April 22, 2020
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In a normal year, we would be working with many of you in person out in the Fells on conservation projects and stewardship activities to celebrate this day and give back to the Fells. But as you know, these activities just aren’t possible right now. We miss these opportunities for meeting and working with other lovers of the Fells, and look forward to the moment that we can again care for the legacy left by forward-thinking advocates over 125 years ago.
If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is how important open and natural space is for those of us that live in the Boston area’s urban environment. While the immediate attention of our elected officials and public servants is necessarily fully focused on stemming the spread of the virus, whenever possible we need to remind our officials how important the Fells is to this community. The Fells is as essential now as it was in the 1890’s, and we need to harness the persistent spirit of those original activists and naturalists to advocate for the resources–dollars–needed to protect the Fells for the future. When the time is right, we will certainly be leading the charge for that.
In the meantime…
- Take part in our My Fells Community Expression project by creating a one minute (or less) piece expressing your connection to the Fells.
- Volunteer with us. We have opportunities for those that would like to work alone or collaborate at a distance with others. We’re organizing projects in the field, but also could use help with photography, videography, programming, web design and app development, organizing advocacy efforts, and others. Please contact Jesse MacDonald to find the best opportunity for you.
- You can join our partner Earthwise Aware (EWA) in the 2020 City Nature Celebration from April 24-April 27.
“My Fells” Community Expression Project
Jeff Buxbaum, Chair
I’ve been coming to the Fells regularly for 11 years now, since moving to Medford. I like to hike or walk at least a few times a week, sometimes stopping for a few moments to enjoy a scenic vista, listen to a bird, look closely at a flower or fungus, or smell the forest smells. But always walking.
This past Sunday, I did something different. I took my usual walk, but found a quiet spot to sit and watch for 15 minutes. As I sat, I watched birds overhead and the water from a vernal pool rippling. People walked by, in groups, by themselves, with dogs, or on bicycles. My experience of the Fells was different this past Sunday, but I also realized that other people experience the Fells differently from the way I do.
Tell us how YOU experience the Fells!
In one minute or less, using whatever media you like, share your own version of My Fells with us. Use photos, video, poetry, prose. Post it to your choice of a YouTube or Vimeo account, Facebook page, blog, website, online photo album, Google Drive or Dropbox folder and send us a link.
We’ll share the link on a special page on our website, and promote the page in our e-mail blasts and social media accounts. This is not a contest — just a way for us to share our shared love for the Fells.
Come back in a month and do it again. The Fells changes over the season. How does your relationship with the Fells change?
Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE 05/20: The first submissions to the ‘My Fells’ project are in! Check out our recent update blog post to view these creative and inspiring pieces!
UPDATE: Fells Parking and Road Closures
As of 6/01/20, all parking lots in the Middlesex Fells are now reopened, and are accessible as normal.
No weekend road closures (for pedestrian usage) are currently scheduled.
Access is subject to change without prior notice.
Please be advised that any illegally parked vehicles around state parks are subject to ticketing and towing.
We’ll keep you updated as we receive any additional Fells-related notifications from DCR.
Forever the People’s Forest Park
In 1894, Medford’s George Davenport greeted the Fells becoming “a great natural park” with these words:
“For here we have a succession of well clad rocky hills, rising and falling like the billows of a great sea, within whose hollow troughs lie hidden pleasant vales, ponds, cascades, ferny brooks, sylvan retreats, wild swamps and fragrant groves.”
Elizur Wright’s experience of this wild rugged landscape inspired him to agitate in newspaper articles, pamphlets and speeches for the Fells to become “devoted to forest culture and preservation, science, education and rational recreation,” meanwhile forging alliances with others who shared this vision.
In 1892, journalist and city planner Sylvester Baxter and landscape architect Charles Eliot were appointed by the Metropolitan Park Commission to begin laying out the boundaries for the Commonwealth’s new park system. Eliot wrote these famous words:
“The life history of humanity has proved nothing more clearly than that crowded populations, if they would live in health and happiness, must have space for air, for light, for exercise, for rest, and for the enjoyment of that peaceful beauty of nature…”
Today the Fells endures as a destination where visitors can relish the peace and beauty of nature in the midst of exceptional protected landscape. In 2018 Harvard Magazine featured the Middlesex Fells Reservation in its Explorations & Curiosities section.
Special features at the Fells include Bellevue Pond, Wright’s Tower, Lawrence Woods, Spot Pond, and over 100 miles of trails. Virginia Wood, the site of a vanished mill village called “Haywardville”, features a self-guided interpretive history trail. Lawrence Woods is an area of the Fells south of South Border Road with many wide “fire roads”, views and vernal pools. The Long Pond parking area offers access from Winchester to a nature trail and scenic areas. The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Fells headquarters is located on the shore of Spot Pond at 4 Woodland Road, Stoneham, and houses the Middlesex Fells Visitor Center.
The Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation is dedicated to the protection and harmonious use of the Fells, promoting awareness, policies and programs which honor and preserve the landscape and heritage of this public resource for current and future generations.
1. Instill awareness and appreciation of the Fells as a valuable natural and historical resource which will foster a sense of stewardship within the larger community.
2. Develop programs for recreation, enjoyment, and study of the Fells which are harmonious with landscape and habitat.
3. In cooperation with others, develop and advocate for policies designed to preserve and protect the Fells Reservation.
The Fells is the People’s forest park, and the Friends of the Fells strives to make sure there are programs and opportunities that will fit with the way anyone wants to enjoy what the Fells has to offer. Information about our diverse array of programs and events can be found throughout the pages of this site. Some of our most popular programming includes:
Nothing from June 5, 2020 to June 10, 2020.
View our full calendar of Programs and Events
Sign Up for our E-Newsletter
View the Latest from Our NEW Youtube Channel
How Do I Join The Friends?
We are thrilled that you want to know more about joining the Friends of the Fells. Membership in the Friends comes with some great benefits to you, and helps to support our activities and programs for everyone. To join, simply visit our Membership Information page and choose the membership option that’s right for you. You can pay your dues online with a credit card, and your membership packet will be headed your way in no time!
How Can I Volunteer My Time?
We are always on the lookout for those like ourselves who want to give their time and energy to the important cause of preserving our natural landscape for future generations. Whether you want to volunteer one-time or on an on-going basis, and whether you want to get your hands dirty or do your part from indoors, we have a volunteer opportunity waiting for you. Just head over to our Volunteer Opportunities page to find out more.
How Can I Make A Donation?
The Friends of the Fells could not exist with the generous support of our donors. There are many ways to make a contribution, and if you want to help us, we want to help you find the right one. One our Donate page, you can contribute online using your credit card. You will also find information about including the Friends in your will, contributing to our endowment fund, and other ways your support can help.
Can I Write Off My Donation On My Taxes?
The Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which means that your donation to the Friends is tax-deductible. If you want to make your contribution go even further, make sure to check with your employer’s Human Resources Department to see if they will match your gift! Our EIN is 22-3278797.