GWLT can accommodate camping on some conservation properties overnight. In fact, we would love to do so!
As the Trust has a lot of volunteers, monitors, users, and neighbors watching over the conservation land, we absolutely need to know you are out there. That way we are able to respond that indeed there is camping taking place; that we know you know the rules; and that everything is alright. Please read through this section and then follow the link to the “Request a Camping Permit” form.
If you will be parking any vehicles at Trust property please provide us with the make, model, and the plate’s state and number so we can notify rangers and/or police ahead of time of your overnight presence.
Some Trust properties have a gated access point. The Trust can also provide you with the key to the gate if you would like to be able to park the cars and secure the fence behind them overnight. Please inquire if this applies to where you are camping. We will need you to return the key to either 4 Ash Street in the mailbox, or 135 Olean Street at the Lodge at the conclusion of your camping overnight. Please indicate on the attached form which address you intend to leave the key at.FIRESPlease know that campfires are not permitted in Worcester as per Massachusetts DEP Air Quality standards for urban communities. Please bring a backpacking stove if you need to cook.Outside of Worcester: The Trust requests that if there is to be a camping fire on a Trust property that you follow a couple of very simple rules.First, before camping please check the local fire danger to make certain that it is LOW, NONE, or MODERATE. This is posted online at (http://www.wfas.net/images/firedanger/fd_cls_f.png), posted outside the Lodge at Cascading Waters at 135 Olean Street, Worc. MA 01602, or you can call the Lodge at 508-754-5697 for an update.
Second, the open fire must be in a designated firepit. Speak with a Trust representative about where to find this for your camping location.
Third, please only take dead limbs and branches from the forest floor. Do not cut down trees or cut limbs off of trees. Please do not burn green wood or trash (it doesn’t burn well anyways! Honest!) Please do not transport firewood to any site.
Fourth, Containers of water must be nearby to control unforeseen sparks, etc.LEAVE NO TRACEThe Trust works to operate on a minimal human impact “Leave No Trace” basis (see https://lnt.org/teach/outdoor-ethics-frontcountry ), and we practice principles of using “frontcountry” rules as opposed to backwoods or “wilderness” rules. The Trust works and thinks hard about where people camp and we try to use a designated spot as the official spot for camping so that we confine the impact on the conservation property. PHOTOSIf you are willing and able to share any photos of your encampment, we would love them! Our members and volunteers are always extremely interested and excited to know that the land was being used this way! Photos of your encampment can also be used as instructional aides for “how to” and “how not to” camp using “Leave No Trace” principles! (We hope that your photos provide us with “how to” examples!)HUMAN WASTEOne last and critical item on “Leave No Trace.” On the topic of restrooms…. as we said previously, the Trust operates using the “Leave No Trace” rules. Unfortunately, due to the extreme proximity to where people live, as this is an urban and urbanized area, and due to the presence of brooks, ponds, and vernal pools on Trust properties, we need to be vigilant about human waste.
The Trust presently has a PET backpack toilet system that we can loan you for your camping trip. This consists of a lightweight backpack that has a tent, a folding commode chair, some toilet paper, and a series of double bagged zip lock bags for the waste (Usually one bag is enough for a weekend trip). While this isn’t the most attractive topic we would prefer that solid wastes (at least) be accommodated in this fashion. The beauty of this system is that you zip up the bag, throw it in a trash bag, throw that in another trash bag, and throw the whole thing away. There are no “cat holes” of waste, toilet paper sticking out of the ground, or reasons for wildlife to dig up or avoid areas due to the scent.
When you see any signs of wildlife while you are out on the property, please make a note of it and tell us at the conclusion of your trip. We have deer, bear, moose, countless birds (including wild turkeys), raccoons, skunks, fisher, porcupine, frogs, beaver, toads, and all manner of other New England species. Knowing the wildlife present on the property helps us to plan and manage the conservation property to maximize the potential as wildlife habitat. Additionally, if you see a problem or an animal behavior of concern, please do not hesitate to contact the Trust immediately at 508-795-3838 or text the Trust at 774-641-3472. We seek to accommodate many users and uses and knowing of a problem early helps us to do that successfully.