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)|
|Area||6,195 acres (2,507 ha) |
|Management||Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation|
|Nearest city||Milton, Massachusetts|
|Public transit||MBTA bus 238, 240|
|Website: Blue Hills Reservation|
Blue Hills Reservation is a 6,000-acre (2,400 ha) state park in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, south of Boston. Managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, it covers parts of Milton, Quincy, Braintree, Canton, Randolph, and Dedham.
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. Located approximately ten miles from downtown, the reservation is one of the largest parcels of undeveloped conservation land within the Boston metropolitan area.
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.
The name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts derives from the Native Americans who resided in the hills and who referred to themselves as Massachusett, or "people of the great hills." In 1893, the Metropolitan Parks Commission purchased the lands of Blue Hills Reservation as one of the state's first areas dedicated to public recreation.
Flora and fauna
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, white-tailed deer, coyotes, wild turkey, red fox, turkey vultures, and copperheads.
Points of interest
The highest point within the reservation, Great Blue Hill in Milton, is the site of the historic Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory. The observatory was founded in 1885 and is the oldest continuous weather recording station in the United States. Its tower offers views of Boston and the surrounding area. Both tower and observatory are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
National Register of Historic Places listings
- 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 Clubnn
- The Refreshment Pavilion at Houghton's Pond
Activities and amenities
Blue Hills Reservation is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking. It is also used for snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and cross country skiing during winter, and rock climbing (in certain areas) and horseback riding during permissible months.
Other recreational opportunities include non-motorized boating, camping, fishing, picnicking, playing fields, ice skating, and interpretive programs.
- "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "Blue Hills Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Les Tyrala. "The Hard Truth: The Geology of the Blue Hills" (PDF). Friends of the Blue Hills. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- "History". Blue Hill Observatory. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- "Blue Hills Trailside Museum". MassAudubon. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blue Hills Reservation.|
- Blue Hills Reservation Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Friends of the Blue Hills
- Blue Hill Observatory HazeCam Current panoramic photo from observatory
- Online (mobile compatible) trail map