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Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
October 22, 2012

Ria Convery, MWRA
(617) 788-1105,

Cherry Manuel, Framingham

Reginald Zimmerman, EEA
(617) 626-1052,

mwra logo  
Framingham Parks and Recreation logo

The Town of Framingham and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Celebrate Start of Aqueduct Trails Program

EOEA Secretary Rick Sullivan speaks at opening celebration for Aqueduct Trails

Massacusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan speaks at the opening day ceremony for the Aqueduct Trails Program

(L-R: MWRA Executive Director Frederick Laskey, EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan, MAPC Deputy Director Joel Barrera, Rep. Chris Walsh, Framingham)

More event photos on Flickr

sign for new trail
Sign for newly opened trail

Fred Laskey and Noel Barrera

MAPC Deputy Director and MWRA Board Member Joel Barrera and MWRA Executive Director Frederick Laskey

First walk on the new trail
First walk on the new trail

Under a new policy announced in May 2012, MWRA is allowing public access on inactive aqueducts in the Metro West area, through partnerships with local communities. This policy makes available over 40 miles of trails for public use along the Sudbury, Weston, Wachusett and Cochituate Aqueducts. 

The first of these permits, between MWRA and the Town of Framingham, has now been finalized and the first section of trail opened today along the Weston Aqueduct.

“This policy is a great example of promoting open space access and connecting people to the outdoors,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “We thank Framingham for partnering with us to help kick off the start of the trail network and look forward to working with other local communities in the future.”

Framingham Selectwomen Laurie Lee, who spearheaded this initiative on behalf of the Board of Selectmen said; “We are grateful to the MWRA Board for adopting their new policy on aqueduct use. The Permit agreement strikes a good balance between the rights of abutting neighbors and providing our residents access to an extraordinary trail system. We are confident this pilot will be the first step in a long and successful relationship with MWRA and will serve as a model for other communities in Massachusetts.”

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has championed this effort and is using a federal Community Transformation Grant, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to provide design and trail planning assistance to municipalities. 

 “As we take down the ‘No Trespassing’ signs and put up signs to welcome the public, we are launching a system of Metro West greenways that will last for hundreds of years. Families will use these trails to enjoy nature and get physical exercise,” said Joel Barrera, Deputy Director of MAPC and one of Governor Deval Patrick’s representatives on the MWRA board of directors. “The small section of the Weston Aqueduct that we are opening today represents a big vision.”

This is the first of what will be a series of openings over the course of the next year as work to create fence openings and street crossings is completed. The full length of the Weston Aqueduct trail in Framingham will be 5.28 miles.

“Thanks to the efforts Senator Spilka, Representative Sannicandro, Representative Walsh and the hard work of everyone in the Town of Framingham, we’ve gotten to this point much faster than anyone thought,” said MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey. “These aqueducts are wonderfully scenic and it will be great to see people out enjoying them,”

Under the permit, MWRA will retain care and control as some of the aqueducts still serve as emergency back-up for the region’s water supply system. Details of the Policy include:

  • Communities will develop emergency response plans and recreational plans
  • Communities will maintain trails, collect trash
  • Passive recreation only allowed (no dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.)
  • MWRA will work with communities on procedures for a water supply emergency

The aqueducts also run through the communities of Berlin, Boston, Clinton, Marlborough, Natick, Needham, Newton, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Wayland, Wellesley, and Weston. MWRA has reached out to all of the eligible communities and several have submitted permit applications.

For more information on the policy, please visit:


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Posted October 22, 2012