Neponset River Trail: The Biggest New Park You’ll Never Hear About

Thank goodness there are still some local newspapers in this hemisphere. Otherwise, how would you ever find out that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is planning to add 4.5 MILES to the 2.5-mile Neponset River Trail? Here’s what the Quincy’s Patriot Ledger newspaper had to say about it, and two walking tours of the side the DCR ran for residents in late July:

“The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is considering five options for linking the Neponset River Trail and the Neponset Esplanade. The existing 2.5-mile Neponset River Trail now runs between Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester and Central Avenue in Milton. The planned extension to Blue Hill Avenue will open about 7 miles of trail along the Neponset River, connecting Pope John Paul II Park to the Neponset Valley Parkway in Hyde Park.”

Really, the DCR wouldn’t add 4.5 miles of new trail; it would just add in a one-mile link that would connect the trails–or “linear parks,” if you think about their function–making them one giant superpark. And there’s still plenty of debate about exactly where the connecting trail would go, according to the Dorchester Reporter, whether it would need to cross over live MBTA Mattapan-Ashmont trolley tracks, and whether it would run mostly in low-income Mattapan or middle-income Milton. Fans of geographical conundrums can download the DCR presentation with *five* different path options laid out. Decisions need to be made–but the DCR seems serious about helping the community decide and building the path.

The Boston Globe continues to print endless articles about the state of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway while burying proposals for major park construction less than six miles from South Station in the “Milton” section. That’s one reason nobody knows about these places; that’s why I wrote my book.

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