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News New Year's Resolution: Respect the wilderness

While you enjoy the outdoors in 2021, make yourself a goal to leave the land cleaner than you found it. Read 5 easy actions to commit to when getting outdoors this year to help keep Massachusetts wild.
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Media Contact for New Year's Resolution: Respect the wilderness

Marion Larson, MassWildlife

Campsite Litter

Interest in outdoor recreation continues to grow and the forests, fields, and beaches that we love to explore continue to welcome us. While you take an adventure into the outdoors during the new year, challenge yourself to leave only footprints and keep nature wild.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to respectfully enjoy the outdoors: 

  • Plan ahead - Beaches, state parks, and conservation lands might have different regulations you should be aware of like what activities are permitted on the property. Research the rules for the area you plan to visit beforehand. Respect private property and do not trespass on private land. Find WMA rules here. MassWildlife owns and manages over 220,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas and Conservation Easements that are open to hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor recreation. Prepare for your adventure by visiting our MassWildlife Lands Viewer to customize and print maps of MassWildlife properties.

  • Pack out what you pack in - This includes food wrappers and remains, drink containers, and dog waste bags. If you’re hunting or fishing, be sure to take all equipment out with you like discarded fishing line or shotgun shells. A good goal to keep in mind is to leave an area cleaner than you found it.  

  • Give wildlife space - Keep a reasonable distance from wildlife. Use your binoculars and spotting scope rather than your feet, to get "closer" to your subject. If you get too close to an animal, its behavior will change. It may stop feeding, look at you, vocalize, appear nervous or flee. If you note a change in behavior, back off slowly until you're out of the animal's "space". Do not feed wildlife.

  • Respect the land - Avoid damaging plants and trees, do not carve into tree bark and be aware of where you are stepping. Follow posted signage to avoid nesting areas and vernal pools. Please stay on trails if they are available.

  • Be considerate of other visitors - Many people visit the wilderness to enjoy the quiet and tranquility. Remain a respectful distance away from other visitors, avoid loud noises, and follow regulations for pets. 

Media Contact for New Year's Resolution: Respect the wilderness

Division of Fisheries and Wildlife 

MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the Commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals. MassWildlife restores, protects, and manages land for wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy.