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Boston Urban Wilds Program

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Urban wilds form an essential part of the City’s open space system. They play a key role in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Vast salt marshes once covered most of East Boston and the Dorchester shoreline, meadows dotted the hilltops of Roxbury, and pristine streams coursed through the forests of Hyde Park and West Roxbury. Although almost all significant portions of these habitats have been lost due to extensive human-induced manipulation of land and water, remnants of these original ecosystems — urban wilds — still dot the landscape and provide brief glimpses of the natural world.

BENEFITS OF URBAN WILDS

These urban wilds harbor native plants and animals and perform a wealth of ecological services, such as:

  • storing floodwater
  • producing oxygen
  • reducing the “urban heat island” effect, and
  • filtering stormwater run-off.


They offer refuge from hectic City streets and serve as outdoor classrooms for children and adults learning about nature. They also expand the range of landscape experiences beyond that of the dense built environment and manicured Boston parkland.

THE GOALS OF THE URBAN WILDS INITIATIVE ARE TO:

  • protect City-owned urban wilds and other natural areas from development, encroachment, and uses that degrade their natural character
  • manage and maintain city-owned urban wilds and other natural areas to promote their ecological integrity
  • promote the use of city-owned urban wilds and other natural areas for conservation, passive recreation, environmental education, and other uses in keeping with their natural character
  • develop administrative, fiscal, and programmatic resources to ensure on-going, long-term maintenance and management of city-owned urban wilds and other natural areas, and
  • advocate for the long-term protection and stewardship of other (non-City) publicly- and privately-owned urban wilds and other natural areas.

Learn more about the initiative and find a list of the Boston Urban Wilds by neighborhood at the Boston Parks and Recreation Website.