Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR)        Join Email List     DONATE!
Get email when website is updated

it's private

Forests and Parks Friends Network signing onto FAR letters.

See Cover Letter to Friends Network and Letter to EOEA Secretary Ian Bowles.
added to website February 23, 2009

Dear Forest and Parks Friends Network,

The municipalities of Arlington, Belmont and city of Cambridge have formally voted not to allow the silver maple forest to be clear-cut. Cambridge has voted numerous times with 7 resolutions. Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR) will have another hearing before the Council on March 2 at City Hall to ask the Council not to allow Cambridge to permit the developer any permits before the DEP and Land Court process are completed. The forested Belmont Uplands are surrounded by DCR wetlands and woods. Gravely in jeopardy are 5 acres designated for clear-cut in our regionís tiny amount of open space in densely populated western corridor from Boston.

The Network of Friends is a very value vehicle for sharing each of our vigilant commitments to preserving natural resources, and dreams to protect and keep Massachusettsís lands beautiful. By talking together, supporting one anotherís struggles for improved conservation standards, and working with DCR to preserve public lands, is a very noble endeavor and one we are all committed to.

The Alewife Reservationís woodlands should have never reached this level of elimination threat, but we did not realize the power and appeal of private ownership in this case. Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR)) and the Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands are working against the wishes of one of the largest of our nationís developers. Environmental Coalitionís in 3 states have tried to prevent this developerís inappropriate plans and have failed.

Because the forested Belmont Uplands forest is one of the most graphic examples of inappropriate development, we have a chance. We also have a chance because we have received many statements from the municipalities. In addition, FAR has been prolific in getting the word out, and consistent with events and youth training.

Your signature is most desired on this letter. Ian Bowles must know that many of the Parkís staunchest supporters are adamant about the protection of our rare Mass. urban forests which are diminishing so quickly before our eyes.

If you have any questions that require answers before you sign, please feel free to call FAR. Information in the letter can be verified from our website:

Ellen Mass
Friends of Alewife Reservation
617 290-4864 cell
617 415-1884 FAR offices

Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
Boston, Ma.

Dear Secretary Ian Bowles,

Friends of Alewife Reservation is writing to ask your help to preserve the Alewife Reservationís silver maple forest by studying the area for its environmental value, and to support a second Alewife forest acquisition Bill, just beginning process in the House of Representatives.

In 2008, Governor Patrick vetoed a bill to acquire this woodland after passing the House and Senate. Presently, a large housing development is planned to destroy the rare urban silver maple forest. The proposed development will also severely impact the adjacent marshes, vernal pools, the Little River and Little Pond nearby. The Alewife Reservation is an integral ecosystem, which is dependent on the preservation of the wooded Uplands.

Friends of Alewife Reservation recommends that the land remain open space. The 2002 DCR Alewife Master Plan has also recommended that it remain so. The Belmont Open Space and Recreation Plan of January 2001 cited the Alewife Reservation silver maple forest land as a priority for acquisition. Two years ago, the Belmont/Arlington Boards of Selectmen voted unanimously to preserve the Silver Maple Forest as open space. The Cambridge Open Space Commission report in 2002 and 2003 recommends the Alewife Reservation be upgraded as an urban wild open space for recreation and environmental protection, with a large storm water basin created for storm water management and recreated wetlands in Cambridge. Many more future improvements are recommended for the Upper Basin Mystic River watershed with the Presidentís stimulus package.

Neighbors surrounding the Belmont Pond and forest, now Plaintiffs, are presently in a civil action against AP Cambridge Partners LLP. They have raised significant amounts among residents to protect these local woodlands, marshes, and river and pond, that surround them. At a recent forest forum in Belmont, Representative William Brownsberger stated that the forested Belmont forest is not an appropriate location to build a housing complex even if affordable units are included. The town is opposed to the development on many levels. Because the location is isolated and there is no public transportation, it does not fit any Ďsmart growthí criteria.

As the DEP adjudicatory process moves forward with the Belmont Conservation Commission in an appeal to DEP based on questionable storm water retention and sewage planning; and as the neighbors continue in their civil action case planned for Land Court in March, this could be a very effective time window for EOEA and DCR to re-visit the vulnerable Alewife Reservation public lands that the agency stewards. IT is directly on a major transportation artery, an outstanding educational learning center for the many classrooms and universities who require environmental field study. The DCR should mark the wetlands and perform a serious study of the development's impact to the public wetlands, an assessment not yet made. Private consultants of the Plaintiffs have determined severe impact to the Mystic River watershed as a result of increased pollution, and run-off. Warming temperature impacts to the region have also been projected.

Representative Will Brownsberger re-filed the bill vetoed last year by the Governor. We ask that you, Secretary Bowles, support the purchase Bill and ask for a 5 year moratorium so that the important woodlands remain protected, functioning, as a small river floodplain forest. Assurance of open space protection would be reinforced with an uplands and wetlands impact study for Cambridge and Arlington, as former Senator Havern from Arlington had almost accomplished before his retirement.

Thank you for your support for preserving the Alewife Reservationís silver maple forest. We are always reminded of the EOEAís Biomap publication of 2002 which graphs Massachusetts open space. We see that the DCR Alewife Reservation open space in Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont of 145 acres, which includes the Arlington Mugar Woods, is part of the miniscule two percent protected, and two percent unprotected open space left in the greater Boston area.