Protect our Parks.... Contact Your State Senator Today!

 

Write or call your state senator to protect public lands.

 

Act today to Protect the Blue Hills

As you may know, our public land, including the Blue Hills, is vulnerable to ‘land exchanges.’  With a two-thirds vote of each branch of the legislature, our parkland – covered by Article 97 of the Commonwealth Constitution – can be taken away or changed in use.
 
Existing policies and procedures help protect our public land, but they can be changed on the whim of the administration on Beacon Hill.  They are not law.  
 
An Act Preserving Open Space in the Commonwealth (H.851) – also known as the Public Lands Preservation Act – would codify existing policy and practice in addition to requiring that the public be notified of any proposed land disposition or change in use.
This bill has passed the House!  We now need need your help to urge the Senate to pass the bill as well.

Take Action:  Ask Your State Senator to Contact Senate Leadership 

Write to and call your state Senator TODAY!  Urge your senator to ask Senate President Karen Spilka and Chair of Senate Ways and Means Committee Michael Rodrigues to to report out of committee favorably the Public Lands Preservation Act (H.851)… and then have it enacted in the Senate!

See below for a sample email and links to find your legislators.

Thanks to efforts by our members and others, the legislation has passed the House!

Many thanks to the House sponsor, Rep. Ruth Balser, for her leadership in successfully stewarding the bill through the House.

You can help to make sure that it passes the state Senate!

Please help prevent the destruction of future parkland by calling your state Senator and asking him or her to contact Senate President Karen Spilka and  Chair of Senate Ways and Means Committee Michael Rodrigues to have the Public Lands Preservation Act (H.851) reported out of committee favorably.
 
 
In the state senate, the legislation was introduced by Sen. James B. Eldridge.  If you live in his district, please thank him, as well as others who have co-sponsored the bill.  Senators near the Blue Hills who have co-sponsored the legislation include Sen. Patrick O’Connor and Sen. John Keenan.  When you call or email them, please thank them for being co-sponsors of the bill and ask them to help make sure the legislation passes the Senate.
 
Senator Walter Timilty, whose district covers many of the towns surrounding the Blue Hills, in addition to being a co-sponsor of the bill, has already contacted Senate leadership about the bill. If Senator Timilty is your state senator, you do not need to ask him to take action, but please contact him to thank him for his support of the bill… and the Blue Hills.
 
This bill would help to further the long-standing goal of preventing the loss of constitutionally protected public lands, like state parks and conservation land. The bill would require:
 
  •  Any land taken must be replaced by land of comparable acreage, location, and market and natural resource value, (which would help protect the total acreage of parkland)
  • Evidence that a feasible alternative to destroying parkland is not available.
  • Notification of the public and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs prior to filing legislation petitioning a change in the use or disposition of public land. This would allow municipalities the chance to confirm if replacement land is deemed suitable by EEA and the public prior to moving forward with the land disposition process.
  • Enforceable regulations to implement the law.

Land in the Blue Hills was Approved to be Transferred to Private Ownership

In the early 2000s, land in the Blue Hills was approved to be transferred to private ownership. The legislative vote to approve the swap took place in the middle of the night on the last day of a legislative session, without a public hearing. This bill would help protect future loss of land in the Blue Hills… and all our public parks.

Protect Public Lands

photo credits:
top of page: Will Mann, Canton
Above, left to right: Robbie McConnell, Dorchester; Michell Kelly, Milton; and Christine Paxhia, Milton
Below: Jessica Mabbutt, San Diego

Sample Email

Re: Public Lands Preservation Act (H.851)

Dear Senator  ____________________:

I am writing to urge you to contact Senate President Karen Spilka and  Chair of Senate Ways and Means Committee Michael Rodrigues.  Please ask them to report out favorably An Act Preserving Open Space in the Commonwealth (H.851) – also known as the Public Lands Preservation Act, and enact it in the Senate.

This bill would provide needed protection for our public parks, forests, and other public lands by codifying current state policy and would:

  • Help to ensure no net loss of lands or easements protected under Article 97
  • Require an analysis of alternatives to the changes in the use of public land that are proposed
  • Increase transparency by requiring prior notification to the public and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

This legislation is important to me because…

TELL THEM THE REASONS YOU CARE ABOUT OUR PUBLIC PARKS LIKE THE BLUE HILLS.  LEGISLATORS, LIKE MOST OF US, RESPOND MORE TO SPECIFICS THAN GENERALITIES. Sample reasons:

  • Let them know that you are a member of the Friends of the Blue Hills.
  • Tell them why you care about the Blue Hills Reservation and/or how often you visit.
  • Let them know that the current Article 97 disposition process is unclear and can be inefficient.  The bill would make the process more efficient, saving towns money.
  • Let them know you are concerned about water supplies; the Blue Hills and a lot of public natural resource land help protect the watershed.
  • And please cc us (info@FriendsoftheBlueHills) when you email, so we know you’ve taken action!

Please let me know if you are contacting Senate leadership about this important legislation.  Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Name
Address

Protect Public Lands Today!

Contact your State Senator