Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation seal
|Headquarters||251 Causeway Street, Boston|
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is a state agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, situated in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. It is best known for its parks and parkways. The DCR's mission is "To protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources for the well-being of all."The agency is the largest landowner in Massachusetts.
A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Urban parks are green spaces set aside for recreation inside towns and cities. National parks and country parks are green spaces used for recreation in the countryside. State parks and provincial parks are administered by sub-national government states and agencies. Parks may consist of grassy areas, rocks, soil and trees, but may also contain buildings and other artifacts such as monuments, fountains or playground structures. Many parks have fields for playing sports such as soccer, baseball and football, and paved areas for games such as basketball. Many parks have trails for walking, biking and other activities. Some parks are built adjacent to bodies of water or watercourses and may comprise a beach or boat dock area. Urban parks often have benches for sitting and may contain picnic tables and barbecue grills.
A parkway is a landscaped thoroughfare. The term is particularly used for a roadway in a park or connecting to a park from which trucks and other heavy vehicles are excluded.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation was formed in 2003 under Governor Mitt Romney, when the former Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and Department of Environmental Management (DEM) were merged to form the DCR.
Willard Mitt Romney is an American politician and businessman serving as the junior United States senator from Utah since January 2019. He previously served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and was the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election.
Ownership and management for many non-pedestrian bridges was transferred to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in 2009.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) oversees roads, public transit, aeronautics, and transportation licensing and registration in the US state of Massachusetts. It was created on November 1, 2009 by the 186th Session of the Massachusetts General Court upon enactment of the 2009 Transportation Reform Act.
Edward M. Lambert Jr. is an American politician and government official who currently served as vice chancellor for government relations and public affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Richard K. "Rick" Sullivan, Jr. is an American politician who served as chief of staff to Governor Deval Patrick from 2014 to 2015. Before assuming the office, Sullivan was the former Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and former Mayor of Westfield, Massachusetts.
The DCR is under the general management of the Commissioner of the DCR. The general administration divisions; Human Resources Division, the Financial Division, and External and Legislative Affairs, report directly to the Commissioner.[ citation needed ] It has two divisions
and several bureaus, offices, and other work units, including (but not exclusively)
The Division of State Parks is responsible for the maintenance and management of over 310,000 acres (1,250 km2) of state-owned forests and parks. These areas are designated as either Woodlands, Parklands, or Reserves, and are managed to maintain specific land-use characteristics.
From the agency's beginning in 2003 until 2012, DCR land management was organized into three divisions: State Parks and Recreation, Urban Parks and Recreation, and Water Supply Protection. In 2012, State Parks and Urban Parks were unified into one division.
Within the greater Boston area there are urban wilds, historic sites, and other naturally aesthetic or significant environmental properties. The origins of the collective environments in this part of the division date back to the creation of the Metropolitan Park Commission in 1893, forming the first such regional system in the United States.(see Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston for history).
Lands outside of the greater Boston area includes some 29 campgrounds, over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of trails, 87 beaches, 37 swimming, wading, and spray pools, 62 playgrounds, 55 ballfields, 145 miles (233 km) of paved bike and rail trails and once private homes and estates that are now a part of the DCR's Historic Curatorship Program.[ citation needed ]
The Division of Water Supply Protection manages 150,000 acres (610 km2) of watershed lands and is responsible for the protection of the drinking water supply for approximately 2.5 million residents of Massachusetts, primarily in Greater Boston. This division monitors lakes and ponds, well drillers, and rainfall throughout the Commonwealth.
The Bureau of Engineering provides professional engineering, design, and construction management services in support of DCR properties. In addition to providing engineering services for over 450,000 acres (1,800 km2) of parks, forests, watersheds, beaches, 340 dams, and numerous recreational facilities, the Bureau of Engineering also manages over 525 lane miles of parkways and nearly 300 bridges and tunnels notable for their landmark stature and importance in the Commonwealth’s transportation system.[ citation needed ]
The Bureau operates under the direction of a Chief Engineer and is sub-divided into six operating units:
The Bureau is responsible for the management of the majority of the DCR's annual capital budget which has declined in recent years from a $150–200 million high to a current $70–80 million.[ citation needed ]
The Bureau of Engineering manages and/or operates a number of parkways across the Commonwealth, including:
The Bureau of Engineering managed and/or operated a number of bridges across the Commonwealth prior to November 2009. All non-pedestrian bridges were transferred to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on November 1, 2009 as part of a transportation reform law.Originally, a certain number of bridges listed in the act creating MassDOT were to be transferred after December 31, 2014 when ongoing construction was completed. However, a Memorandum of Agreement between DCR and MassDOT instead transferred these bridges in 2009 along with all other DCR vehicular bridges.
A partial listing of notable bridges formerly under the DCR, with the exception of pedestrian bridges still managed by the department and listed here, include:
The Bureau of Engineering owns and manages and/or operates a number of dams and flood control facilities across the Commonwealth, including:
DCR is responsible for the stewardship of its lands, from general maintenance—such as emptying trash barrels, cutting grass, and making building improvements—to landscape-level management.
DCR also provides services beyond its boundaries, For example, Bureau of Forest Fire Control is available to aid and assist local cities and towns during natural disasters as well as periods of high fire danger, while its Bureau of Forestry administers forest management on both state and private lands.
DCR also manages its land through the help of partners. Road repairs are sometimes implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation at the request of DCR. Police protection has been provided by the Massachusetts State Police after the MDC's police department was merged into the State Police in 1992.
Middlesex Fells Reservation, often referred to simply as the Fells, is a public recreation area covering more than 2,200 acres (890 ha) in Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester, Massachusetts. The state park surrounds two inactive reservoirs, Spot Pond and the Fells Reservoir, and the three active reservoirs supplying the town of Winchester. Spot Pond and the Fells Reservoir are part of the Wachusett water system, one of six primary water systems that feed metropolitan Boston's waterworks. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and is part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston.
Memorial Drive is a 3.9-mile (6.3 km) parkway along the north bank of the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It runs parallel to two major Boston parkways - Soldiers Field Road and Storrow Drive - which lie on the south bank of the river. The western terminus is in West Cambridge at Greenough Boulevard and Fresh Pond Parkway. The eastern terminus is at Main Street and the Longfellow Bridge near Kendall Square. Memorial Drive is designated as U.S. Route 3 for most of its length, except the easternmost 0.7 miles (1.1 km) which are designated as Massachusetts Route 3. Route 2 is cosigned with US 3 on Memorial Drive between the western terminus and the Boston University Bridge.
Breakheart Reservation is a public recreation area covering 652 acres (264 ha) in the towns of Saugus and Wakefield, Massachusetts. The reservation features a hardwood forest, two freshwater lakes, a winding stretch of the Saugus River, and scenic views of Boston and rural New England from rocky hilltops. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The Charles River Reservation is a 17-mile-long (27 km) urban preserve and public recreation area located along the banks of the Charles River in Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and Newton, Massachusetts. The reservation is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
North Point Park is an 8.5-acre (3.4 ha) park located on the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts, created as mitigation for the taking of planned parkland for the construction of the Big Dig. The park opened in December 2007. It is part of the "lost half mile" of the Charles River, between the 1910 Charles River Dam, now the site of the Museum of Science and the new Charles River Dam completed in 1978. The park opening was delayed for several years by a number of logistical and bureaucratic issues, but its design, including small islands, bridges and kayaking canals, has been characterized as "grand" and "ambitious" by the local press. The park was designed by Carr Lynch & Sandell of Cambridge and Oehme, van Sweden & Associates of Washington, DC. The park is adjacent to the ongoing NorthPoint real estate development project. Just upstream of these three new parks is the Paul Dudley White Bike Path in the Charles River Reservation. The Lynch Family Skatepark is located in North Point Park under the Interstate 93 highway ramps.
Winthrop Shore Drive is a historic parkway in Winthrop, Massachusetts. The mile-long parkway runs through the Winthrop Beach Reservation, and is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The parkway is one of a series of ocean parkways that make up a network of parkways connecting major open spaces in the Greater Boston area. Both the parkway and reservation were designed in the mid-1890s by Charles Eliot for the Metropolitan Parks Commission, a predecessor to the DCR. Land was acquired for the parkway in 1899, and construction was largely completed in 1900.
The Charles River Reservation Parkways are parkways that run along either side of the Charles River in eastern Massachusetts. The roads are contained within the Charles River Reservation and the Upper Charles River Reservation, and fall within a number of communities in the greater Boston metropolitan area. The Charles River parks extend from the Charles River Dam, where the Charles empties into Boston Harbor, to Riverdale Park in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Most of the roadways within the parks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a unit, although Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive are listed as part of the Charles River Basin Historic District.
The Middlesex Fells Reservoirs Historic District is a historic district roughly bounded by Pond St., Woodland Rd., I-93, and MA 28 in Stoneham and Medford, Massachusetts. It encompasses a portion of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a state park managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The principal features of the district are three reservoirs and their associated gate houses and pumping stations, which were developed by the Metropolitan District Commission starting in the late 19th century. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Quincy Shore Drive is a historic parkway in Quincy, Massachusetts. The road is one of a series of parkways built by predecessors of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, to provide access to parks and beaches in the Greater Boston area. Its development was proposed in 1893 by Charles Eliot, who promoted the development of many of the area's parks and parkways. Planning began in 1897, with land acquisition following around 1900. Construction of the 4-mile (6.4 km) road was begun in 1903 and completed in 1907.
Furnace Brook Parkway is a historic parkway in Quincy, Massachusetts. Part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston, it serves as a connector between the Blue Hills Reservation and Quincy Shore Reservation at Quincy Bay. First conceived in the late nineteenth century, the state parkway is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and travels through land formerly owned by the families of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, passing several historic sites. It ends in the Merrymount neighborhood, where Quincy was first settled by Europeans in 1625 by Captain Richard Wollaston. The road was started in 1904, completed in 1916 and added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 2004.
The Mystic River Reservation is a publicly owned nature preserve with recreational features located along the Mystic River in the towns of Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea in eastern Massachusetts. The reserve is part of the nearly 76-square-mile (200 km2) Mystic River watershed. It is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Pope John Paul II Park Reservation, also known as Pope Park, is a 66-acre (27 ha) Massachusetts state park bordering the Neponset River in the Dorchester section of Boston. The park has been reclaimed from the former site of a landfill and the Neponset Drive-In as part of the Lower Neponset River Master Plan and the development of the Neponset River Reservation. The park is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
Morrissey Boulevard is a six-lane divided coastal road in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
The Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston is a system of reservations, parks, parkways and roads under the control of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in and around Boston that has been in existence for over a century. The title is used by the DCR to describe the areas collectively: "As a whole, the Metropolitan Park System is currently eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places", as outlined on the department's website. The DCR maintains a separate Urban Parks and Recreation division to oversee the system, one of five such divisions within the department—DCR's Bureau of State Parks and Recreation manages the remainder of Massachusetts state parks. Direct design and maintenance functions for the parkways and roads within the system are provided by the DCR Bureau of Engineering.
Stony Brook Reservation is a woodland park in Boston and Dedham, Massachusetts, a unit of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston, part of the state park system of Massachusetts. It was established in 1894 as one of the five original reservations created by the Metropolitan Park Commission. The park is served by the Stony Brook Reservation Parkways, a road system that was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Lynn Shore Reservation is a protected coastal reservation in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts. It includes 22 acres (8.9 ha) of beaches and recreational areas. From north to south, King's Beach, Red Rock Park and Lynn Beach are located along Lynn Shore Drive and Nahant Bay, a small bay of the Atlantic. The reservation shares athletic fields with Nahant Beach Reservation in the area around Nahant Rotary, a traffic circle at its southern end.
The Upper Charles River Reservation is a Massachusetts state park encompassing portions of the banks of the Charles River between the Watertown Dam in Watertown and Riverdale Park in Dedham and the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. It includes land in the communities of Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Weston, Wellesley, Needham, Dedham, and Boston. Some of the Charles River Reservation Parkways also fall within the park boundaries.
Lynn Shore Drive is an historic oceanfront parkway in Lynn, Massachusetts. Composed of a two-lane road, parkland, a seaside pedestrian esplanade, and a seawall, Lynn Shore Drive runs for approximately one mile (1.6 km) along Lynn's Atlantic Ocean coastline, following the upland boundary of the adjoining Lynn Shore Reservation, and connecting Nahant with Swampscott.