Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Paul Donato, and members of the state legislature’s Middlesex Fells Caucus successfully advocated for a $75,000 earmark for the Friends of the Fells as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget. This funding will support conservation efforts that protect and enhance the habitats of the Middlesex Fells Reservation.
Senator Lewis and Representative Donato serve as the co-chairs of the Middlesex Fells Legislative Caucus, which was formed earlier this year. The other members of the caucus include: Senators Brendan Crighton and Pat Jehlen, and Representatives Christine Barber, Michael Day, Sean Garballey, Kate Lipper-Garabedian, and Steven Ultrino. The goal of the caucus is to advocate for funding and policies that promote conservation and provide sustainable recreational opportunities for all to enjoy the Middlesex Fells. The caucus will be working closely with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) which manages the Fells, as well as the Friends of the Fells and other stakeholder groups.
Senator Lewis and the Middlesex Fells Caucus were also successful in creating a new Middlesex Fells Reservation Trust Fund. This Fund will be able to accept both public funding and private donations that advance recreational, educational and conservation efforts, and support infrastructure improvements for the Middlesex Fells Reservation.
“The Middlesex Fells Reservation is a wonderful resource available to our communities, which even more people have discovered during the pandemic,” said Senator Jason Lewis, co-chair of the Middlesex Fells Legislative Caucus. “I’m thrilled that we were able to secure this funding in the state budget to support the vital work that the Friends of the Fells does to promote conservation, recreation, and education for all in the Middlesex Fells.”
“As co-chair of the Fells Caucus, I take great pleasure in the securing of important funding for Friends of the Fells as well as the Middlesex Fells Trust Fund,” said Representative Paul Donato. “It is our duty to protect the beautiful nature that is all around us in the Commonwealth. Nobody knows that better than the Friends of the Middlesex Fells as they tackle important conservation initiatives such as reducing rogue trails, managing invasive weeds, and so much more. It is my honor to support them, and it is all of our responsibilities to protect the nature that surrounds us here in Massachusetts.”
“The Middlesex Fells is one of the Commonwealth’s favorite nature spaces, and has proven to be essential natural infrastructure during the pandemic, providing a safe space to get outside, get active, and access the mental health benefits nature provides,” said Friends of the Fells Executive Director Chris Redfern. “This funding allocation to the Friends of the Middlesex Fells’ Sustainable Fells Campaign will strengthen our ability to care for the nature of the Fells and make sure it is a safe and welcoming space for everyone.”
The FY22 state budget is now on Governor Baker’s desk awaiting his action.