Department of Conservation and Recreation (Massachusetts)

Department of Conservation and Recreation (Massachusetts)
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Department overview
Headquarters 251 Causeway Street, Boston
Department executive Edward M. Lambert, Jr., Commissioner

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is a state agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, situated in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. It is best known for its parks and parkways. As of May 24, 2011 the Commissioner of the DCR is Edward M. Lambert, Jr. The DCR's mission is "To protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources."[1] The agency is the largest landowner in Massachusetts.[2]



DCR lands and roads formerly belonged to the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Under Governor Mitt Romney, the MDC and DEM were merged to form the DCR.

Ownership and management for non-pedestrian bridges was transferred to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in 2009.[3]


The DCR is under the general management of the Commissioner of the DCR. The general administration divisions; Human Resources Division, the Financial Division, and External and Legislative Affairs, report directly to the Commissioner. Additionally, five operating units, under the general direction of a Deputy Commissioner of Operations, carry out the day to work and project execution of the agency. The five operating units are:

  • Bureau of State Parks and Recreation
  • Bureau of Urban Parks and Recreation
  • Bureau of Water Supply Protection
  • Bureau of Engineering
  • Bureau of Planning

Bureau of State Parks and Recreation

The Bureau of State Parks and Recreation is responsible for the maintenance and management of over 450,000 acres (1,820 km2) of privately and state-owned forests and parks, nearly 10% of the Commonwealth's total land mass. Within the lands managed by the Bureau of State Parks and Recreation are some 29 campgrounds, over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of trails, 87 beaches, 37 swimming, wading, and spray pools, 62 playgrounds, 55 ballfields, 145 miles (233 km) of paved bike and rail trails and once private homes and estates that are now a part of the DCR's Historic Curatorship Program.

List of State Parks

Bureau of Urban Parks and Recreation

The Bureau of Urban Parks and Recreation is responsible for the maintenance and management of a variety of environments within the Greater Boston area, including urban wilds, historic sites, and other naturally aesthetic or significant environmental properties. The origins of the collective environments in the bureau date back to the creation of the Metropolitan Park Commission in 1893, forming the first such regional system in the United States. The jurisdiction of the bureau is referred to by the DCR as the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston.[4]

Bureau of Water Supply Protection

The Bureau of Water Supply Protection is responsible for the protection and management of drinking supply watersheds for the Greater Boston area. This bureau monitors lakes and ponds, well drillers, and rainfall throughout the Commonwealth.

Bureau of Engineering

The Bureau of Engineering provides professional engineering, design, and construction management services in support of DCR properties. In addition to providing engineering services for over 450,000 acres (1,800 km2) of parks, forests, watersheds, beaches, 340 dams, and numerous recreational facilities, the Bureau of Engineering also manages over 525 lane miles of parkways and nearly 300 bridges and tunnels notable for their landmark stature and importance in the Commonwealth’s transportation system.

The Bureau operates under the direction of a Chief Engineer and is sub-divided into six operating units:

  • Bridge and Parkway Engineering
  • Facilities Engineering
  • Dams and Waterways Engineering
  • Stormwater and Environmental Engineering
  • Construction Permitting
  • Construction Services

The Bureau is responsible for the management of the majority of the DCR's annual capital budget which has declined in recent years from a $150–200 Million high to a current $70-80 Million.

List of parkways

The Bureau of Engineering manages and/or operates a number of parkways across the Commonwealth, including:

List of bridges

The Bureau of Engineering managed and/or operated a number of bridges across the Commonwealth prior to November 2009. All non-pedestrian bridges were transferred to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on November 1, 2009 as part of a transportation reform law.[5][3] Originally, a certain number of bridges listed in the act creating MassDOT were were to be transferred after December 31, 2014 when ongoing construction was completed. However, a Memornadum of Agreement between DCR and MassDOT instead transferred these bridges in 2009 along with all other DCR vehicular bridges.

A partial listing of notable bridges formerly under the DCR, with the exception of pedestrian bridges still managed by the department and listed here, include:

  • Alewife Brook Parkway Bridge over MBTA
  • Anderson Memorial Bridge (aka Larz Anderson Bridge)
  • Boston University Bridge
  • Beades Bridge
  • Bowker Overpass
  • Bridge 23 Revere Beach Parkway over B & M, Corporation Way
  • BU. Pedestrian Bridge
  • Casassa Overpass
  • Casey Overpass
  • Charles Circle 57B
  • Cradock Bridge
  • Craigie Dam Bridge
  • Craigie Drawbridge
  • Eliot Bridge
  • General Edwards Bridge
  • General Edwards Electrical Upgrade
  • Gilman Street Bridge
  • Gilmore Bridge
  • Hammond Pond Parkway Bridge/MBTA
  • Harvard Bridge
  • Lech Walesa Bridge
  • Leo Martin Golf Course Pedestrian Bridge
  • Leverett Circle Tunnel
  • Longfellow Bridge
  • McCarthy Overpass
  • Mystic Valley Parkway over Alewife Brook
  • Neponset River Bridge
  • Pleasure Bay Pedestrian Bridges
  • Revere Beach Pkwy/State Road
  • River Street at Mother Brook
  • River Street Bridge
  • Riverside Park Pedestrian Bridge
  • Storrow Drive Tunnel
  • Watertown Pedestrian Bridge
  • West Roxbury Parkway at Conrail
  • Winthrop Avenue Bridge
  • Woods Memorial Bridge

List of dams

The Bureau of Engineering owns and manages and/or operates a number of dams and flood control facilities across the Commonwealth, including:

  • Irish Dam (Grafton)
  • Moose Hill Reservoir Dam (Spencer)
  • Pontoosuc Lake Dam (Pittsfield)
  • Unionville Pond Dam (Holden)
  • Charles River Dam (Boston)


DCR is generally responsible for maintaining its lands and parks, such as emptying trash barrels, cutting grass, and making building improvements. Road repairs are sometimes implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation at the request of DCR. Police protection has been provided by the Massachusetts State Police after the MDC's police department was merged into the State Police in 1992.

See also


  1. ^ website
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Pazzanese, Christina (September 12, 2009). "A big concern on two major parkways". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  4. ^ "Division of Urban Parks and Recreation History". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2009 (Section 177)". The 186th General Court of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 

External links

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