Public Open Space

The JKR Fund has become an integral part to a public/private partnership with the Town of Belmont and the Land Management Committee (LMC) to assist in the care of 88 acres of public open space on Belmont Hill.  In 2011 this land was formally named Lone Tree Hill: Belmont Conservation Land. See McLean Zone Map.

Formerly owned by McLean Hospital, the land has wonderful and diverse habitats, ranging from hardwood forest and Pine Allee, to meadows and vernal pools. The Town of Belmont is now the steward of this land, but pubic funds are limited for its needed rehabilitation, preservation, and maintenance.

The Fund has provided grant money to help eradicate years of invasive growth so native species can survive and thrive. Ongoing work to revitalize the trail system is also supported by the Fund, and will help to guide visitors in their enjoyment and respect for this habitat. JKR Trustees have worked with the Land Management Committee to develop a new parking lot on Mill Street, information kiosks, and trail signage.  In the fall of 2011 the JKR Fund has a major project underway to rebuild a stretch of stone wall on the Concord Avenue border of the property.

In addition to the 88 acres owned by the Town, McLean Hospital holds title to 30 acres of connected publicly accessible land. These combined 120 acres of public open space are protected under two conservation restrictions (CR) held by The Trustees of Reservations. These 120 acres are managed by the Land Management Committee, an 9-person committee, four of whom represent the Town and four represent McLean Hospital, with TTOR holding the ninth seat.

Adjacent to the open space are 4 acres of new cemetery land. An additional 9 acres currently under the CR could be released for cemetery expansion by a future vote of Town Meeting.

vernal pool on belmont open space

A Vernal Pool is any confined basin or depression not occurring in existing lawns, gardens, landscaped areas, or driveways which, at least in most years, holds water for a minimum of two continuous months during the spring and/or summer, contains at least 200 cubic feet of water at some time during most years, is free of adult (predatory) fish populations, and provides essential breeding and rearing habitat functions for amphibian, reptile, or other vernal pool community species.

“Last Spring, when it was still ‘stick season,’ I loved sitting silently with a seven-year-old on a log the by the vernal pool listening to the peepers. We never could glimpse what was making all the racket.”

– A Grandmother