Chestnut Hill Reservation

Resource Management Plan

Including Blue Hills Reservation, Ponkapoag Golf Course, and Town Brook Flood Control Site

The Blue Hills Reservation is the largest protected open space in the metropolitan Boston area. Its forested hills, rock outcrops, and ponds are prominent and familiar features on the region's landscape. The Reservation provides habitat for a variety of plants and animals, both common and rare. Among the latter are State-listed species, some of which survive at only a few sites in Massachusetts. The Blue Hills provides visitors with a variety of active and passive recreational opportunities unequalled elsewhere in eastern Massachusetts. It is this combination of uncommon natural and recreational resources that characterizes the Blue Hills, and presents a formidable management challenge.

Management Principle:

Through the use of limited management resources – financial, labor, capital and equipment – to protect, and when possible enhance, the natural and cultural qualities and recreational opportunities that inspired the creation of the Blue Hills Reservation amid the challenge of accelerating, neighboring development and environmental change.

Management Goals:

  • Make recreation sustainable and appropriate for the Blue Hills environment.
  • Protect those natural resources most at risk from misuse, overuse, obsolete practices or avoidable environmental change.
  • Preserve the distinct scenic and historic qualities of the reservation.
  • Promote recreation, and other activities, that increase appreciation of the natural and cultural environments and their protection.
  • Repel or mitigate external pressures that threaten the character and qualities of the Blue Hills.

Public Meetings and Review:

An initial public meeting was held on July 29, 2009 at the Trailside Museum; input was accepted through the end of 2009. A public meeting on the draft RMP was held December 7, 2010 at Ponkapoag Golf Course; this was followed by a 60-day comment period. The RMP was submitted to the DCR Stewardship Council on March 4, 2011, and was adopted on April 1, 2011.

For further information on the ongoing management and maintenance of these properties, implementation of the RMP, or ways to get involved, please contact:


Blue Hills District Manager
Bob MacKenzie
(617) 727-5252 (x501)
Robert.Mackenzie@state.ma.us