Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Tuesday announced a policy for public access to open space along aqueducts in 14 communities.
The policy sets forth guidelines for the Cochituate, Sudbury, Weston and Wachusett aqueducts. A press release explains that these aquaducts once supplied water for Greater Boston, but are now used only as emergency back-up resources.
“These aqueducts follow miles of scenic, tree-lined paths across the landscape, which will be a great addition to the open space in these communities,” said MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey in a press release. “This is a model that has been in place at the Weston Reservoir for many years and we’ve recently entered into a similar agreement in Natick. It’s been a very successful program and we look forward to expanding it.”
In the announcement Tuesday, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan and Laskey explained the policy both encourages public access as well as outlines a plan to work "more closely with host communities and non-profits to continue to protect the water supply land."
“This policy is a great example of promoting multiple environmental goals – clean water supply, open space access and connecting people to the outdoors,” said Sullivan in a press release. “We welcome partnerships with local communities to help enhance safety while providing public access to this pristine open space and trail network.”
Communities can petition the MWRA for access to trail section, if they agree to maintain them.
Framingham State Representative Chris Walsh and State Senator Karen Spilka filed bills to grant access to the trails.