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Thread: Tapping on Water Supply Property

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Worcester County, MA
    Posts
    46

    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
    Location
    Springfield, MA
    Posts
    41

    Default

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Worcester County, MA
    Posts
    46

    Default

    I emailed the MMPA and learned that they (the MMPA) haven't had much success on getting anywhere with state agencies unfortunately.

    Based on the email it sounds like there haven't been any members of the MMPA that have been asking about tapping on state land so the association hasn't been spending much time on this topic in recent years.

    Working with the state seems to discourage many producers from pursuing this very much, and I see why. The time invested to find the right people to talk to and then get a "no" without any reason behind it isn't very satisfying. If they don't give you an immediate "no" there is more time spent in coming up with a plan, getting it approved and the land put up for bid. In the end you might be outbid for the property...

    It seems like all too often the state comes up with a one-size-fits-all approach and there is no reasoning with anybody.

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