Dogs Must Be Leashed At Desert Natural Area

As of May 1, 2021, dog walkers visiting the trails of the Desert Natural Area (including SVT's Memorial Forest) will be required to leash their dogs at all times. In addition, visitors and their pets must remain on the trails. 

This new policy is designed both to protect the wildlife and wetlands in the conservation area and to ensure an enjoyable experience for all visitors.

Straddling the Sudbury-Marlborough line, the Desert Natural Area comprises several properties:

  • Memorial Forest (Sudbury Valley Trustees)
  • Hop Brook Marsh (Town of Sudbury)
  • Desert Conservation Land (City of Marlborough)
  • Marlborough-Sudbury State Forest (Mass. DCR)
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Massachusetts’ Memorial Forest

SVT and our partner land managers have been working together for over 25 years to protect the special resources in the Desert. Over time, free-running dogs have threatened these resources, and we have determined that the best solution is to require that dogs be leashed at all times.

"We encourage people and their dogs to enjoy our trails, but we need to implement the balance between conservation and recreation," said Laura Mattei, Director of Stewardship at SVT. “Keeping dogs on a leash will help to protect the many species of wildlife that live here.”

We thank everyone for complying with this new policy and for helping to protect the important conservation values of the Desert Natural Area. Read more about the policy.

SVT and our partners are also recruiting volunteer Bark Rangers who will walk the trails and discuss the policy with trail visitors. Interested in helping out? Please email us at [email protected]