Conservation Areas by section of town
Values, Protection and Management
Town-owned open space lands include 800 acres held as conservation areas for the preservation of natural resources, controlled and managed by the Bedford Conservation Commission. Most of these areas were conveyed to the Town under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, section 8C - The Conservation Commission Act. Lands conveyed under this statute are protected in perpetuity from development and other changes that would detract from their functions and values. Maintenance of these areas in a natural state contributes to the protection of water resources, plant communities, scenic vistas, unique wildlife habitat and floodplain functions, and provides trail connections, neighborhood open space, and buffers between incompatible land uses.
All Bedford conservation areas are open to the general public for hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, nature study and picnics. Overnight camping for organized youth and scout groups is allowed at Hartwell Town Forest at the discretion of the Commission. The conservation areas and trails are maintained by the Commission, the Trails Committee and the Bedford Conservation Land Stewards. Maps of Bedford's conservation areas and trails are available through this site, the Trails Commitee, and the Conservation Office at Town Hall. Following the conservation area name, a T indicates that trails have been developed; TM indicates that a trail map is available.
The following sections include descriptions of the conservation areas, as well as historical information and management objectives. Each section groups neighboring conservation areas in geographic locations within the Town. Many of these areas adjoin conservation restrictions and municipal lands that provide additional passive recreational opportunities and trail connections.
Conservation lands and areas managed by the Conservation Commission encompass 870 acres. Conservation restrictions protecting the natural resources of private lands total 308 acres. With the 672 acres within the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Bedford, the total acres of protected or conservation-managed land in Bedford is 1,870 acres, approximately 21% of the Town's area.