General Laws

Section 11B. There shall be in the department of fisheries, wildlife and environmental law enforcement a board to be known as the public access board composed of the director of the division of fisheries and wildlife, the director of the office of law enforcement, the director of the division of marine fisheries, the director of the division of forests and parks and the deputy chief engineer of the division of waterways or their respective designees and the chairmanship of said board shall be by vote of said members. The board shall meet at the call of the chairman and shall by majority vote designate locations of public access to great ponds and other waters within the commonwealth and locations of trails and paths for snowmobiling, hiking, skiing or other uses; provided, however, that no location shall be so designated except after a public hearing in the city or town in which it is situated. Notice of such hearing shall be given in the case of a city, to its mayor and in the case of a town, to its board of selectmen at least twenty days before the date of the hearing. The department shall, after receiving written notice of such designation, acquire by purchase, gift, or lease or, with the consent of the governor, by eminent domain such land and water areas, or interests and easements therein, which have been designated by said board for the purpose of providing such public access, trails and related facilities, or it may utilize public lands with the consent of the department or other public agency in charge thereof. The department may construct such roads, parking areas, docks, ramps, trails, shelters, comfort stations and related facilities as may be designated by said board and shall maintain, operate and improve such facilities and associated land and water areas; provided, however, that the department may enter into agreements with other public agencies to transfer operation of such areas to said agency. The department may adopt, after public hearing, regulations governing the use of land and water areas under this section, violation of which may be punished by a fine of not more than $100 and which may be enforced by any employee of the commonwealth, or of a city or town, having police powers. The cost of such acquisition, construction, maintenance, operation and improvement, and the administrative and other expenses, including planning, incurred by the department in connection with the activities authorized by this section shall be chargeable to the General Fund. The board may purchase from sums appropriated safety, rescue, patrol and maintenance equipment and may transfer the same to agencies of the commonwealth having responsibilities for law enforcement or management of public lands.