Trustees' legacy in Boston
The Trustees of Reservations has been stewarding many of Massachusetts’ scenic, natural and historic assets for over 125 years. Charles Eliot founded the organization in 1891 to benefit the public health of Boston residents by preserving and caring for natural and cultural resources in perpetuity, ensuring that residents and visitors could access the state’s shores, wetlands, forests, mountains, and other special places for respite and recreation. The Trustees is now the largest conservation organization in the Commonwealth, with 116 properties spanning thousands of acres and 75 owned miles of coastline, drawing 125,000 members and two million annual visits.
Though active throughout the state, The Trustees have deep and growing roots in Boston. With the affiliation of the Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN) in 2008, and then merger in 2014, the organization grew its experience and involvement in preservation and expansion of open space in the city. In 1995, BNAN introduced an initiative, Greenways to Boston Harbor, which created the Neponset River Greenway and the East Boston Greenway. This effort leveraged $43 million in public funding for new parklands in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and East Boston. These two greenways now provide miles of walking and biking trails and almost 100 acres of parks in city neighborhoods that are underserved by open space.
Now, The Trustees seek to build on this legacy and usher in a renewed era of open space excellence in the city of Boston. The organization is focusing on the city’s dynamic waterfront, where there remains a lack of compelling public spaces, and where the decline of maritime industry, rise in redevelopment pressure, and looming threat of sea level rise create an urgent need for thoughtful planning and stewardship. If successful, The Trustees and their partners will help create waterfront areas that respond to community needs, attract visitors from around the world, benefit the region’s ecology, and increase the city’s resiliency to climate change.