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Improvements to Mattahunt Woods

The City of Boston is working on a capital restoration project with site access improvements in Mattahunt Woods.

Mattahunt Woods comprises over six acres of secluded forested wetlands in Mattapan. The site provides important wildlife habitat and native vegetation, and mitigates the impacts of stormwater runoff. Portions of the site are impacted by the dumping of construction debris and automobile parts as well as invasive plants, but there are still healthy plant communities and wetlands. 

  • Project Location
    233-251 Colorado St

    Boston, MA 02126
  • Project Contact

    Catherine McCandless

    catherine.mccandless2@boston.gov

  • Project Information
    • Project Lead: Environment Department, Conservation Commission, Parks Department
    • Project Status: Design
    • Project Budget: $700,000
    • Consultant: Crowley Cottrell Landscape Architecture

Open House #2

The second community open house was held on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, from 6 - 7:30 p.m. During this virtual meeting, the project team shared project updates, presented the final design for the site, collected feedback, and discussed next steps for the remainder of the project. Thank you to those who joined us and shared your feedback! 

Download the presentation:
View the meeting recording:

Project Goals

  • Remove hazardous trees and invasive species and increase native vegetation
  • Preserve and enhance on-site wetlands
  • Create a trail system throughout the property
  • Improve site access and wayfinding/signage
  • Enhance the connection of the property to the nearby Mattahunt Elementary School

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild is located in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston. It is situated to the north of Cummins Highway, south of the Calvary/Mt. Hope Cemetary, west of the Blue Hill Avenue community rail station. The project area is focused on the property shown in red.

mattahuntwoodslocation

The City of Boston manages and takes care of 29 urban wilds across Boston’s neighborhoods comprised of 176 acres. These urban wilds offer natural space for passive recreation and serve as outdoor classrooms for children and adults to learn about nature. They also provide habitat to native plants and animals.

The Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild is owned by the Boston Conservation Commission and maintained by staff from the Parks Department’s Urban Wilds Program. 

Mattahunt Woods is approximately 8 ¼  acres of secluded forested wetlands in Mattapan. 

The Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild was permanently protected in 2008 through a citizen petition.

Urban parks can include both active and passive recreation. Urban parks can include different types of uses, such as playgrounds, athletic fields, public squares, and more. Urban parks can host events and programs, such as fairs, markets, cultural events, music, fitness programs, theater, sports, and more. Urban parks typically include electrical, lighting, plumbing, and irrigation systems.

Urban wilds showcase Boston’s natural features, such as rivers, ponds, woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and rock outcroppings. Urban wilds support plants and wildlife habitats. Urban wilds allow only passive recreation, such as walking, hiking, and nature observation, environmental education, etc. Urban wilds do not include electrical, lighting, plumbing, and irrigation systems.

The scope of this project includes:

  • Remove hazardous trees and invasive species and increase native vegetation;
  • Preserve and enhance on-site wetlands;
  • Create a trail system throughout the property;
  • Improve site access and wayfinding/signage; and
  • Enhance the connection of the property to the nearby Mattahunt Elementary School.

The project is led by the City of Boston Environment Department and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The project team includes staff from the Climate Ready Boston initiative, the Boston Conservation Commission, and the Urban Wilds Program. The project team also includes landscape architects and designers from Crowley Cottrell Landscape Architecture.

The project began in December 2021 and aims to conclude in Fall 2023. Construction will begin in 2024.

mattahunttimeline

Community Outreach:

  • Issue a community survey to collect information and feedback (closed in May 2023).
  • Distribute flyers to residential abutters of the property to advertise community meetings and events. 
  • Post about community meetings and events via the City of Boston’s website, social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), the Environment Department’s newsletter, local newspapers, and the project website.
  • Seek outreach support from:
    • Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services’ Mattapan Liaison;
    • Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council;
    • Mattapan neighborhood associations;
    • Mattahunt Elementary School; and
    • Mattapan residents.
  • Notify City Councilors about community meetings and events.

Community Engagement:

  • Two virtual open houses:
    • Open House #1: May 2nd, 2023
    • Open House #2: to be scheduled for Summer 2023
  • Virtual Office Hours on May 10, 2023
  • Community Site Walk on May 20, 2023
  • Tabling at Mayor Wu’s Mattapan Coffee Hour on June 8, 2023
  • Presentations at neighborhood association and community-based organization meetings upon request.
  • Individual meetings with the project team upon request.

All project materials, such as flyers, social media content, and meeting presentations, are translated into English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. Live interpretation in Spanish and Haitian Creole is provided at the virtual open houses and can be available for other events upon request.

All project materials are uploaded to the project website, including meeting presentations and recordings in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.

Visit the project website at boston.gov/mattahunt or email Catherine McCandless (Project Manager) at catherine.mccandless2@boston.gov or Paul Sutton (Urban Wilds Program Manager) at paul.sutton@boston.gov

Today, portions of Mattahunt Woods contain construction debris, automobile parts, and invasive plants, but there are still healthy plant communities and wetlands. There is a perpendicular trail through the property on Canaan Street and Colorado Street. Site entrances are not clearly marked and there is no signage on the property to direct visitors or provide education.

There are four entrances to the property, as marked with red circles on the map below.

  • Canaan Street East Entry;
  • Canaan Street West Entry;
  • Colorado Street Entry; and
  • Mattahunt Elementary Entry.

mattahuntexistingsiteaccess.PNG

The project will explore adding new entrances at Alabama Street and Itasca Street, as marked with red circles on the map below. The project seeks to create a trail network of gravel pathways and boardwalks connecting all entrances.

mattahuntfuturesiteaccess.PNG

Currently, the project area is not accessible for wheelchairs and walkers. The project will explore opportunities to enhance accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.

Yes, the project will add new signage. This will include informational signage at site entrances about property use rules and educational signage throughout the property specific to the Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild.

The project will explore adding benches to entrances and in appropriate locations within the property. The project will not add lighting since the property is an urban wild and lighting can disturb wildlife. The project will not add trash cans because the City’s policy is that visitors to urban wilds must “carry in and carry out” trash. The project will not add security cameras because urban wilds do not include electrical infrastructure. The project will explore adding bike racks where appropriate.

There are sub-grade sewer and stormwater drain lines located within the Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild and beneath several surrounding roadways. There are no electrical, lighting, plumbing, and irrigation systems within the property.

Members of the community identified many types of wildlife at the Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild, including squirrels, chipmunks, turkeys, coyotes, deer, raccoons, and multiple species of birds.

Urban wilds and wetlands provide many environmental benefits, such as storing floodwater (coastal, riverine, and precipitation-based flooding), filtering stormwater run-off, producing oxygen, improving air quality, and reducing the “urban heat island” effect.” They provide habitat for plants and animals and passive recreation for people to enjoy nature.

Open House #1

The first community open house was held on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, from 6 - 7:30 p.m. During this virtual meeting, the project team shared information about the project. They also presented information about the existing conditions and site opportunities and collected community feedback. Thank you to those who joined us and shared your feedback! 

Download the presentation:
View the meeting recording:

PAST EVENTS

VIRTUAL OFFICE HOURS

Wednesday, May 10, from 12 -1 p.m.

Residents joined City staff on Zoom for virtual office hours to ask questions about the Mattahunt Woods Urban Wild Restoration Project. 

COMMUNITY SITE WALK

Saturday, May 20, from 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Residents joined the project team for a site walk at Mattahunt Woods to learn more about the existing conditions and discuss improvement opportunities. 

MATTAPAN COFFEE HOUR

Thursday, June 8, from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

City staff tabled at Mayor Wu's Mattapan Coffee hour at Hunt Playground/Almont Park to share information about the project and collect feedback. 

Survey (Closed)

We're looking for your input on this project! Take our survey:

Survey in English
Survey in Spanish (Español)
Survey in Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen)
  • Project Location
    233-251 Colorado St

    Boston, MA 02126
  • Project Contact

    Catherine McCandless

    catherine.mccandless2@boston.gov

  • Project Information
    • Project Lead: Environment Department, Conservation Commission, Parks Department
    • Project Status: Design
    • Project Budget: $700,000
    • Consultant: Crowley Cottrell Landscape Architecture
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