The Open Space Committee (OSC) is a volunteer committee appointed by the Town Manager, with approval by the Select Board. The OSC is responsible for preparing and monitoring the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, and the updated Plan for 2015-2022 is posted on this page.
The Open Space Committee hopes you will enjoy using all of the following maps and related resources to explore our town and its many large and small parks and conservation lands, walkable neighborhoods, and amazing variety of flora and fauna in diverse habitats, from Spy Pond to Arlington's Great Meadows, to the rocky outcrops of Turkey Hill and Mt. Gilboa. Please remember to wear a mask and practice six-foot social distancing while those Covid-19 guidelines are in effect.
Take A Walk
Welcome to Arlington's Take A Walk project. To encourage residents to get outside and walk to Arlington's diverse parks and recreational facilities, the Open Space Committee has developed a set of seven suggested and overlapping walking routes across town. The maps indicate safe walking distances linking open spaces, conservation lands, playing fields, playgrounds, and other points of interest.
A town-wide map shows all seven routes, or you can download or print any of the neighborhood maps - East Arlington North, East Arlington South, Arlington Center South, Arlington Heights South, Arlington Heights North, Arlington Center North, and Arlington Center Central.
A separate, complementary walking initiative developed by Arlington resident George Stephans offers a route that follows the town's boundaries. He was initially inspired by suggestions to honor Marathon Monday on April 20 by doing a special running/walking event with some charity component. This idea expanded to consider routes that avoid heavy traffic areas such as the bike path and Mass Ave. As it turns out, one can travel very close to the entire Arlington border on roads that are reasonably safe for walking or running and typically are not very busy. His Circumnavigate Arlington main page (tinyurl.com/CircumnavigateArlington) explains this project and has links to the other information and several maps.
Walking the Open Spaces of Arlington, Massachusetts
To supplement current information about walking around the Town's open spaces, this pdf version of a 1994 book provides a fascinating narrative and illustrated guide to the town's natural resources 25 years ago. The book was written and designed by Adaela Klapper McLaughlin, with illustrations by Laura Rallis, and was published by the Arlington Conservation Commission. Hard copies are no longer available, except in town and private libraries. Original publication of this book was made possible by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management Greenways Grants Program in 1994.
Mill Brook Rediscovered
In conjunction with the exhibit "A Brook Runs Through It: Arlington's Mill Brook Legacy", Arlington resident Glenn Litton wrote, directed, and produced a short video "Mill Brook Rediscovered". The exhibit was organized by and shown at the Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington Heights between September 2018 and June 2019. The exhibit and video document nearly 400 years of activity along the brook, from the first water-powered grist mill at what is now Cooke's Hollow through centuries of changing land uses to a look at the corridor today.
An adapted version of the exhibit will be shown in the Town Hall Gallery, second floor, during the spring of 2020. Dates will be announced prior to the opening.
Experiencing Arlington's Open Spaces
This application presents an interactive inventory of Arlington's open spaces. It is intended to work in concert with the 2015 - 2022 Open Space and Recreation Plan. Arlington's natural environment is a precious and limited resource that has been difficult to acquire and maintain, and it needs to be protected ardently. Get acquainted with Arlington's open spaces through this application so you can go out and explore these places for yourself.
ACMi Interviews Open Space Committee Members
As part of its series, "Million Dollar Gift," ACMi's James Milan interviewed three members of the Open Space Committee in a set of half-hour videos. The series celebrates and quantifies the contribution of volunteers on Arlington's committees and their impact on the community. Milan also interviewed John Ellis of the Tree Committee. View all four videos.
In Part 1 Ann LeRoyer, chair of the Arlington Open Space Committee, describes the work of the committee as one of many groups concerned about local open space and recreational resources. She explains the role of the Open Space and Recreation Plan, currently covering the years 2015-2022, as a policy and planning document for the Town.
Part 2 focuses on John Pickle, a scientist, educator, and member of the Open Space Committee, who founded a unique program called Picture Post, whereby citizens can take pictures at designated locations as a way to track natural changes over time. John has installed several posts, with instructions, at sites around Menotomy Rocks Park and the Arlington Reservoir, and expects to posts at other locations in the future.
Part 3 features Kelsey Cowen and a discussion of the Committee's Take A Walk project, a relatively new effort to create safe and comfortable walking routes linking open spaces and other interesting sites all around town. The first routes focused on East Arlington, and other routes are being expanded through all neighborhoods. Watch for additional maps to be posted on this website.
Picture Post was founded in 2004 in Arlington by John Pickle and other members of the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park. Picture Post is now part of Digital Earth Watch (DEW), a citizen science initiative developed with support from NASA to create opportunities for people to collaborate on environmental monitoring projects by sharing digital photographs from Picture Post sites. The database is housed at the University of New Hampshire.
Take your digital camera or phone when you walk around Menotomy Rocks Park and the Arlington Reservoir, find the posts, and follow the instructions attached to them. Watch for announcements of additional locations planned for Spy Pond Park, the Minuteman Bikeway, and other sites. If you want to help with the installation of additional posts, or for more information, contact John Pickle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Photographing Changes Around Arlington Reservoir, by John Pickle
Picture Post September 2017 Newsletter, featuring Picture Post and Co-founder John Pickle recounts the beginning and how Picture Posts help shape his view of environmental change.
Voted at Town Meeting April 22, 1996: That the Open Space Committee be appointed by the Town Manager subject to the approval of the Select Board. Selection of members shall be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Arlington Open Space Committee and Recreation Plan. The Open Space Committee shall recommend to each future Town Meeting the goals and objectives in Section 8 and implement the Action Plans proposed in Section 9 of the Open Space and Recreation Plan as well as such other action plans as the committee shall from time to time propose to Town Meeting.
Committee members include representatives of the Park and Recreation Commission, Conservation Commission, Arlington Redevelopment Board, Vision 2020, and Department of Public Works, as well as several interested citizens. The committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm in the Town Hall Annex.
Contact: Emily Sullivan, Environmental Planner/Conservation Agent, Department of Planning & Community Development, 781-316-3012