State: Protected Open Space Tops Developed Land After Recent Conservation
Massachusetts now has 1.25 million acres of protected parks and wildlife habitats.
Gov. Deval Patrick announced 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.
“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 numbers.
Green Jamaica Plain
Of course, Jamaica Plain is well known for its green spaces. Places like Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, Forest Hills Cemetery and the Southwest Corridor Park make JP one of the city's greenest neighborhoods.
City statistics bear that out: JP has an "open space ratio" of 10.79 acres per 1,000 people. That's much higher than the city's average of 7.47 acres.
Taken together, JP and Mission Hill have 543 acres of open space, with 411 of those protected. To put that in context, there are 2,371 total acres in the 02130 Zip code (which is the closest proxy we could quickly find for the acreage of JP.)
The attached PDF from the city has a wealth of information about open spaces in JP. The Boston Natural Areas Network tracks "urban wilds," which is a subset of open space.
$1M a Year for Open Spaces
Turning back to the state-wide view, the Department of Fish and Game and MassWildlife’s land conservation program target 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.