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. 

Please find the plan submitted to the state Department of Conservation Services for their review and approval below!

City of Newton Open Space and Recreation Plan 2020-2027

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

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

 On-line community survey will allow everyone an opportunity to provide insights and personal priorities regarding open space and recreation.

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.)

  Meeting Agenda

  Photo Gallery

  Synopsis of Public Meeting 1

  3. Public meeting #2. The second meeting was held on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 from 7:00-9:00pm at the Price Center*, 27 Christina Street, Newton Upper Falls, MA, 02461.This second meeting provided an opportunity for residents to provide feedback and comments on the work done so far in the update process. Please use the sign-up box above to receive alerts and updates about the OSRP planning process. Thanks to all those who came out to the second public meeting, it was a very informative evening! 

  Public Meeting 2 - Presentation

 4. Public Comment Period. There was an open public comment period on the 4/30/20 draft, that was presented to the Zoning and Planning Committee and the full City Council. This period opened on 4/30/20 and closed on 5/18/20 at 6pm.

5. City Council Process. The 4/30/20 draft of the 2020-2027 OSRP was presented to the Planning and Development Board on 5/4/20, and jointly, as a public hearing, to the Zoning and Planning Committee and the Planning and Development Board on 5/7/20 (presentation linked below). The OSRP was discussed again by both bodies on 5/19/20. The Planning and Development Board voted to issue a letter of review and support for the plan. The Zoning and Planning Committee broke the docket into three items and voted to review language for a letter of support and voted to hold the issue of adoption as amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and the details of the Implementation Committee. Further discussion have yet to be scheduled. 

OSRP Presentation - 5/7/20 Zoning and Planning Committee/Planning & Development Board

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. 

 

back to top