Thousands of Randolph residents live within walking distance of the Blue Hills Reservation, but even some close neighbors don't realize how close they live. That's because there are few signs, no "Welcome to the Blue Hills" announcement, lots of "No Parking" signs and blocked entrances -- all leading Randolph residents to stay out for decades. People from the DCR, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, have never listened to the people of Randolph. And people from Milton and Canton and other wealthy communities treat the Blue Hills like a private park -- but in fact it's a PUBLIC park, and we are part of the public!
How do we fix this? One entrance at a time -- we can add signs and parking places and park entrances ourselves -- this page is the plan. We can grant ourselves access to one of the best recreational resources on the South Shore -- since our wealthy neighbors and the DCR have denied us access for decades. DCR refuses Randolph our fair share of our state park -- but we can work around them!
The Friends of the Blue Hills (FBH) is an advocacy organization that has been working with Councilor Gordon to open up the Randolph sections of the Blue Hills. DCR does listen to FBH -- they prefer organizations to individuals or municipal officials. The FBH has made an arrangement with DCR to maintain the hiking trails in the Blue Hills. FBH has an Adopt-a-Trail program -- Councilor Gordon has adopted the four "spur trails" that border the Deer Park neighborhood in Randolph. The goal is that FBH maintains these entrances on the Blue Hills side, and the Town of Randolph picks up on the town side. We can start with these four entrances, and then move on to more.
Here is how FBH trail maintenance works -- this one is on "Hemlock Road", just north of Turner Drive in Deer Park. FBH provides tools (and volunteers if needed -- it took three of us to move some heavy trees here!). You look around to see what needs doing -- like fallen trees blocking the trail, or growth from the sides blocking the footpath, or water damage that can be remediated -- and you fix it then file a "work report". The FBH has training sessions to teach you the ropes. Here, a tree fell over the trail, knocking down some smaller trees, and we had to saw through several trunks and then drag the pieces off to the side. It took about 20 minutes.
Councilor Gordon "adopted" this set of trails via the Friends of the Blue Hills' Adopt-a-Trail program, so they could be connected to the Randolph neighborhoods and allow access on foot or bicycle.
Here's a map of the four "spur trails" that border Deer Park in Randolph. The points marked 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8 are where trails from the state park meet right-of-way entrances in Randolph. Councilor Gordon will work to clarify what connects to where -- it's not so clear!
POINT 8: This trail is at the westernmost edge of Randolph, right near the Canton border. The trail leads out to Canton Street -- we should add a sidewalk there and then it's within walking distance of Prynne Hills and thousands of residents!
POINT 6 to POINT 7: This "gas pipeline" trail connects Acton Path in the Blue Hills Reservation to Sunset Drive in Randolph's Deer Park neighborhood. It has yellow-and-white "gas pipeline" markers on it; it connects to Randolph at the corner of Connolly Street and Sunset Drive.
POINT 2: This trail isn't on the Blue Hills map -- it parallels the Acton Path and connects at trail marker 5355. I think it's where the electrical wires come in for the AMC huts -- which means the electric company maintains it (and we can use it!)
Video of Electrical wire trail at eastern end of Sunset
POINT 3: The dead end of Barry Road (across Sunset Drive) is a public right-of-way from Randolph into the Blue Hills Reservation. Councilor Gordon proposes to add "Welcome" signs for pedestrians on the Randolph side, and to clear the trail on the Blue Hills side, to allow hundreds of Randolph residents to walk to enjoy the state park.