Back to Top

GWLT Land Use Policies

Foraging | Fishing | Cross-country SkiingHunting | Geocaching | Metal Detecting | Pet EtiquetteCamping | 7 Principles for Frontcountry


GWLT permits personal, but not commercial foraging on its properties.


Fishing is permitted, but there is only one place where GWLT owns the pond, and that is Southwick Pond. In other cases where GWLT has pond frontage or has the development rights to a pond, please contact us with information so we can let you know what the owners permit.


Cross-country skiing is permitted where trails or woods roads can accommodate the use.


GWLT allows hunting with notice on properties that are large enough to accommodate the state buffers around roads and buildings, and that are allowed by municipal ordinance. As of 2018, hunting permits are available for Cascades West, Southwick Pond, and Sibley Farm. To ask for a hunting permit, please  contact us with your information. We will need to know the hunter’s contact information, which property or properties will be hunted, what type of game and weapon(s), and if a tree stand will be used. Once we have a full record, our office will send a letter showing the hunter has permission along with a map of allowed hunting areas and a tree stand tag if applicable.


So, you want to place a Geocache on GWLT conservation lands?

Keep in mind that our primary job at the Trust is to steward these properties as conservation lands, and then to allow public passive recreation in so far as it doesn’t undermine those values.

Ok, so here is some guidance.

    1. Please ask ahead! Please email the details and the GPS coordinates!
    1. We ask that you keep back from sensitive ecological areas such as: brooks, rivers, wetlands, vernal pools, and meadows.
    1. We ask that you try to locate geocaches no more than 15′ off of existing blazed and marked trails.
    1. We ask that you use “small” and/or “regular” sized geocaches.
  1. We ask that if you are the maintainer of a geocache you send us an email once a year in May just to keep in touch, to remind us that it is out there, and so that we don’t accidentally consider the geocache abandoned and discard it.

Thank you so very much, and have fun in the woods!


The Greater Worcester Land Trust


The Greater Worcester Land Trust does not support the activity of metal detecting and the removal of items on our conservation properties.

Nearly all of our properties are subject to a legal agreement with the state that prohibits the excavation and removal of materials from the sites, and has specific provisions for working with and through the Massachusetts Historic Commission for archaeological items of note.


GWLT welcomes pets and their owners. Please stay on leash and on trail, and bag and pack out waste. Thank you!


● Keep your pet on a leash, with you, and under control at all times.

● Give hikers without pets the right-of-way.

▷ Step out of the way, have your pet sit, and let them pass.

● Say a friendly “hello” to others on the trail.

▷ Let your pet know that a friend, not a foe, is approaching.

● Clean up after your pet

▷ Just as you would after yourself.

▷ Use Leave No Trace principles.

▷ Neither of you is a wild animal, and your refuse is not part of nature. Please bag & carry out any pet waste.

● Don’t allow your pet to disturb plants or wildlife.

▷ Keep to the trail!

● Enjoy!



Yes, the Trust 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. We will provide you with an official letter on Trust letterhead that gives you permission.


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.


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 (, 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.


Please 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.


The Trust works to operate on a minimal human impact “Leave No Trace” basis (see ), 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. Please work with a Trust representative to learn where the designated camping spots are for the property, or work with a Trust representative to establish one for your trip if none has been previously designated.


If 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!)


One 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.

Thank you so very much! We look forward to hearing about your adventures on the property! Please let us know if you have any questions or comments and how we might be able to help you get started!

We look forward to your use of the conservation land we all love and share!


Colin M.J. Novick

Executive Director

Greater Worcester Land Trust




Be prepared! Remember food and water, and clothes to protect you from cold, heat and rain.

Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and won’t get lost.

Remember to bring a leash for your pet and plastic bags to pick up your pet’s waste.

Learn about the areas you plan to visit. Read books, check online and talk to people before you go. The more you know, the more fun you’ll have.


Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants.

Do not step on flowers or small trees. Once damaged, they may not grow back.

Respect private property by staying on designated trails.

Camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation.

Good campsites are found, not made. Don’t dig trenches or build structures in your campsite.


Pack it in, Pack it out. Put litter–even crumbs, peels and cores–in garbage bags and carry it home.

Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 full paces from water.

Use a plastic bag to pack out your pet’s poop to a garbage can.

Keep water clean. Do not put soap, food, or human or pet waste in lakes or streams.


Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them.

Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking or peeling plants may kill them.


Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a fire.

If you want to have a campfire, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build a fire in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat. Keep your fire small.

Remember, a campfire isn’t a garbage can. Pack out all trash and food.

Firewood should be either bought from a local vendor or gathered on site if allowed. Don’t bring firewood from home – it can harbor tree-killing insects and diseases. Many states regulate the movement of untreated firewood.

Before gathering any firewood, check local regulations.

Burn all wood to ash and be sure the fire is completely out and cold before you leave.


Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow them.

Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits.

Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.


Be considerate when passing others on the trail.

Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors and wildlife.

Listen to nature. Avoid making loud noises or yelling. You will see more wildlife if you are quiet.

Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.


Request a Camping Permit

%d bloggers like this: