Open year round
dawn to dusk. The Neponset River, unlike
the Charles and Mystic Rivers, remains a natural estuary with extensive
marshlands at its mouth and significant freshwater wetlands along
much of its upstream length. It provides an unusually rich and
diverse habitat for both plants and animals including a number
and endangered species. The estuarine portion of the Neponset River
upstream of Granite Avenue is characterized by extensive tidal
Granite bound for Boston from Quincy was transferred by early railroad
to boats at a pier on the Milton Shore. This segment of the river
offers interesting canoeing and nature study opportunities.
In the late 1880's, inspired by the founders of the Metropolitan
Park System, Charles Eliot and Sylvester Baxter, the Metropolitan
Park Commission acquired the Neponset River salt marshes - the first
salt marshes in the Commonwealth to be publicly owned. Over the
past 100 years the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) has actively
worked to acquire approximately 750 acres along the Neponset River.
These acquisitions include formerly used lands, such as the Neponset
Drive-In and Hallett Street land fill in 1973 and Shaffer Paper
the former Sterns Lumber Yard, in 1986, all to be rehabilitated
as parkland and an abandoned rail right of way in 1990.
The Lower Neponset
River Reservation Master Plan was prepared in 1966 with community
guidance. The plan builds up the principles set forth by Eliot and
Baxter of wise land stewardship, restoring damaged natural areas
and opening portions of the outdoors for public use and enjoyment.
The Plan made recommendations for new open space and parkland development
with three of its five recommendations being implemented.
Pope John Paul II Park,
a new 66 acre park, has been constructed on the site of the former
Neponset Drive-In and Hallett Street land fill and opened to the
public in 2001. At Squantum
Point in Quincy , phase one of Squantum Point Park, 25 acres
of a 50 acre former U.S. Navy Airfield, was developed as waterfront
parkland Point Park with assistance from The National Grid Co. and
dedicated in the spring of 2001. The completion of 2.4 miles of
the Lower Neponset
River Trail in 2003 will create opportunities for people to
rediscover the Neponset River and the Reservation and to traverse
a rich variety of historical and ecological contexts.
The site of the former T-Construction Company and Schlager Auto
Body were acquired by the Commission in 1998 to be rehabilitated
as parkland. The Commission hopes to acquire a parcel (The JSax
property) adjacent to these two parcels in 2003. These three parcels
were not included in the Master Plan of 1996. Their rehabilitation
as a new 7 acre waterfront park called Neponset
II will provide an important missing link between the recently
developed parkland at Pope John Paul II Park and the MDC Neponset
Marshes just west of Granite Avenue.
The Reservation also offers other recreational and educational opportunities
at Mohnihan Playground and the Martini Shell in Hyde Park, Ryan
Playground in Mattapan and Ventura Street Playground in Dorchester.
Kennedy Park in Mattapan is home to a community garden and the City
Natives Nursery (see www.bostonnatural.org).
Pope John Paul II Park
Lower Neponset River
Squantum Point Park
For information on the Neponset River Master
Plan see the Master Plans