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In the United States, public school land provides valuable and accessible open space and recreational resources to the communities in which they are located, contributing to the existing network of greenways. There are 351 towns and cities within Massachusetts with 1,934 schools and approximately 980,459 students (www.educationbug.org). Massachusetts is 5,284,440 acres (2,138,536 ha ±) in area and has a population of slightly over six (6) million people according to the 2000 Census. The existing bicycle and long distance trail network in Massachusetts comprises approximately 1,483 miles (927km) (MassGIS, 1999, 2004) and there are 1,382,723 (560 000 ha ±) acres of protected open space (MassGIS, 2009). Approximately 145,173 acres (58 750 ha ±) of the protected open space is classified as recreational open space. About 48,472 acres (19 615 ha ±) of recreational open space is part of school property in Massachusetts. The average acreage of school properties (including public and private institutions) is approximately 43 acres, indicating sizeable amounts of protected open space accessible for recreational use. In other words, about 10% of protected open space statewide is classified as recreational land, and 3.5% is school land.



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