Save the Silver Maple Forest
Heron at start of Little River
The Belmont Uplands is a 15 acre tract of land at the edge of Belmont, Cambridge and Arlington. Once surrounded by the 'Great Swamp', it includes the "Silver Maple Forest" (see map below), a unique and fragile urban wildlife habitat. The forest and surrounding wetlands serve as natural sponges for a region already prone to flooding. This scenic area along the edge of Little Pond and the Little River is home to diverse species of birds and animals which rely on the uplands as well as the surrounding wetlands for survival.
The mission of the Coalition is to preserve the Belmont Uplands so it can provide water absorption and flood prevention, habitats for many varieties of animals, an outdoor classroom for local youth and an environment in which the largest Silver Maple Forest in the Boston area can thrive.
The Coalition is currently challenging a sprawling housing development with nearly 300 units and 600 parking spaces proposed to lie in the middle of the forest and encroaching on the surrounding wetlands. The mostly upmarket housing development would fragment wildlife corridors and degrade the natural value of the surrounding 120-acre Alewife Reservation. Friends of Alewife Reservation, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and local environmental groups are opposed to the development. It would also adversely affect surrounding neighborhoods by increasing flooding in Little Pond, increasing air and water pollution and increasing traffic congestion as far as the Fresh Pond Rotary.
Expert naturalists, hydrologists, and wetlands scientists supported the 20 faults listed in the Belmont Conservation Commission’s findings against the development. The Coalition and the Belmont Conservation Commission have challenged the development since 2007. In 2010, the DEP issued a decision which completely ignored 4 DAYS of hearings, including extensive cross-examination of the developer's witnesses. The Plaintiffs are taking their case to the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
10/7/12: Coalition's Latest Court Decision Has Statewide Implications
Coalition Appeals DEP and Superior Court, Stands Up For Due Process Rights
New Evidence Brought to Light: ( About the Conservation Commission's separate challenge to Belmont Uplands development )
Flooding Impact Study by Expert Hydrologist Scott Horsley:
Courtesy Friends of Alewife Reservation
Pictures of forest and wildlife
How to Sign Up and/or Volunteer
Articles and Developer Information
Video of recent Forum on Floodplain Forest & Floodway Development is online.
Visit the forest : Parking and Trail map
Help us in our mission to preserve this wonderful local resource.
Little River Nature Walk
Get in touch:
Send us an e-mail: Belmont.Coalition@gmail.com
Boston-area maps. Located 7 miles from downtown, the T-accessible forest is enjoyed by many residents of the area.