Save the Silver Maple Forest was a 2007 grassroots campaign to protect the urban wild at Belmont Uplands (in Belmont and Cambridge, Massachusetts) by advocating for the passage of Massachusetts House Bill 21 (2007-2008 legislative session), cosponsored by Rep. Will Brownsberger and Sen. Steve Tolman. An alliance of individuals and organizations came together, many of whom had been working for many years to preserve this valuable natural area.
House Bill 21 was supported by the Sierra Club of Massachusetts, Friends of Alewife Reservation, and other environmental groups. It was unanimously supported by the Arlington Board of Selectmen, the Belmont Board of Selectmen, and Cambridge City Council.
The effort continues with the filing of House Bill 701 in the 2009-2010 legislative session. This page (based on the old campaign website, www.savethesilvermapleforest.org) includes background information on the events of the 2007 campaign as well as brief updates on the ongoing legislative effort. For more information, search for past posts on this site (willbrownsberger.com) containing “silver maple,” post a question, or contact Rep. Brownsberger. This page is maintained by the 2007 campaign coordinator, Caroline Huang.
News in 2009 and 2010
January 4, 2010: House Bill 701 is in the House Committee on Ways and Means (see http://www.mass.gov/legis/186history/h00701.htm for bill history).
August 1, 2009: The public hearing for House Bill 701, the current bill to save the Silver Maple Forest, was held at the State House on Thursday, August 6, 2009, by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.
March 2009: MA State Representative Will Brownsberger refiled a version of House Bill 21 in the new legislative session. The new bill is entitled “An Act providing for park expansion and urban wildlife preservation in Belmont and Cambridge,” House Bill Number 701 (see bill text here), and is cosponsored by Rep. Brownsberger and Senator Steve Tolman. It was referred to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.
Save the Silver Maple Forest: Events of 2007-2008
To let Governor Patrick know you support preserving the Silver Maple Forest, you may vote for our issue on Governor Patrick’s website, DevalPatrick.com (click on this link to our issue; you may also find our issue by going to the DevalPatrick.com homepage, clicking on the MyIssue.DevalPatrick.com button, and searching for “silver maple”). You may vote electronically even if you’ve already signed a postcard and/or written a letter to Governor Patrick.
1530 signed postcards supporting the preservation of the Silver Maple Forest and House Bill 21 were delivered by the campaign to Governor Patrick’s office as of Monday, October 29, 2007. Many other supporters told us that they mailed postcards directly to the governor’s office.
Governor Patrick vetoes language regarding the Silver Maple Forest in the Environmental Bond Bill
State Representative Will Brownsberger, who co-sponsored House Bill 21 with Senator Steve Tolman, had negotiated an earmark of $6 million toward acquisition of the Silver Maple Forest to be included in the Environmental Bond Bill (House Bill 5005). The earmark would not have required the administration to appropriate the money but did express legislative intent. In addition, a timetable was established for Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to decide on the actual amount of the appropriation. The language regarding the Silver Maple Forest in the Environmental Bond Bill covered almost all the provisions of House Bill 21 (which itself did not reach the House floor by the end of the 2007-2008 legislative session). The language was passed by both the House and the Senate. However, Governor Patrick vetoed the Silver Maple language before signing the Environmental Bond Bill on August 14, 2008. (For details, see Rep. Brownsberger’s post, http://willbrownsberger.com/index.php/archives/194.)
We seem to have lost the first round, but we are still seeking ways to protect the Forest. Rep. Brownsberger held an open meeting to discuss the Forest and possible steps forward on Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 7 PM at Belmont Town Hall (Conference Room 1), 455 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.
Background Information and Documentation
- FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about our campaign
- Who we are: A partial list of campaign participants
- Video recording (http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1077048307) of the June 21, 2007 hearing of House Bill 21, video copyright by Friends of Alewife Reservation
- www.friendsofalewifereservation.org (Friends of Alewife Reservation website with extensive information, news, and archives concerning the Alewife Reservation ecosystem)
- http://uplandsalternative.info/index.html (Uplands Alternative Group website with information, news and archives, especially on Belmont neighborhood issues)
- Bill text for House Bill 21
- Belmont Citizen-Herald article (http://www.townonline.com/belmont/news/x2036916764) about our campaign, July 26, 2007
- Belmont Citizen-Herald article (http://www.townonline.com/belmont/news/x680947267) describing support for our campaign, September 13, 2007
- Letters and documents of support (see also the video recording by FAR, link above)
- Unanimous support of House Bill 21 by the Belmont Board of Selectmen, July 16, 2007 (see letter to Gov. Patrick )
- Sierra Club of Massachusetts supports House Bill 21, July 18, 2007 (see letter to Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets )
- Cambridge Democratic City Committee supports House Bill 21, July 12, 2007 (see letter from CDCC to Gov. Patrick)
- Cambridge City Council supports House Bill 21 by a unanimous vote, July 30, 2007 (see Policy Order Resolution O-29)
- Letter in support of preservation of the Silver Maple Forest from Neal Winston, President, Belmont Land Trust to the Commissioner of the DCR
- Letter in support of House Bill 21 from Annie LaCourt, Chairman, Arlington Board of Selectmen, to Rep. William N. Brownsberger, sponsor of House Bill 21
- Letter and accompanying memo in support of House Bill 21 from Caroline Broderick, Executive Director, Mystic River Watershed Association, to Rick Sullivan, Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Recreation
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