Conservation Areasand Trails FAQs

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Conservation Areas and Ecological Management & Trails Frequently Asked Questions –
Hunting, Fishing, Trapping

What are the regulations for trapping beaver?
Trapping regulations for beaver can be found at the MassWildlife - Beaver Links and Publications.  Additional information on beavers can be found on the Wetlands Permitting and Regulation beaver page.

Can I relocate beavers?
Massachusetts law does not allow for beaver relocation.

I have beavers in my pond, am I going to get giardia?
Giardia is usually found in water where beavers are living, so swimming in a body of water where beavers are present is not advised.

Where can I hunt?
Hunting is allowed in season at Lawrence Swamp, Holyoke Range, Atkins Flats east of the brook, and Simmons Farm.  All hunting must be conducted in accordance with Massachusetts law.  Hunting is limited to shotguns, air-guns, and archery – the use of rifles of any caliber is prohibited.  All spent shotshells shall be retrieved and carried out.  Hunting is prohibited within 150 feet of the Norwottuck Rail Trail.  Under state law, hunting is prohibited on Sundays.  Discharging a firearm or releasing an arrow is prohibited within 500 feet of any residence in use or within 150 feet of any paved road.  Only unloaded shotguns, air-guns, and bows may be carried on or within 150’ of the Rail Trail.

Where can I fish?
Fishing is allowed in conservation areas, in accordance with Massachusetts law.  Do not alter wetland areas.  Avoid damage to banks and stream beds.  A fishing license is required; the limit is three (3) trout per day.  Anyone over fifteen (15) years old is required to have a license.


Conservation Areas and Ecological Management & Trails  Frequently Asked Questions – Conservation Area Use


When are trails open?
Trails are open from dawn until dusk.

Where can I park?
See individual conservation area maps for parking areas.

What trails are easiest for limited abilities?
The Kevin Flood Trail – Puffer’s Pond; the Kevin Chase Dimock Trail – Larch Hill.

Where is a good place to go with more than four people?
The Kevin Flood Trail – Puffer’s Pond, The Kevin Chase Dimock Trail – Larch Hill.

What does poison ivy look like?
Poison ivy is a vine with three leaflets.  When growing on trees the vine has hairy brown rootlets.  A good reminder is – leaves of three, let it be! (See picture on the right.)

Where are dogs allowed?
Dogs are allowed at most conservation areas.  They are prohibited from the Puffer’s Pond south beach and are allowed in the vicinity of the Puffer’s Pond north beach only before 10 am or after 6 pm.  They are not allowed in the water of Puffer’s Pond.  Except for the Mill River and Amethyst Brook areas, dogs must be leashed on all conservation areas from April 1 through June 30 to protect ground nesting bird species, and must be leashed at Larch Hill (Hitchcock Center) year-round).

Is there a leash law for dogs?
Dogs must be leashed or under control at all times.  Except for the Mill River and Amethyst Brook areas, dogs must be leasded on all conservation areas from April 1 through June 30 to protect ground nesting bird species, and must be leashed at Larch Hill (Hitchcock Center) year-round).

Where can I Mountain Bike?
Mountain bikes are allowed on the Norwottuck Rail Trail.  They are not allowed on other conservation trails when trails are wet.
Where can I snow shoe? Snow shoeing is allowed on all conservation area trials.

Can I use my ATV?
No motorized vehicles are allowed on conservation land or trails.

Can I have a fire?
Open fires are prohibited from all conservation areas; gas camp stoves are allowed.

Can I feed the wildlife?
Feeding of wildlife found in conservation areas is not encouraged.  The high salt content and preservatives found in human food can cause serious harm to wildlife.


Conservation Areas and Ecological Management & Trails  Frequently Asked Questions –
Can I . . . ? 

Can I get ticks on me?
Most conservation areas have ticks and appropriate precaution against them should be taken.
Can I have a garden on conservation land? Gardening is allowed in the Community Gardens at Amethyst Brook, Larch Hill, Mill Lane, and Podick Conservation Area. (Click here to go to the Community Garden page)

Can I cut trees down?
Plants/trees may not be cut or removed other than for scientific purposes as specifically authorized by the Conservation Commission.

Can I dump plants in Conservation Areas?
Dumping, planting or otherwise altering conservation area is prohibited.