Conservation Area Rules and Regulations

Town of Athol
Conservation Commission

Conservation Lands Rules and Regulations
Approved January 24, 2017

  • The Athol conservation lands are open to the public for passive recreational use dawn to dusk daily. After hour use of the area is by permit only.
  • There will be no open fires on conservation lands. ($200 fine) Picnic stove and barbecue grills are allowed.
  •  Groups wishing overnight access or anyone wishing  to use the areas for weddings or other events must obtain written approval from the commission. Approval must be obtained at a regularly scheduled meeting of the commission. Liability insurance may be required
  • The established fire pits at the three overnight cabins are approved for use only by permit holders. Cutting of trees for firewood is prohibited 
  • Private vehicles are not permitted beyond the locked gates. ($250 fine) All vehicles to be parked so as not to obstruct emergency vehicle entrance to the area. Vehicles using conservation roads shall not exceed 15 mph.
  • Vehicles found inside the Bearsden main gate 1 hour after sunset will be subject to towing if prior permission from the conservation agent has not been received.
  • Recreational vehicles: motorbikes, dirt bikes, three and four wheeled ATVs, or other wheeled or track recreational motor vehicles are prohibited from conservation lands.
  •  Snowmobiles are allowed, providing they are licensed by the state and operator is following all state and local rules. All machines are required to be operated on designated trails and fire roads only. Firearms in a snow machine are prohibited.
  •  Mountain bikes are allowed, provided they are operated in a courteous non-disruptive and safe manner on designated roads and trails.
  • Hunting is permitted provided that all federal, state and local regulations are followed. No person will hunt in conservation areas, between the hours of dusk and dawn without written permission of the conservation commission.
  • The use of firearms for target practice is prohibited ($50 fine).
  • Fishing in the ponds, streams, and rivers of the conservation areas is permitted providing all state and federal regulations are followed. Note special Catch and Release regulations apply to the Bearsden section of Millers River.
  • No Alcohol is allowed on Conservation Commission property.
    Town bylaw provides a $50 fine for drinking on public property
  • No person shall dump or dispose of any cans, bottles, rubbish on conservation properties ($150 fine).
  • No person shall remove vegetation soil or stones from any conservation area.
  • No person shall dig, disturb, or remove any artifact or archaeological remains.
  • No person shall deface any sign building or equipment.
  • The conservation commission or its agent has the right to alter or make regulations to handle special situations.

Town of Athol
Conservation Commission

Staying overnight in the Bearsden - Newton Reservoir Conservation areas

Overnight camping and open fires are prohibited except by permit at one of the specific shelters. Use of the Cabin and Shelters are free to the public on a first come first served basis, A pre-approved permit by the Athol Conservation Commission or its agent is required. To find out more and obtain a permit to reserve one of the overnight shelters visit: For questions email or call 978-413-1772

Special rules for Paige Cabin and shelter use:

  • Overnight reservations are booked through the online reservation system on town of Athol website. (See above)
  • Paige Cabin is available for general use from March 1st to December 15th each year depending on weather. Exceptions may be made for supervised groups of young people.
  • Responsible permit holder must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Cabin and Shelter stay is on a first come first serve basis and limited to 7 consecutive days.
  • Campers are expected to bring their own locally sourced or Kiln dried firewood, kindling and matches as none are provided. Cutting of trees for firewood is prohibited.
  • The Paige Cabin wood stove must be kept clean. All flammable materials must be kept away from the stove. Care must be taken to not have too large of a fire in the stove at any time. This could result in serious damage to the stove. Make sure that the fire is out and the ashes are placed in the barrel behind the cabin.  Fire in outside fireplaces are to be completely extinguished.
  • Please do not use the pond across the street as this is private property
  • No Alcohol is allowed in or around the cabin or shelters. Town bylaw provides a $50 fine for drinking on public property
  • Please use the privy that is provided.
  • The Cabin or shelter and grounds are to be cleaned before you leave. A dumpster in the main parking lot is available to place trash.
  • The responsible person must make arrangements for the pickup and return of the cabin key with the Conservation agent 978-413-1772
  • The responsible party who loses or fails to return the Paige Cabin key will be required to send a $20.00 check made out to: "Town of Athol" C/O Athol Conservation Commission 584 Main Street Athol Ma 01331 memo line: Bearsden Conservation Fund
  • The conservation commission or its agent has the right to alter or make regulations to handle special situations. 

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