Neponset River Greenway

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Neponset River Greenway Council news and agendas

Neponset History

Neponset Photos

Neponset Trail Map

Neponset River Masterplan

Crossing Granite Avenue

The Neponset River forms Boston's southern border with Quincy and Milton. Despite its history as an industrial center, only a short distance upstream, many scenic vistas remain.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Division of Urban Parks owns much of the shoreline as the Neponset River Reservation, including an abandoned railway line which has become the ISTEA-funded Neponset Trail, a rail-trail from the mouth of the estuary at Tenean Beach in the Port Norfolk neighborhood of Dorchester, through the Pope John Paul II Park, along a salt marsh, then parallelling the "High Speed Line" trolley toward Mattapan, as part of the Lower Neponset River Masterplan.

Pope John Paul II Park, next to the Southeast Expressway on the estuary of the river, which contains 1/4-mile of the Trail, opened on May 1, 2001. The rest of the trail, downstream to Port Norfolk and upstream to Central Ave. in Milton, had to be cleared of contaminated soil which was found along much of the railroad right of way. Construction went out to bid in April 2001, and bids were received by May 2. Construction started in September 2001, and by January 2002, the trail was paved except for a stretch along the salt marsh. Paving of that segment, with a permeable pavement resembling crushed stone, was completed during the second week of October 2002. The last piece of this segment, a traffic light where the trail crosses Granite Ave., was completed by the fall of 2006.

An extension along the river all the way to the Neponset Valley Parkway in Readville at the southern edge of Boston was completed in 2015 by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. On Earth Day 2008, Governor Patrick announced that construction would soon begin on the "Neponset River Esplanade," from Mattapan Square to Paul's Bridge, the plan for which was completed in June of 2006. The segment from the Martini Shell to Mattapan between the Truman Parkway and the Neponset River ws started in the fall of 2009 and opened in 2012 (see photos).
Here is the latest plan, as of June 15, 2006 as a 1,470,966-byte PDF file.

Another future extension along the harbor almost to Columbia Point, where the Neponset estuary becomes Boston Harbor, would have run from Victory Road in Dorchester to Morrissey Boulevard on an easement between the Boston Gas tank and the Southeast Expressway. It was designed and funding came through in the fall of 2001, but post-9/11 security concerns about the trail being too close to a gas transmission facility cancelled the project for the foreseeable future.

A path along the Mother Brook, a major tributary of the Neponset in Dedham and Hyde Park, has been studied, but is not going to happen soon.

The Neponset River Watershed includes all or portions of the communities of Boston, Canton, Dedham, Dover, Foxboro, Medfield, Milton, Norwood, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, and Westwood.

The Boston Natural Areas Network (formerly the Boston Natural Areas Fund) and The Trust for Public Land had sequential 4-year and 3-year grants to develop community support and a vision for a greenway in support of the MDC's (and now DCR's) ongoing projects. The BNAN continues to work to build public support for a greenway from the mouth of the river in Dorchester, through Mattapan and Milton to Readville, Boston's southernmost neighborhood.


Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Urban Parks Division (DCR):
Project Manager: Cathy Garnett (617)727-9693 x264 (email)
Massachusetts State Police:
Milton Barracks (Trail west of Lower Mills bridge): (617)698-5840
South Boston Barracks (Trail east of Lower Mills bridge): (617)740-7710
From a cell phone anywhere on the trail: *SP
Boston Natural Areas Network: Candice Gomes (617)542-7696 (email)
Neponset River Watershed Association (617)575-0354 (email)
Greenway Council MassBike Representative: Doug Mink (email)

Last updated December 3, 2009