Many landowners cite recreation as one of the main benefits they seek from their woodland. Citizens of Massachusetts also value the abundant opportunities to pursue their favorite outdoor pastimes in this heavily wooded landscape. While there are notable state lands that provide public places to have fun outdoors, the majority of Massachusetts woodland (greater than 75%) is owned by thousands of private families and individuals.
Outdoor recreation that happens at a large scale or covers long distances (e.g., hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing) will most likely cross private lands. The average private woodlot in Massachusetts is roughly 10 acres. If all the small properties between 1 and 9 acres are excluded, the average rises to 70 acres, which is still not all that large from the standpoint of providing a meaningful outdoor recreation experience to some.
If your recreation involves the pursuit of fish or wildlife—either white-throated sparrows or white-tailed deer—its habitat does not start or stop at property boundaries. Therefore, one way landowners can improve their recreational experience is by looking for opportunities to work with neighbors to improve wildlife habitat or shared use of trails.
If recreation involves fish or boats, abundant and clean water depends on a healthy forest landscape. Even something as simple as nature photography benefits by having a lovely forested backdrop or landscape. Regardless of your interest and level of activity, forests contribute immeasurably to the wealth of recreation opportunities in Massachusetts.