Sudbury Aqueduct Walking Trails


Issue summary

September 26th 2019 WLC Sudbury Aqueduct Trail Meeting -- Joint Area Council event
Since our inception, the WAC has advocated for improvements to the Sudbury Aqueduct trail (especially at the heavily used Stanley/Canterbury Rd. aqueduct crossing). The city needs to “permit” the southern portion of the aqueduct trail (south of the T tracks) in order to do maintenance work, make improvements, and remove the “no trespassing” signs on the trail. 


Issue full description

MWRA Permit (excerpt) See document archives
The City of Newton seeks to formally authorize public pedestrian and bicycle use of the Sudbury Aqueduct portions under the control of the MWRA (see plan on page 4). Residents have benefited greatly from the recreational and commuting benefits of the aqueduct over the years. Walkers, joggers, and commuters have enjoyed and come to rely on these de facto trails. Through this permit process, the City hopes to formalize existing public uses and provide formal connections to other town and state-maintained trails.
Use Plan
  • The City will manage and maintain the Sudbury Aqueduct in its natural, unpaved condition for passive recreation use only. The City requests the following low-impact activities be allowed: walking, jogging, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and bicycling. All users are responsible to assess their own abilities and physical limitations prior to entering the property.
  • Dogs on leashes or under voice command will be permitted. Dog walkers will be required to pick up all dog waste and comply with Newton’s General Bylaw regarding dogs.
  • Activities of high-impact in nature (i.e. motorized bikes, camping, and all other activities not consistent with a walking trail) will remain unauthorized and are specifically prohibited.
  • Any unanticipated activities will be evaluated and reviewed by the Conservation Commission and/or the MWRA and be subject to specific prohibition.
  • The trail will be unobtrusively marked and allowable uses will be posted at each entrance area thanks to the contribution of signs by MAPC.
  • There is no request to use any of the MWRA properties for formalized parking at this time.
Maintenance and Management Plan
The City has a proven track record land management through the Parks and Recreation Department, Conservation Office, and “Friends of” groups throughout the City. The City, through its Parks and Recreation Department, is prepared to assist with maintenance requirements, if any, over and above the routine mowing and maintenance that MWRA has historically conducted and will continue to conduct.
Access Plan
Parking is, and will remain, informal, at street crossings. The City has no plans to improve these road crossings, beyond improved signage and street markings.
Safety and Emergency Response Plan
Newton safety personnel will respond to all emergency incidents per current dispatch protocols and will stay informed about developing safety issues or trends. The City will provide the Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments with the 8(m) permit when issued. Newton Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments will be supplied with copies of the aqueduct trail system, and a data layer of said system will be incorporated into their GIS system. Safety personnel will be made familiar with access points, and
pertinent rules and policies. The goal is to use available public safety resources to keep theses properties as a community asset – safe and free of crime and hazards – that add to the quality of life in Newton.
MWRA Aqueduct Access Trails Logo
The Waban Area Council has discussed the aqueduct at two meetings, and supports the city's moving forward on the permit for the Sudbury. It would give residents an off-road walking alternative through our area, and could connect us via linear park to Needham, Southborough, Natick and Framingham. 
The MWRA has an FAQ as well as online maps.