Dog Friendly Alternatives to DCR Watershed Property

Discover places to walk your dog in central Massachusetts that are not on DCR Water Supply Protection lands.

The Department of Conservation’s Division of Water Supply Protection (DCR-DWSP) manages over 100,000 acres of land in the watersheds surrounding the Quabbin Reservoir, Ware River, and Wachusett Reservoir – the source drinking water supplies for more than 3 million people – as well as around the Sudbury Reservoir, which is an emergency back-up supply.

DCR and MWRA Watershed System

While many DCR-DWSP properties are open for people to explore, dogs are not allowed on the majority of DCR-DWSP lands due to their potential impact to water quality. There are, however, many dog-friendly alternatives in central Massachusetts. DCR encourages you to visit one of these alternative locations when you are looking for a place to take a walk with your pup in the vicinity of DWSP lands.

Please remember to always check the rules and regulations of any site regarding site-specific leash requirements, voice control requirements, etc. before visiting, and always bring some baggies to clean up after your four-legged friend.  Thank you for being a good steward of any public lands you visit.

Table of Contents

Why No Dogs on Water Supply Protection Lands?

One gram of dog waste has about 23 million fecal bacteria. Harmful bacteria can cause disease and contaminate the drinking water supply.

While the open space surrounding Quabbin, Wachusett, and Sudbury Reservoirs may seem like a good place to walk a dog, it is not allowed by DCR's Watershed Protection Regulations. The land surrounding the reservoirs protects the drinking water supply for over 3 million people. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in dog waste can survive for a long time when left on the ground- even after it's picked up. During the next rainfall, this waste can get washed into the water supply!

What About Wildlife?
Dogs eat processed food and their waste includes material that is not natural for the environment. Wildlife eat what is already found in nature and return it to the ecosystem through their waste.

Service and medical support animals, when acting within their service capacity, are welcome on DCR Water Supply Protection land.

Thank you for being a good steward and taking your pet to properties that allow dogs.

Additional Resources

Around the Wachusett Reservoir Watershed

Additional Resources

Around the Quabbin Reservoir Watershed

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Around the Ware River Watershed

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Around the Sudbury Reservoir Watershed

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Please clean up after your dog

Contact   for Dog Friendly Alternatives to DCR Watershed Property


Field Headquarters
180 Beaman St., West Boylston, MA 01583

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