Resources   for Land Stewardship Zoning Guidelines

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