Middlesex Fells Planning Unit

Resource Management Plan adopted by the DCR Stewardship Council

The 2,575 acre Middlesex Fells Reservation contains a wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources. Within and surrounded by the communities of Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham and Winchester (total population 182,934) the Fells provides a natural oasis in the urbanized metropolitan region. Born of its geologic, biologic and, most importantly, human history, the Fells is characterized by rocky outcrops, diverse plant communities, mixed woodlands, open meadows, ponds, streams, and wetlands, and is well used by hikers, mountain bikers, dog-walkers, runners skiers and others.

The Middlesex Fells played an important role in the very beginnings of the land conservation movement in the United States. Used for thousands of years by Native Americans as hunting and gathering grounds, tool sources and possibly habitation; the rocky landscape of the Fells region resisted heavy development by European settlers. Although the Fells were cleared, quarried, grazed, settled and in some places developed during the 1700s and 1800s, by the late 1800s the landscape was primarily still in a natural state. The first piece of the Fells to be protected as public open space was Virginia Wood, donated to the newly formed Trustees of Reservations in 1892. The following year, the Massachusetts Legislature established the Metropolitan Parks Commission (MPC), lead by Sylvester Baxter and Charles Eliot, with the authority to “acquire, maintain and make available to the inhabitants of said district open spaces for exercise and recreation.” By 1900, the new commission had acquired 1,881 acres in the Fells. Today, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (an agency created through a merger of the Metropolitan District Commission and the Department of Environmental Management) owns and manages over 2,500 as a part of our mission to “protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources.”

RMP documents

Middlesex Fells Planning Unit RMP
Middlesex Fells Reservation Overview
Topography and Hydrography
Soil Suitability for Paths and Trails
Middlesex Fells Reservation Natural Resources Map
Middlesex Fells Reservation Cultural Resources Map
Survey Respondents
Land Stewardship Zoning (small report size)


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