- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Begins Trail Restoration Work at Manuel Correllus State Forest
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — Today, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced the start of trail restoration work within Manuel Correllus State Forest in the Town of Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. In partnership with the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, DCR will restore areas where unpermitted trails were created within the forest, while improving the Forest’s ecological health and trail connectivity. Work is expected to begin immediately.
"Manuel Correllus State Forest and the miles of trails within it are priceless natural resources that provide recreational opportunities to residents and visitors on Martha’s Vineyard,” said DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “DCR is thrilled to begin restoration work of the Forest’s trail system in partnership with the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.”
Manuel Correllus State Forest contains approximately 72 miles of natural and hard surface trails and fire roads. During the restoration work, approximately 25 miles of unpermitted trails will close to the public and be restored to their natural state. DCR’s amended trail system will maintain similar mileage in the final trail network that will eliminate approximately 3.5 miles of poorly sited trails in the existing DCR system and add approximately 4.5 miles of new trail to the official trail system. The resulting trail network will increase connectivity while restoring sensitive habitat. These trails are currently being reviewed by MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program for Massachusetts Endangered Species Act permitting. A temporary trail map is available on the DCR website, at park kiosks, and by scanning the QR code on DCR park signs.
Trail closure signs will be posted within the Forest to notify visitors of closures and guide them to designated trails. Upon completion of the permitting process, an updated trail map will be posted on the DCR website.
"The Sheriff's Meadow Foundation is very pleased to have reached an agreement with DCR for trail restoration work in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. We look forward to working in collaboration with DCR on this effort," said Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation Executive Director Adam Moore.
On March 4, 2021, DCR held a public meeting to announce the findings of its review of the Manuel Correllus State Forest trail network. The review included approximately 25 miles of unpermitted trails and DCR’s official trail network. At the meeting, DCR proposed an amended trail network plan to restore the ecological integrity of the Forest where 90% of the forest is considered priority habitat for rare and endangered species, and to improve trail connectivity. For information about the regulatory, permitting, and policy details and ecological considerations and procedures for trail creation, please view the DCR Public Meeting. A public comment period was held for two weeks following the meeting giving stakeholders an opportunity to comment.
"In October, I participated in a site visit of the Manuel Correllus State Forest with Commissioner Montgomery, and our office has remained in close contact with DCR over the past several months regarding trail closures and restoration. We are appreciative that DCR has been responsive to our concerns, and grateful that they have taken the time to get input from the community on Martha's Vineyard so that these trails can be enjoyed for years to come," said State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth).
DCR considered all public comments and made adjustments to the final plan. Sheriff’s Meadow will work to complete the trail restoration project and will conduct ongoing monitoring and reporting of the restoration’s successes and challenges. DCR will oversee the project, monitor progress, and assist with trail work. Additionally, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) will be onsite periodically to assist with various park projects, including the restoration of the trail system.