The Neponset River Greenway Trail is a 13-mile-long, multi-use trail on the Boston and Milton shore of the River.
When completed, the Greenway Trail will extend from the mouth of the Neponset River in Dorchester (Port Norfolk neighborhood) to the Martini Shell in Hyde Park.
Our partnership with the Neponset River Greenway Council and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MassDCR) allows us to help to make improvements to the Neponset River Greenway Trail.
Uniting the communities of Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Milton, the trail connects a series of parks and provides an exciting opportunity to appreciate the outdoors in an otherwise urban area.
Boston to Blue Hills Trail Project
For many years, NepRWA, the Neponset River Greenway Council, and community groups have urged MassDCR to extend the Greenway Trail from its southern endpoint near Paul’s Bridge to the Blue Hills.
After years of advocacy efforts, external funding was secured in 2021 for NepRWA, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), and MassDCR to begin planning this southern Greenway extension. This extension will enable thousands of people to safely walk or bike from Boston to the Blue Hills.
Parks and reservations along the Neponset Greenway Trail include:
- Neponset Reservation
- Dorchester Shores Reservation
- Pope John Paul II Park
- Neponset Park
- Senator Joseph Finnegan Park
- various parcels of marshland, meadow, hills, and more
MassDCR owns much of the shoreline, including the abandoned railway line which was transformed into the Greenway Trail, from the mouth of the Neponset River Estuary through Pope John Paul II Park (paralleling the trolley line), and onward.
Since Pope John Paul II Park opened in 2001, it has been busy with dogs, kids, kites, joggers, walkers, and bikers. The park contains 1/4 mile of the Neponset Trail. The rest of the trail, downstream to Port Norfolk and upstream to the Central Ave. bridge between Milton and Dorchester, had to be cleared of arsenic-contaminated soil. Arsenic was a key ingredient in an herbicide that railroads used until the EPA banned it in 1980.
Signage along the Greenway
While the Neponset River Greenway is fantastic for recreation, it can be challenging to navigate without clear directions to parks, train stops, or major intersections. Advocacy for the installation of wayfinding signage along the trail has been ongoing for several years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NepRWA and the Neponset River Greenway Council collaborated with MassDCR to install phase one of wayfinding signs along the Greenway, providing directions. Our goal is to keep working with MassDCR to add more wayfinding and educational signs about the Neponset River, its ecosystems, and its history.
Harvest River Bridge
Considered to be one of the many gems of the Neponset Watershed, the Greenway section between Mattapan Square and Central Ave is used by thousands of people on a weekly basis.
As the newest section of the Greenway that was completed in 2017, it connects Mattapan and Milton via the beautiful Harvest River Bridge. This section has made the local community increasingly aware of the Neponset River, and has connected people from diverse backgrounds with a common interest in getting outside in their own neighborhoods.
On June 30, 2016, the “Harvest River Bridge,” designed to join the Mattapan portion of the Neponset Greenway to the Milton side, was installed over the Neponset River. This is the second of two bridges recently added to the Greenway, the first being the canopy walk bridge over the Mattapan trolley.
The bridge marks a major milestone in the Neponset River Greenway Trail, which will soon provide a recreational continuous corridor from Fowl Meadow to Boston, and allow the public to enjoy the Neponset as never before.