DCR needs funding to preserve our invaluable conservation resources – Lowell Sun

DCR needs funding to preserve our invaluable conservation resources

We are writing to address the lack of adequate budget support in recent years for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which has created a crisis situation in one of the Commonwealth’s most precious resources: our state parks, our trails, forests and conservation lands.

As a group of volunteers founded to support DCR, Friends of the Nashua River Rail Trail are painfully aware of this reality as it impacts the citizens who use the trail. From trail surface conditions to lack of routine maintenance, NRRT serves as the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” to the general lack of budget support for DCR as it impacts all of the agency’s resources. Understanding this basic reality, we were extremely dismayed to see Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to spend $ 100 million in federal ARPA relief money for DCR drastically reduced. Much of that funding would have gone to address deferred maintenance and infrastructure support for resources that are essential to the quality of life here in the Commonwealth.

As the state seeks to position itself as a destination for innovative businesses and employment opportunities, it cannot lose sight of the importance that our recreational resources play in this equation. Here in the Nashoba Valley, we are keenly aware of the importance of the NRRT as well as other DCR parks and forests to the quality of life in the region. And they’re a critical part of why businesses choose to locate here. Failure to adequately support DCR is short-sighted when viewed in the larger context of the role its resources play in the overall vitality of our cities in the region.

It is embarrassing that Massachusetts ranks last out of the 50 states for the amount spent on our parks and recreational assets. We respectfully request that you encourage the Senate / House conference committee members to review the allocation of ARPA relief funds and provide DCR with the funding it needs to preserve our invaluable conservation resources.

Friends of the NRRT
Irv Rockwood and Marion Stoddard of Ayer
Pepperell’s Sue Edwards, Gerald Couper, Robert Cataldo and Bill Watson
Nick Miller, Peter Cunningham, Duane Cromwell and Rick Muehlke of Groton
The authors of the letter serve on the Ayer Select board, the Groton Select board, the Pepperell Select board and the Dunstable board of Selectmen.


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