The Massachusetts Forest and Park Friends Network (MFPFN) began in June 2007 at the Partners in Parks Conference. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and numerous environmental groups and agencies sponsored the Conference as a way to involve a broader reach of people interested in creating a world-class parks system for Massachusetts. Emily Norton, President of the Friends of Willard Brook State Forest, had the foresight to pass around a contact information sheet for those who wanted to stay in touch and network, that connected Ellen Arnold, Friends of Upton State Forest; Mike Ryan, Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation; and Sharl Heller, Friends of Myles Standish State Forest. The first “facilitators” and the DCR Director of the Office of External Affairs and Partnerships together determined the nature and structure of the Friends Network.
Soon thereafter, Claudia Hurley, Friends of Robinson State Park and Mike Toomey, Friends of Douglas State Forest joined Ellen, Mike and Sharl. These five Friends group leaders facilitated communication among the network, taking the lead on important issues affecting state lands and organizing what would be annual statewide conferences for Friends groups in 2008 and 2009.
The Friends Network has accomplished much since its founding, and owes our success to our members, and the many people who have provided support and encouragement along the way. We invite you to review our Principles of Operation to learn more.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country. Its 450,000 represents 7% of the state’s total acreage and is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds.
There are 339 Massachusetts State Parks, you can find a place to go in all regions of the Commonwealth from Pittsfield to Boston and Gloucester to Provincetown. With the help of the Friends Network, DCR can offer a wonderful variety of special events, nature activities and educational programs for people of all ages and abilities all year long!