Fells March Updates: Enjoying and protecting our urban nature refuge

Photo Credit:  Mike Ryan


March 23. 2020

We at Friends of the Fells hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. And, we hope you are finding solace being outside in nature as we all cope with a scary and uncertain time.

While many local businesses and community spaces have been forced to close, the forest remains open – and so the work of Friends of the Fells staff, board, and volunteers continues as we strive to protect this vibrant, biodiverse urban forest and provide a safe and enjoyable experience for the people who rely on it.

If you have been in the Fells recently, you already know that our beloved “people’s forest” has become a refuge for many in our community. The value of a healthy, intact forest so close to home has never been more apparent, and we’re grateful the Fells can help sustain the well-being of our community during a disorienting and stressful time.

Right now, nature is waking up from winter. Plants are uncurling new leaves and turtles are emerging from under wet stream edges. The forest ecosystem is more vulnerable at this time than any other season. To thank the forest for taking such good care of us, we invite you to join us in returning the favor. If your time in nature includes a trip to the Fells, please consider the following guidelines:

  • Leave everything as you find it, and do not pick or collect items.
  • Remain on the trails at all times to protect plants, animals, and yourself.
  • Park only in legal spaces or in an adjacent parking lot, and never block emergency access routes to the Fells.
  • Dogs should be on a leash at all times except in the Sheepfold Dog Park.
  • Bike only on permitted paths.
  • Remember to practice social distance norms during your forays into the forest.
  • If you encounter unsafe conditions, inappropriate behavior, unsightly or littered areas, or other concerns, please report them to Park Watch at (866-759-2824) or Mass.Parks@mass.gov.

Also, please note that as of this writing, all bathrooms, exercise stations, and playgrounds at Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) run properties are closed, so plan accordingly. We are in close communication with our colleagues at DCR and will share any changes to access or guidelines relating to use of the Fells with you.

We also recognize that community and connection are more important now than ever. In the coming weeks, we will be in touch, providing information on opportunities for you to share your experiences in the Fells and join us in the work caring for our urban forest.

If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas to share with us, you can reach out to me directly at chris.redfern@fells.org.

Best wishes to you  —

Chris Redfern
Executive Director