[On April 8, the Trustees, issued the following statement regarding the reopening of over 70 properties across Massachusetts.]
PROPERTY UPDATE: We are pleased to share that starting tomorrow, Thursday, April 9, we will reopen more than 70 properties across Massachusetts, for local use only, in order to offer more opportunities to spend time in nature during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been working with local and state officials to determine how to open some of the properties while keeping staff, visitors, and surrounding communities safe. The list of properties that will reopen do not require staffing in order to open and did not experience overcrowding prior to the closures in March.
In alignment with the Governor’s Stay at Home order, in which the administration encouraged Massachusetts residents to go out for walks and visit parks, for their health and wellbeing, while practicing social distancing and staying local, we strongly encourage you to visit just those Trustees properties that are in your community.
Other Trustees properties will remain closed until May 4. These are sites where staff are required to prevent overcrowding or where town officials have requested that they stay closed. Sites with narrow trail systems are also being kept closed. Although agricultural operations continue, all Trustees farms will remain closed, except for curbside food pick up at specific times, to ensure the health and safety of essential agricultural staff and the food grown on these farms. While some of the properties remain closed for the time being, we hope to safely open these with a plan for controlled access.
“Now more than ever, we recognize that offering access to our special places provides respite, solace, fresh air, and a physical outlet during this unprecedented time in our world,” says Trustees President & CEO Barbara Erickson. “At the same time, we know that it is so important that visitors follow the CDC social distancing guidelines for everyone’s safety and that they stay close to home.”
For more information including a list of all sites opening tomorrow please visit our COVID19 Response page -> http://www.thetrustees.org/covid19
[On March 23, Barbara Erickson, president and CEO of the Trustees, issued the following statement. It has been lightly edited to comply with AP style guidelines.]
These are unprecedented times. During these times, we must be both brave and prudent. Over the last three weeks, we have seen that our 118 special places have become sanctuaries for those seeking safe spaces to get out of their homes, to occupy their children and families, to get exercise away from gyms, to spend time with animals, to practice social distancing with acreage to spare. We are grateful to provide these opportunities, for the chance to serve in both times of leisure and in times of stress.
Thus, with today’s announcement from Governor Charlie Baker to suspend all non-essential businesses, we are saddened to announce that we will comply with this advisory by closing all Trustees properties beginning tomorrow, March 24 until April 7. All staff who are not involved in the care and maintenance of agricultural production and necessary operational care will be at home. All gates and parking lots will be closed and we ask the public to respect these barriers. The Trustees will continue to operate our agricultural operations in compliance with the guidelines issued for the care and feeding of animals, and the production and distribution of food. Our farm properties will only be available for the pick-up of food products.
We recognize that many Trustees properties are without gates or barriers and are within safe walking distance from neighbors and others and could be safely visited within the parameters of the governor’s directive. We ask that those who choose to visit those properties at this time be respectful, follow guidelines about litter, safety and dog behavior. We understand that these changes will feel dire to many who have come to rely on the daily use and enjoyment of our properties. We ask that everyone comply with the governor’s orders, that you respect the closures of our properties, and that you keep your families and others safe during this unknown and unpredictable time.
Despite our closures, we will continue to pay all staff. Our colleagues are available to answer emails and questions, can process memberships and gifts made online on our website, and we are working on creating virtual resources that you can enjoy at home. Please watch out for these resources.
Thank you for understanding how difficult this decision was. Once this crisis passes and we receive word from officials that it is again safe to gather, we look forward to welcoming all back to our special places.
Barbara J. Erickson
President & CEO