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CONTACT: Ria Convery, 617-788-1105 or



The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority is pleased to announce an arrangement that

will allow the Town of Natick to utilize a mile-long section of water system land for
preservation and recreation in northeast Natick.

Working with the Town, the MWRA has issued a permit for a total of 16 acres – a potential
additional mile and a quarter of trails - that are beingto be made available to the public
through the permit. Locally, the Natick Conservation Commission announced that pit will
hold a series of public hearings beginning in September to outline possibilities for the trail
system and to get input from the community and from neighbors.

The Cochituate Aqueduct was constructed in the mid-1800s when the Sudbury River was
impounded to form Lake Cochituate as water supply for the City of Boston. The Cochituate
Aqueduct transported water to the Brookline Reservoir, which supplied smaller reservoirs all
over the City.

The Cochituate Aqueduct was removed from the Commonwealth’s active and emergency
back-up water systems in the mid 1950s. Since then, most of the aqueduct lands were
legislatively transferred to other entities. The Town of Wellesley and the City of Newton
already have already developed the Cochituate Aqueduct into open space trails, and the
new Natick section has the potential to link to the existing trail system in those

According to MWRA’s executive director, the agency has no current or future needs for this
land. “Under a similar arrangement, aqueduct lands were conveyed to the City of Newton
several years ago that are now used as part of Newton’s sewer system and as passive,
recreational trails,” said Fred Laskey.

“By providing land for a new trail system next to existing resources at the Department of
Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Cochituate State Park, this innovative repurposing of
former waterworks land aligns with the Patrick-Murray administration’s overall goals and
priorities,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles, who
chairs the MWRA Board of Directors and oversees the DCR. “The partnership that led to
today’s announcement is also exemplary of the type of collaboration among the state and
local governments and organizations that have supported Governor Patrick’s historic
commitment to land conservation – a record-setting effort that has already protected over
61,000 acres of land while creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation in every corner
of the Commonwealth.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Natick will oversee a public input process and undertake
planning, and any future construction and maintenance of trails, and MWRA will provide
access to the land free of charge. The Natick Conservation Commission unanimously
approved the plan at a its meeting on August 12th.
”We are very grateful to the MWRA for making this land available to the community at no
cost, and we will work with neighbors and citizens to protect the land from development
while exploring passive recreation opportunities,” said Matthew Gardner, chair of the Natick
Conservation Commission.” Gardner said the Commission’s next step is outreach to
neighbors and the wider community to get input and ideas.

Natick’s legislative delegation, which includes State Senator Karen Spilka, State Senator
Richard Ross, State Representative David Linsky, and State Representative Alice Peisch,
supported the Town’s application to the MWRA for the permit stating that, “granting the
Town of Natick a permit to use its own resources to create a trail on that property will
protect MWRA’s long-term interests while providing a benefit to a member community that
will ensure proper stewardship of these public lands.”

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