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Trail Adopter Program

The Fells Trail Adopter Program provides the opportunity for volunteers to take responsibility for regular maintenance of a trail segment or area  within the Middlesex Fells Reservation. The adopter performs an essential role in identifying and reporting issues in the Fells, maintaining trails, and regular park upkeep in these times when state resources are limited.

Fells Trail Adopters have an opportunity to form a deeper connection with their chosen trail segments by keeping trails clean, clear, easily navigated and in a natural state in order to be enjoyed by all.

Adopters may be individuals, families, or groups/organizations such as clubs, camps, teams, Scouts and others. There are no formal requirements for the program other than a willingness to take on the responsibility. Trail Adopter tasks can be undertaken at any time and in any season, at your own pace and schedule.

Basic training can be provided for new adopters to ensure that they are capable and confident to perform their work safely and in a manner consistent with DCR policies and guidelines.

Trail Adopters may choose to focus their work on one (or more) of the 20 “Adopter Zones” in the Fells, which can be viewed on our Trail Adoption Districts map.

Current Trail Adopters: please submit the Work/Issue Report Form each time you visit your trail!

Trail Maintenance includes:

  • Trash removal – bag and carry out litter found on or near the trail.
  • Trail clearing – clear overhanging limbs, downed limbs and small trees, and brush to maintain a trail corridor wide enough for hikers to pass safely.
  • Signage clearing – clear limbs and vines to ensure visibility of signs or blazes from a reasonable distance, generally from the spot of the previous blaze.
  • Drainage clearing – clean waterbars, culverts and drainage ditches of obstructions such as dirt, rocks, branches and leafy debris.

Trail Reporting includes:

  • Downed trees – When a fallen tree too large for you to clear on your own blocks your trail or presents a potential hazard to trail users.
  • Erosion and treadway damage – If you observe your trail eroding or discover issues with the stability of the treadway.
  • Missing or confusing signage – If you suspect that blazes or signs could be missing or ambiguous, encounter a confusing trail intersection, or encounter lost hikers on your trail.
  • Unofficial Trails – Any unofficial user-created trails that you find branching off from your trail. Note if there is any ambiguity as to which is the official trail.
  • Invasive plants – Learn to identify some of the invasive plant species in the Fells and report any patches of these that you see growing alongside your trail.
  • Fire – Camp fires are prohibited throughout the Middlesex Fells. Report any user-created fire rings or other evidence of campfires.

Become a Middlesex Fells Trail Adopter in three easy steps:
     1.  Read and understand the Trail Adopter Handbook.
     2.  Review additional resources found in our Trail Adopter Google Folder.
     3.  Complete the Trail Adopter Application Form below.

We will be in touch shortly after receiving your forms to suggest or assign a specific trail. Meanwhile, if you have questions about the program that are not answered in the handbook, please email


Ready to adopt a trail? Complete this form to get started.

Trail Adopter Form

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