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

Open Space and Recreation Plan

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

The City of Newton invites you to participate in the first public meeting for the update of the City’s Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP)!

The OSRP is an important municipal planning document. It provides an inventory of all existing areas of recreational use and open space (City owned and privately owned) and a list of goals and priorities for municipal actions regarding land acquisitions, recreational facility and open space improvements, and accessibility improvements. Each OSRP must be reviewed and approved by the state Department of Conservation Services, a part of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and is valid for 7 years once approved

With the help of the Conway School for Landscape Design, Newton is updating its current OSRP; the update must be concluded by May of 2020.

To receive alerts about the OSRP update, please use the button below. 

 

As part of the update process there will be several opportunities for robust community engagement.

  1. On-line community survey, to be released January 30th, will allow everyone an opportunity to provide insights and personal priorities regarding open space and recreation. Please visit this page to access the survey once it is released.
  2. Public meeting #1. The first meeting will be an information gathering session, designed to help the Conway School for Landscape Design understand the priorities of the community and the challenges that Newton faces. The first public meeting will be on Thursday, February 6th, 2020 from 7:00-9:00 pm in the War Memorial* in Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, MA 02459. (*The War Memorial is wheelchair accessible. For ADA accommodations, contact Jini Fairley, at least two business days in advance: jfairley@newtonma.gov or 617.796.1253. For City’s TTY/TDD: 617.796.1089. For TRS, dial 711.
  3. Public meeting #2. The second meeting (date TBD) will serve as an opportunity for residents to provide feedback and comments on a full draft of the OSRP. Please check the website link listed above in the Survey section, to check for announcements regarding the date, time, and location.

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. 

 

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