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Thread: Tapping on Water Supply Property

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Worcester County, MA

    Default Tapping on Water Supply Property

    I've located a reasonably sized sugarbush that is on state land. Someone has previously used this sugarbush for many years but has ceased operation, sold their farm and moved. Through several emails and calls I was able to learn that the land is classified as Water Supply property and the answer I got from the DCR-DWSP regional director was "no sugaring on water supply property". What recommendations do you have?

    I understand that the state wants to protect their water supplies but I believe tapping and gathering can be done without disturbing the water supply at all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Springfield, MA


    Hi Arctic – I am in a similar situation in that I am considering setting up an operation on family land that is surrounded on three sides by DCR land. The family land isn’t really worth the investment and wouldn’t be economically viable on its own… but if I could tap the DCR land…. You get my point I’m sure.

    I had a state forester out to evaluate our land and he said what you found out about the DCR – “no sugaring on water supply property.”

    I have since found that VT licenses sugaring on state land and thought it might be worth looking into that program and developing a business plan/presentation based on Vermont’s rules, policies, and practices and trying to schedule an official presentation with the appropriate parties in MA.

    It might even be worth discussing the plan with Mass Maple Association to see what kind of inroads have been made in the past, or if they have suggestions on how to frame the presentation or who to talk to etc. etc.

    Those were the thoughts I had on trying to change their minds anyways. Let me know how you progress if you decide to pursue.

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