Blue Hills Reservation
|Blue Hills Reservation|
|Massachusetts State Park|
Ponkapoag Pond, with Great Blue Hill visible in the background
|Location||695 Hillside St, Milton HQ|
|- elevation||635 ft (194 m)|
|Managed by||Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation|
|Nearest city||Milton, Massachusetts|
|Public transit||MBTA bus 238, 240|
|Website : Blue Hills Res. (DCR)|
Blue Hills Reservation is a state park in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, it extends into Milton, Quincy, Braintree, Canton, Randolph, and Dedham south of Boston.
Blue Hills Reservation is a 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) park primarily used for hiking and mountain biking. It is also used for both downhill skiing and cross country skiing during winter, and rock climbing (in certain areas) and horseback riding during permissible months.
The park's varied terrain and scenic views, in combination with its proximity to Boston, make it a popular destination for hikers from the metropolitan area. The highest point within the reservation, Great Blue Hill in Milton, is the site of a historic weather observatory whose tower offers views of Boston and the surrounding area.
The ecology of the Blue Hills is diverse and includes marshes, swamps, upland and bottomland forests, meadows, and an Atlantic White Cedar bog. A number of endangered species in Massachusetts, such as the Timber Rattlesnake, reside in the reservation. Other flora and fauna include dogwood, lady's slipper, coyotes, turkey vultures, and copperheads.
Blue Hills Trailside Museum
The reservation has affiliations with the Massachusetts Audubon Society (named for the famous ornithologist, John James Audubon). It includes the Blue Hills Trailside Museum, which includes indoor and outdoor animal exhibits. The Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, atop Great Blue Hill, was founded in 1885, and is the oldest continuous weather recording station in the United States.
The Blue Hills were so named by early European explorers who, while sailing along the coastline, noticed the bluish hue on the slopes when viewed from a distance. The blueish color comes from the presence of Riebeckite in the stone
More than ten thousand years before the Europeans arrived, Native Americans made their home in the hills. The natives referred to themselves as Massachusett, or "people of the great hills". The Commonwealth of Massachusetts derives its name from this Native American name.
In 1893, the Metropolitan Parks Commission purchased the lands of Blue Hills Reservation as one of the first areas set aside for public recreation. Today, the reservation is rich in both archaeological and historic resources.
- Boating (non-motorized)
- Educational/interpretive programs
- Horseback riding trails
- Ice skating
- Mountain biking
- Playing fields
- Rock climbing
- Skiing, cross-country and downhill
National Register of Historic Places listings
The Reservation has 13 National Register sites:
- The Park Headquarters
- Blue Hills Reservation Parkways, throughout the park
- Brookwood Farm and its Old Barn
- Chickatawbut Observation Tower
- The Comfort Station on Blue Hill Avenue
- Eliot Memorial Bridge near the top of Great Blue Hill
- Great Blue Hill Observation Tower near the top of Great Blue Hill
- Great Blue Hill Weather Observatory at the top of Great Blue Hill
- Massachusetts Hornfels-Braintree Slate Quarry, an archeological site
- The MDC Police stable
- Ponkapoag Camp of Appalachian Mountain Club
- The Refreshment Pavilion at Houghton's Pond
- Tyrala, Les, "The Hard Truth: The Geology of the Blue Hills"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blue Hills Reservation.|
- The Blue Hills Reservation - DCR website
- Great Blue Hill HazeCam Current Panoramic Photo from Observatory
- Blue Hill Observatory - Meteorological Observatory Official Site
- Blue Hills Trailside Museum - The Massachusetts Audubon Society
- Friends of the Blue Hills, a community preservation group