Gov. Deval Patrick announced last week that for the first time, the amount of protected open space in Massachusetts exceeds the amount of developed land.
With the Department of Fish and Game's recent $2.5 million acquistion in Plymouth of 94 acres of wildlife habitat, the state can count 100,000 acres of open space conserved since 2007, for a total of 1.25 million acres overall. That includes the 2,575 acres of Middlesex Fells Reservation.
“We have conserved open space and developed parks in over 310 communities, leaving a lasting legacy that touches every corner of the state," Patrick said. His administration has committed $287 million to land conservation and invested $57 million to protect 142 farms, according to state number.
The Department of Fish and Game, and MassWildlife’s land conservation program, targets the most ecologically valuable habitats in the state, using open space bond funds and revenue from the Wildlands stamp – the $5 charge on fishing, hunting and sporting licenses – for land purchases, providing about $1 million a year for the protection of open space, according to the governor's office.