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Cambridge City Council Passes Resolution Opposing Construction of New Paths Through Alewife Reservation

Development and proposals for development in the vicinity of Alewife Reservation have increased in recent years, including plans to construct additional walking paths through the Reservation for use by new residents and businesses.

Public access to the Reservation is important so that visitors have opportunities to enjoy the beauty and serenity of our rare urban wildland and learn about its value to the Cambridge area. However, dramatically increased visitation from additional paths would increase the risks of habitat destruction and wildlife disturbance, potentially ruining the valuable yet fragile ecosystems we currently have.

In recognition of this threat, the Cambridge City Council adopted the following resolution as part of Policy Order 270 at the October 31 meeting:

'WHEREAS: Expanding footpaths could threaten the city's rare and diverse plants, animal, bird, fish and insect habitat, and functioning of these wetlands; now therefore be it

RESOLVED: That the Cambridge City Council go on record as being opposed to any new walkway or sidewalk which might be developed by local property owners through any of the woodlands, marshes, or bordering land subject to flooding (BLSF) or bordering vegetated wetland (BVW) covered by the wetlands protection act ; or any building of a walkway through the natural resource habitat to create a pedestrian trail to the Alewife T stop from areas west and north of Little River; and be it further'

RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to send a copy of this Resolution to the Cambridge Conservation Commission and the Belmont Conservation Commission for consideration in any development permitting proceedings under the Wetlands Protection Act regarding the Alewife Reservation or nearby lands that might come before that Commission.

The existing North Trail (click here for a virtual tour) is approximately a mile long and leads to Belmont's Little Pond. This path once served as an Algonquin Indian fishing trail and is currently maintained by FAR staff and volunteers. Display signs installed by Leslie University seniors in 2014 provide information on the plants, animals and habitats found on the Reservation. Visitors include hundreds of birders, hikers, campers, adventurers, spiritualists and those needing a place to lay their heads overnight.

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About Friends of Alewife Reservation

The Alewife Reservation is a unique natural resource for the communities of Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge and home to hundreds of species, including hawks, coyotes beavers, snapping turtles, wild turkeys and muskrats, the reservation is a unique natural resource for the community.
Historical information (Powerpoint)

Friends of Alewife Reservation works to protect and restore this wild area and the surrounding area for the water quality, native plants, animals and over 90 bird species with paths for walking, running and biking, recreation, and for classroom education and research. We regularly steward and preserve the Reservation area for wildlife and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

photo of nature walk

About Friends of Alewife Reservation
Statement of Purpose
Virtual Tour
Right now, view the wildlife-rich North Trail of Alewife Reservation.
MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Master Plan for Alewife Reservation
Citizen Forester newsletter archive
History of Cambridge
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The Birds of the Cambridge Region of Massachusetts

by William Brewster 1906
Nuttal Ornithological Society

Biodiversity Study of Alewife Reservation Area: Species, Habitat, Ecosystems

Inventories by David Brown, wildlife assessor (2003, 2004.) Published by and available from FAR for $10. Write or call for your copy. (sample)

Updated Dave Brown Inventories (2008, 2010)

Inventories of Alewife Reservation Wetland Plants by Walter Kittredge, Botanist (2013)
Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR) office is in the Fresh Pond Mall
186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Suite 304, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-415-1884
Email: info@friendsofalewifereservation.org
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