Rogue Trails

Reducing rogue trails for wildlife

The Middlesex Fells is crisscrossed by more than 100 miles of authorized trails. Nevertheless, the Reservation also has more than 50 miles of unauthorized, or rogue, trails.

Rogue trails compromise safety because they are unmarked and can lead to visitors getting lost. They also cause erosion, fragment habitat, and decrease the size of undisturbed spaces where wildlife can thrive. Some rogue trails also occur in sensitive habitats and threaten endangered wildlife.

Friends of the Fells has partnered with Earthwise Aware to launch a “Reducing Rogue Trails for Wildlife” initiative.

This project includes the following activities:

  • Map and document rogue trails
  • Analyze their relative impact on wildlife and sensitive habitats
  • Develop priorities for targeted trail closures to protect the Fells’ most vulnerable habitats and species
  • Analyze trail density throughout the Fells using DCR’s “area of impact” metric to identify opportunities to close trails in order to provide more and/or larger expanses of parkland for wildlife to exist free of human disturbance
  • Develop an action plan and budget for implementation of trail modifications

In the coming months, we expect to pilot trail closures in close collaboration with DCR, and will publish volunteer opportunities on our calendar as they are scheduled.