Mystic River Reservation

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Mystic River Reservation
Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston
ArlingtonMA MysticParkway.jpg
A view of the park and the Mystic Valley Parkway in Arlington
Country United States
State Massachusetts
Counties Middlesex, Suffolk
Cities/Towns Winchester, Arlington,
Medford, Somerville,
Everett, Chelsea
Elevation 10 ft (3 m) [1]
Coordinates 42°24′13″N 71°05′36″W / 42.40361°N 71.09333°W / 42.40361; -71.09333Coordinates: 42°24′13″N 71°05′36″W / 42.40361°N 71.09333°W / 42.40361; -71.09333 [1]
Area 329 acres (133 ha) [2]
Established 1893
Management Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Location in Massachusetts
Website: Mystic River Reservation
A walking path (a dry section of the former Middlesex Canal) near George Shannon Beach in Massachusetts

The Mystic River Reservation is a publicly owned nature preserve located along the Mystic River in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It forms part of the nearly 76-square-mile (200 km2) Mystic River watershed,[3] and runs through the towns of Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea. The reservation includes four waterfront parks—Draw Seven Park in Somerville, Torbert MacDonald Park in Medford, the Mystic Lakes in Winchester, Arlington, and Medford, and Mary O'Malley Waterfront Park in Chelsea—and is open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk.[4] The reservation is maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.


The reservation was established in 1893 by the newly formed Metropolitan Parks Commission (later renamed the Metropolitan District Commission),[5] making it one of the first official nature preserves in Massachusetts, and one of five designed by the commission in that year.[6] Of these five, three were planned as woodland river reservations: the Mystic River Reservation, Charles River Reservation, and Neponset River Reservation.[5] The Mystic River Reservation originally comprised a little over 100 hectares (250 acres) of land.[6] By the early 20th century, most of the land along the Mystic River in Medford, Arlington, and Somerville had become public (i.e. state-owned) land.[3][5]

In 2010, the DCR unveiled a plan for restoring and preserving the reservation, called the Mystic River Master Plan. Proposed projects include a partnership between the DCR and the City of Medford to restore the Condon Shell (an outdoor amphitheater located just outside Medford Square); restoration of the Amelia Earhart Dam basin parklands; and a $3.6 million federally funded link between the reservation, the Minuteman Bikeway, and the Alewife "T" Station.[3] The lower parkland is being redeveloped as part of Assembly Square construction.


  1. ^ a b "Mystic River Reservation". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Mystic River Master Plan" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. November 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Mystic River Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Division of Urban Parks and Recreation History". Department of Conservation and Recreation. Archived from the original on March 10, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b A history and description of the Boston metropolitan parks. Published under the authority of the Metropolitan Park Commissioners by the Board of Paris Exposition Managers. 1900. p. 20. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 

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