Guide Master Plans

Master Plans are tools to guide short and long term strategies for capital investment and development, principally of recreational facilities. They are a necessary part of the assessment of a property and/or an individual park facility in an era of transition and renewal.

Alewife Master Plan (2003)

New Charles River Basin Master Plan

Charles River Basin Master Plan (2002)

The Master Plan for the Charles River Basin is a comprehensive look at the parks, parkways, river banks, and watersheet of the Charles between the historic Charles River Dam and Watertown Square. Articulating a vision developed in partnership with the public over a two-year period, the Plan’s goal is to restore the Basin’s outstanding historic landscape character while addressing the needs of the twenty-first century. The Plan serves to guide the stewardship, the management, and the maintenance of the park land, parkways, and the water sheet. Key initiatives include preserving the historic and character-defining features of the Charles River Basin, improving the parkland and support appropriate uses, improving the river channel and manage access to the water, improving access and circulation to and throughout the Basin, and supporting management and maintenance of the Charles River Basin. The ideas and thoughtful participation of countless individuals and organizations made this Plan possible. Thanks to their continuing efforts, positive change is occurring in the Basin.


Character and History

Systems of the Charles River

Uses and Perceptions of the Charles River Basin

Principles and Recommendations

Management and Implementation

Project Areas

Historic Charles River Dam

East Cambridge Front

Broad Canal



The Esplanade

Cambridge Esplanade

MIT Houses


Boston University Bridge

Magazine Beach

Allston Landing

Riverside Press Site

Genzyme Front

Harvard Business School

Harvard College Houses

Soldiers Field

John F.Kennedy Park/Longfellow Park

Herter Park

Herter Park West.p

Hell's Half Acre

Greenough Boulevard

GSA Site

Soldiers Field Road/Birmingham Parkway

Greenough Boulevard, Watertown

Squibnocket Park

Watertown Front

Daly Field and the Upper Basin

Nonantum Road

Watertown Dam


Appendix A Prehistory

Appendix B History

Appendix C Public Participation

Appendix D Landscape Maintenance

Appendix E Planting Lists

Appendix F Riverbank Establishment and Maintenance

Appendix G Boathouse Locations


Mystic River Master Plan (2009)

This Master Plan project was initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to build on earlier studies and the improvements to the Reservation completed to date.

Additional Resources

Nantasket Beach Reservation Master Plan (2016)

nantasket beach

The Nantasket Beach Reservation, located on the Atlantic Ocean on the northern shore of southeastern Hull, MA, is owned and operated by the DCR. The 26-acre Reservation encompasses approximately 1.3 miles of beachfront (6,800 linear feet), and includes the beach and adjacent visitor amenities, associated parking areas, and an operations and maintenance facility.

In 2005, in conjunction with a project for seawall and beach accessway repairs at Nantasket Beach, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) initiated this Nantasket Beach Reservation Master Plan for the landside facilities of the Reservation.

Letter from DCR Commissioner Roy - December 2016

Cover - Acknowledgements, Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Additional Resources

Neponset River Master Plan Phase II (2006)

Trailside Master Plan: Blue Hills Reservation (2008)

Upper Charles River Reservation Master Plan (1998)

The Upper Charles River Reservation Project addresses a 5.75 mile section of the Charles River, including 11 miles of protected river banks, from Watertown Square to Commonwealth Avenue in Newton and Weston. It is part of the agency’s larger goal to extend the Charles River greenway 14 miles to Brook Farm in West Roxbury. As this first section of the Reservation greenway is completed, it will provide a critical open-space link between the Charles River Basin and the scenic “Lakes District”, spreading over 190 acres through Newton, Weston, and Waltham.

Key Actions

Additional Resources


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