Open Space

Newton's Conservation Land

Newton's Conservation Commission owns 20 parcels of land totaling over 280 acres, preserved for its passive recreation and ecological value. These areas are maintained in their natural state for the preservation of native plant and animal species, and for passive recreation by visitors. Newton’s Conservation lands provide many values, including:

  • Water quality — Natural areas act as filters, cleaning stormwater runoff.
  • Wildlife habitat — Native creatures rely on large areas of healthy and diverse ecology to breed, nest, feed, shelter, or hibernate.
  • Passive recreation and quality of life — In these parcels, you can find babbling streams, bird-filled marshes, and dense forests. There are miles of trails to walk for exercise, or simply discover tranquility in the midst of the city. Lose yourself in nature!

 This link here will provide you with a  list of Newton's Conservation parcels  (with a description and map provided for each).  For those who would like a more extensive overview of 'Open Space' operations in Newton, please view this informative brochure

Allowed Uses

Explore the beauty and wonder of these areas. Passive activities such as walking, jogging, and photography are encouraged. Walking with leashed dogs is allowed as long as pet waste is carried out. Picnicking (without a trace) is allowed. Please adhere to our policy of carry in - carry out. We particularly encourage children to get out and explore their natural surroundings, learn about nature’s systems, and understand how we all need to be stewards of these precious resources.

Guidance and Rules: Dogs on Conservation Lands. Adopted April 3, 2014

The rules (below) were established based on the following. Please see our available brochure for further details.

  • Dogs can disturb or kill birds and mammals (birds are especially vulnerable during nesting season and deer are especially vulnerable during winter).
  • Dogs can also trample and damage vegetation.
  • Dog activity can erode banks and add sediments to ponds, stream waters, and vernal pools thereby degrading habitat for aquatic species.
  • Dog waste can pollute surface waters.
  • Dog greeting behavior is unpleasant to some and frightening to others and is a potential safety concern.

Newton Conservation Areas have been protected to safeguard plant and wildlife habitat and encourage nature observation and learning. The Newton Conservation Commission permits dog walking in its Conservation Areas, however requires that dog walkers adhere to the following rules.

  • Every dog is required to be on a leash and to stay on the trails at all times.
  • An individual may bring a maximum of three dogs at any one time.
  • Dogs are not allowed in ponds, watercourses, or wetlands.
  • Dog owners must clean-up after dogs
  • Dogs are not allowed to harass wildlife of any kind.

Prohibited Activities

Dogs off-leash, fires, cutting vegetation, digging, and other land disturbing activities are not allowed. Violators may be fined. Click here for a full listing of Newton's Conservation Land Use Regulations

Land Management

The Conservation Commission is fortunate to have several sources of assistance in its land management efforts (see the list below). If you would like to report something or become a volunteer steward, click here.  If you simply wish to become informed on recent or pending land management projects of Newton's Conservation parcels, please click here.   

  • An annual maintenance contractor performs routine trail-head and trail maintenance, and special project contractors who undertake large or challenging projects.
  • Volunteer Stewards watch over and help care for individual parcels.
  • Eagle Scouts undertake improvement projects.
  • Newton Conservators contribute to community improvement projects such as invasive species pulls.
  • Other “friends of” groups contribute energy, inspiration, and assistance in a variety of projects. 

Conservation priorities, along with recreation priorities, are described in detail in Newton's Open Space and Recreation Plan (2014-2020).

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