Resources for Land Trusts and Partners
You're welcome to send us website links, documents, images of trail signs, etc. that you find particularly helpful or compelling in dealing with these times, so we can add them to this list in order to help us tackle this situation, together.
Getting Outside During COVID-19
Pandemic Resources for Non-Profits brought to you by River Network
How to Get Outside During a Pandemic brought to you by Outdoor Alliance
Massachusetts State Parks COVID-19 guidance and information
Guidance on boating and other marine and inland waterway related activities from EEA (dated April 27)
Examples of COVID-19 wording from websites and trail signs
Ways to Safely Celebrate Nature (added April 29) - Lisa Vernegaard, Executive Director of Sudbury Valley Trustees, is interviewed on WGBH's "In It Together" by host Arun Rath (minutes 1:05 to 12:05) to celebrate "Earth Day in Your Backyard".
Guidance Related to a Phased Reopening of Outdoor Recreation
On Monday May 18, Governor Baker announced a plan for phased reopening of the Massachusetts economy, with phases to be based on health and safety metrics. This plan includes detailed guidance related to outdoor recreation during the first phase of reopening, which can be found here. This guidance was developed with input from a wide range of stakeholders, including Robb Johnson, MLTC's Executive Director. As our success in limiting spread of COVID-19 will depend heavily on the voluntary cooperation of well-informed citizens, please share this guidance broadly with your constituents.
Deadlines for Responding to Withdrawal from Ch. 61/61A/61B Temporarily Extended
On April 3, Governor Baker signed Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 into law: "An Act to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19". Section 9 of the new legislation extends the times for cities and towns to respond to notices of the sale/conversion of agricultural/forestry/recreation land held under Ch. 61/61A/61B that trigger purchase options for 90 days after the termination of the Governor's March 10, 2020 state of emergency declaration.
COVID Relief Coalition Launched
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has joined a coalition of law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies—led by Ropes & Gray, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Lawyers Clearinghouse—to launch the COVID Relief Coalition to provide vulnerable businesses and mission-driven organizations with pro bono legal support. The coalition offers quick, no-cost assistance and guidance from the local legal community to small businesses that complete an intake form.
COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Businesses and Organizations (sourced from Mass.gov)
The Baker-Polito Administration has released information on several state and federal programs designed to help nonprofits and small businesses affected by COVID-19. These measures include grants, emergency loans, and tax relief programs. Some of these programs are available to organizations with fewer than 50 employees, while others benefit those with fewer than 500 employees. Learn more about these programs here.
Community Preservation Act Can Help With Rental Assistance
Sourced from Community Preservation Coalition
In addition to its role in preserving land across the state, the Community Preservation Act (CPA) can be used to help with rental assistance programs in these difficult times. Amendments added to the CPA in 2012 clarify that rental assistance programs are an eligible CPA community housing application. More information on the CPA, and how it can help during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be found here.
New Conservation Restriction Submission Guidelines
Sourced from MA Division of Conservation Services
The MA Division of Conservation Services has implemented new guidelines for submitting new conservation restrictions (CR). Instead of mailing a physical copy, please submit all CR applications via email to John Gioia (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Denise Pires (Denise.Pires@mass.gov) with the subject line "New Conservation Restriction Submission." If the accompanying files are too large to attach, please send a link to a Google Drive folder containing the files. If you have recently mailed a physical CR application, please email the form and required materials to ensure it is received. Find more information and the CR application form here.
Revised Board Practices during COVID-19
On April 3, 2020, Governor Baker signed into law emergency provisions that will permit nonprofits organized in the Commonwealth to adapt their governance practices to the unique challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis. Among other things, permitting members to meet remotely and vote by proxy, unless the nonprofit's articles of organization expressly prohibit this. The emergency provisions will be effective for the duration of the Governor's March 10, 2020 state of emergency and for 60 days thereafter. For more information see Section 16 here.
Certain Work of Conservation Organizations Deemed Essential Under Governor Baker's Emergency Order
Businesses and organizations that do not provide "COVID-19 Essential Services" are required to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public. On March 31, the State revised its list of essential services to clarify that certain conservation work can proceed, whether performed on state, municipal, non-profit or private conservation lands. Specifically, the list now includes, "Workers who support the operation, maintenance and public safety of parks, forests, reservations, conservation restrictions, wildlife management areas, water supply protection lands, and other critical natural resources and open space for passive recreation." Those who undertake such work at this time are urged to practice social distancing precautions.