What do you think about a proposal for zip lines in Quincy Quarries?

What do you think about a proposal to build a ‘canopy tour’ at the portion of the Reservation called Quincy Quarries.  Would you like to be strapped into a harness with your friends or family and glide on zip lines (wire cords) over the Quarries?   Would a guided zip line tour encourage you to learn more about the Quarries’ history and enjoy this portion of the park more?
Or do you already frequent Quincy Quarries, either for climbing, hiking or picnicking.  The developer says it would not build platforms or zip lines that would interfere with climbing or existing activities.

Here’s the zip line proposal and here’s a layout of Quincy Quarries with possible zip line locations.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below or on our FaceBook page.


93 Responses to “What do you think about a proposal for zip lines in Quincy Quarries?”

  1. Atom Saverse says:

    I think a zip-line would be great. As a Boy Scouter and father of 4, it would be nice to be able to drive to a location in my back yard to enjoy this type of activity versus having to drive up to New Hampshire.

  2. Gerald Friedler says:

    I think it would enhance the use of and exposure to the park. My hesitation would be that it be done within the environment.

  3. Robert Ellis says:

    As a kid who grew up in one of the city’s housing projects, I can still remember the impact of seeing for myself what a forest is supposed to look like when I first visited the Blue Hills. I was a Scout from a local Boy Scout troop, and stayed at Camp Sayre.
    At the time, the Blue Hills seemed infinite in its span, and even now, I always marvel at things that I discover along the trail.
    As to a Zip Line being provided at the Quincy Quarries, I am from the “more is less” school, and believe that such an entity would introduce an element which may be regretted later; not to mention the risk management issues.
    The general area of the Blue Hills is being encroached upon decade by decade, and suddenly the landscape doesn’t seem so large anymore.
    I think that it may sound like a great idea at first, but this isn’t Disney and leaving well-enough alone is enough for me.

  4. Steve Cobble says:

    Given the grand scope of this project, I think it would be better placed at the ski area. It would be an off-season no-brainer for the ski area management. And it would be better monitored. I don’t see adding wires and bridges over the open areas at the quarries as enhancing the beauty of the skyline. I also think it would be abused at this site, as the police and the DCR can’t even prevent the tagging and underage drinking parties that go on there.

    • Ken Jones says:

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your response and sharing your thoughts. We will continue to stay on top of this proposal and keep you updated with any new developments that come our way.

    • When will people learn to leave a beautiful thing alone? This reservation should be a spot for ALL to enjoy, just as it is. Developers are not needed. We already have a wonderful family area. LEAVE IT ALONE.

  5. Neil Nager says:

    a big NO to this. leave the blue hills as close to wild and natural as possible

  6. Jackie Wilbur says:

    This looks like a solidly thought through proposal and quite appropriate for the site. I would not put it on the ski slopes as others have mentioned, that area is already over-trafficked and over crowded.

    One concern that was not addressed (and is a growing concern in The Hills) is trash and debris removal. I didn’t see a rubbish disposal plan for the welcome center or trails. Increased usage brings increased trash, unfortunately.

  7. Kim says:

    I think it’s a great idea, not only for the warm weather months but also in the winter. There’s one in NH by Loon Mountain and it’s a blast!!

  8. Dianne Wells says:

    This sounds like a great idea. Zip lining is amazing and it would be a good thing to have lines so close to home. As long as the project is environmentally friendly,I see no problem with it.

  9. Margaret says:

    I have to agree with Steve. Although, I want to discourage any kind of high tech recreational project from operating in the BH.
    Let nature be. We don’t have much of it anywhere close to Boston.

  10. Walt Granda says:

    I agree with the previous person. I don’t favor zip lines in the Blue Hills but if one is to be installed the ski area would be the best location

  11. Wow, quite a range of responses. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts!

  12. D. Kabatchnick says:

    The Quincy Quarries site, though possessing historic value, has already been (and continues to be) degraded through neglect. Basically, my position is that the Blue Hills shouldn’t be allowed to become an amusement park.
    So my immediate reaction would be, well, if we HAVE to have this, the quarries might be an appropriate place. However, as Steve Cobble notes, the scope of the project is something that must be considered. And the suggestion that the ski area might be more appropriate seems, on the surface, to be a reasonable idea.
    But, as with any sort of development — whether it has outdoorsy connotations or not — the impact is never confined within the perimeter of the project. The ski area, restricted as it is when there’s snow on the ground, might become a restricted area throughout the year — paying customers only. That wouldn’t be acceptable. Nor would intrusion/construction by the zip line installation into areas not currently utilized by the ski area. Adding wires and bridges wouldn’t add anything of aesthetic value there either, and areas immediately bordering the ski area, though not unaffected, are relatively undisturbed by current activities. Such might not be the case with the zip line enterprise. This is merely another case of a commercial interest just itching to find way to exploit the Blue Hills.

  13. jay mcdermott says:

    The Zipline is a great idea! they are fun and will help people aprreciate the beauty of the area. with that appreciation, I suspect there will be greater energy to preserve what is there. Devil is in the details, but the development of an “eco friendly” activity would only help.

  14. Nancy Lattanzio says:

    I think it could be a great addition to the reservation,and would like to hear more specifics from the developer about how they would manage safety issues, construction and environmental impact. If those questions can be answered well it could be good. FOBH must have some data on the i;mpact of biking on the reservation –those kinds of impacts should be considered here too.

  15. Elizabeth Stacey says:

    It’s fine with me if it’s in the Quarry area only & the operator is experienced with an excellent safety record

  16. Ryan says:

    No bolting, No zip-lines.
    Thank you for sharing this information with the community. I believe in protecting what valuable climbing areas we have in Boston. I know AMC Boston Mountaineering Committee, along with the MDC and the Access Fund, contributed greatly to the recent clean-up efforts developing a unique natural urban climbing setting. I like the focus on Blue Hills ski-area perfect location conveniently off 128 with parking and lift access.

  17. Liz ORourke says:

    I think the Blue Hill Ski area would be a good site.

  18. Tom P. says:

    There is no “developer” I know of who is a friend of nature and natural things.
    I have done some zip lining in west virginia through an area that is rarely traversed by people so I suspect that the lines and reguired infrastructure imposed on no one.
    The installations are substantial and definitely not temporary in nature. They included a building where the equipment is (harnesses, gloves, etc for customers)kept, space is provided for conducting business, a place for the “guides” to hang out, toilet facilities. The trees utilized were 70-80 foot trees and had platforms built around them about 40-50 feet up to hold the customers and guides. The cables are very strong and heavy and securely attached to the trees in a way that probably does little damage to the tree. The same for the suspension bridges one needed to traverse occasionally to get back up to a higher elevation in order to continue the zip lining. I was impressed with the physical integrity of the system; it was beefy. It was very safe and required little skill on the part of the participants.
    I’m telling you all this because I suspect that most who are reading your blog don’t really know just what it takes to set up and run an operation of this sort. Did I mention the shuttle bus to get you back to where you started.
    The Quincy Quarries are probably the least appropriate location for this kind of operation. Commercial interests are always and persistantly trying to get at any open (undevoped but potentially developable)area and it works like a ratchet wrench; once you’ve moved to a new position, you never go back. What was is gone forever.
    So- I suspect you’ve guessed by now, I say NEVER – NEVER – NEVER!

  19. Jim Briand says:

    It seems suitable as long as it does not permanently disfigure the park. To me it is a mechanical device for enjoyment of the park in the same way mountain bikes are and for that matter ski lifts. Although it might be nice for many to have the park as a hiking preserve, the mission of the park includes outdoor recreation in general and bikes, skis and zip lines contribute to that broader recreational mission.

  20. Elle says:

    The park is rather small, and I hesitate to say yes right away for that reason.
    I used a zip line once; I felt I was jumping to my death, but once I was moving along, it was really quite thrilling. It was part of an eco-tour in Mexico. We followed a trail much like those in the Blue Hills, and when we came to a gorge, used the zip line to cross. Its presence there was unobtrusive and logical.
    If one here could be done in a similar way, it wouldn’t be bad: No advertising in the park, no outside companies involved, 100% of proceeds to benefit the park, no concession stands, etc. If there must be structures, no material other than natural stone & wood.

  21. Karen Merkl says:

    Please, no zip line, for all the reasons already mentioned above – ugh.

  22. Anne Ladd says:

    “Arborisme” has really taken off in Europe. It sounds like fun and a great view.

  23. John Berg says:

    This proposal sounds more suitable for an amusement park than for a real park. It would cover a huge area with cables and ropes, eliminating any feeling of nature for those wanting to walk there. I don’t know if it would work on the ski slope or not – but I’m really opposed to further commercial development within the boundaries of the Blue Hills.

    Also, despite it’s being pitched as just the opposite, the via ferrata concept goes against the modern ethic of climbing, which is that it should be done without damaging the rock.

  24. Rachel Wood says:

    So far, I don’t get a clear picture of what this eco-adventure would cost. I know I have heard that these things usually cost well over a hundred dollars for one person. So who are we anticipating will be the beneficiaries of this? Clearly the proposal is for a for-profit company. Some of the financial arrangements need to be fleshed out. How will this benefit the Blue Hills and the general population served by this wonderful park resource? What kind of overseeing will be involved for the representatives of the park?
    There is also no mention of an upper age limit. Is this kind of activity appropriate for senior citizens?
    The idea of an exciting adventure which will get people outdoors sounds good, and perhaps it will develop character as well. But will the cost be prohibitive for the average person?
    Is the food concession necessary?

    • Tom P. says:

      The price I paid was just short of $100. It is suitable for seniors but probably not all; it would depend on the seniors physical condition. The physical exam they gave us prior to starting was raising our hands over our heads; anyone who could passed.

  25. John T. says:

    I would not use a zipline. I snowboard at the ski area and would be concerned about even the ski area becoming too commercialized. I don’t want to be a killjoy but I want the Blue Hills to stay as much in its natural state as possible.

  26. john Schaechter says:

    I agree with Steve Cobble. On top of it The quarries is a popular rock climbing spot. It could interfere with the established climbs depending how they set it up.I would have to see the plan. So far I am leaning against it. The ski slope might be a better spot but they will need to study it.

  27. Bob Flagg says:

    I think the plan could work if done right. The Quarries makes sense if they will help to educate people of the history while giving people an opportunity to see this section of the reservation. The plan is still in its infancy and I’d like to see more details how it will impact the current user experience. This is an important climbing location and it should be done in a way not adversely impact this use. I would have some concerns about lighting and night time security. The location is isolated and there is a strong possibility it could attract activity at night. Since this is a for profit vendor, I would be interested to see how it could bring some financial support to the reservation. Looking forward to a more formalized plan to better understand the impact.

  28. Roz says:

    I agree with some of the other bloggers that it would be better off-season at the ski slope where the zip line would not interfere with any of the natural surroundings we enjoy so much. Don’t fool with nature we are so proud to have that area to enjoy.

  29. Chris Link says:

    Only if it results in an economic windfall to the park sufficient to protect/restore other areas.

  30. Rob says:

    Worthwhile idea that needs to move forward. It reflects current recreational trends that demand more than a swing set. The opportunity to charge a small fee for use will allow DCR to pay for its operation, maintenance, and insurance without burdening the overall tax paying public. The Blue Hills Reservation is big enough to offer both passive and active recreational opportunities. The Blue Hills is the largest protected open space area in Metro Boston and any invenstment made to what it offers benefits the whole region.

  31. Greg says:

    Absolutely in favor of this idea. This is a very popular, minimal environmental-impact activity throughout Costa Rica which many family members have enjoyed. The more people we can bring to the Blue Hills Reservation to admire its beauty, partake of its various offerings (including this) and (hopefully) become stewards in its protection, the better. Increased foot traffic on the neponset river path as more have moved into the Lower Mills area has resulted in decreased graffiti and has not resulted in any more littering, abuse of the natural environment, etc. And the underground storage tank project on Chickatawbut Hill (which so many opposed) has actually turned out ok, in my opinion, with little impact on the natural beauty of the area.

    This could be a really great opportunity to bring outsiders into the area to recognize the value and beauty of the Blue Hills.

    I do agree, that any private, for-profit developer must be held to high standards and make a commitment to either financial or physical (or both) stewardship of the Blue Hills.

  32. vin says:

    This is a great idea for use of land and getting families out and about in Nature. I’ve been involved with these type of activities with the schools and children love the elements. People are driving North to experience this , so why not here? Good Luck, I hope this becomes a reality.

  33. Rich says:

    I like the idea of a zip line, it would be good for increasing visitors. I would just be concerned about cost, who is paying the cost, and enviromental impact such as waste disposal. I think the ski area is crowded enough as it is during both seasons with the summer day-hikers.

  34. Deb says:

    GREAT IDEA! We don’t have any zip lines around here (at least that I am aware of), so as a result people travel to NH. Keep the economic benefits at home and put it in here. It would create additional tourism and the proceeds can benefit the rest of the park.

  35. Bongo says:

    This is a great idea.

    I think the installation of a canopy tour would create jobs, increase the use of the park and provide the ability to see the city from a new point of view. I also think it can be installed with minimal impact to the environment and forrest in the area.

    If you are apposed because of preservation of the land well then you are too late. There is already a golf course up there and further exposure of the park will increase foot traffic in the park and reduce the amount of kids getting wasted up there at night.

    • Tom P. says:

      Its starting to sound like some of you are responding to the same blurb from somewhere. It sound VERY pro zip lines in the Blue Hills. Where do I have to go to read this?

  36. jjt034 says:

    I think it is a great idea!
    It would promote the Blue Hills and generate some tourism revenue as well.
    Some additional training and equipment might be needed for some local fire departments just in case but I think it would be a win for the area in the long run.

    To the people (NIMBY’s) here complaining about the “impact” or “commercialization” of the Blue Hills… HUMBUG!
    Have you ever actually zip lined before?
    Go visit some of the places in New Hampshire that do it and you will see minimal impact and little commercialization.
    Yes, most are located and operated on or near ski areas but if done right and Blue Hills makes it part of a hike and/or canopy tour, the zip lines would be miles from anything remotely commercial, residential, or otherwise.

    BTW, zip lining is fun!!!

  37. Dennis says:

    A zipline would be fantastic! What a terrific enhancement to what the Blue Hills offers for activities. My family and I would definitely take advantage of this added feature.

  38. John Groezinger says:


  39. Mike T says:

    There are hikes done in this part of the Blue Hills by both AMC and Blue Hills Meetup groups that would be affected by this development. This area of the quarries does have great views and would be a shame to limit it to this proposed activity. As noted, this would not “interfere with climbing or existing activities”. I am not sure I would want to be hiking through this area with people zipping over my head.

  40. Nick Peper says:

    I think it would be a good time, do it!

  41. Adam says:

    Surrendering a public recreation area to be turned into a for-profit venture is a terrible idea. The Quarries have been a high quality rock climbing area for decades. Running these zip lines everywhere will ruin that (and they do interfere with the climbing areas, despite the developer’s denials–just look at the map overlay).

  42. Tamarack says:

    The idea has merit –with further development.
    The opportunity to realize revenue & increase recreational opportunities are both admirable. If they are balanced with responsible building, limited affect and encroachment on the property, adequate oversight and routine management it could be a boon to the south shore.

  43. Ben Porter says:

    This sounds like a great idea. Every summer I pass the zip line at Loon Mt. where they charge $25 to go across the river. Good luck and thank you for thinking outside the box. With 26 miles of coastline how about a zip line across the water somewhere when you get down in the hills ?

  44. Mrsh says:

    Yes! This is a terrific plan.

  45. Beth says:

    Build the zipline somewhere else! It’s such a cool spot for climbers, and this would ruin it.

  46. J Thompson says:

    I say try it.
    The price requirements may not permit a sample run but I would still try it.

    Note: I received an error message asking for my email address. Your titles to the blocks do not use the term “email”. Please be more precise as to what you want and where.
    I will guess at the correct block!

  47. Diane Cohen says:

    I love the Hills just as they are. Unfortunately, many people need a more “exciting” reason to venture to this fabulous natural resource! I agree with the comment that placing zip lines on the already developed ski areas (or very close to) would be more sensible development that would not encroach upon the beautiful open spaces.

  48. chris says:

    I’m not in favor of a zipline or any other infraction here because I think we should continue to preserve and respect The Blues Hills. Over the years, my family has had the opportunity to enjoy natures beauty. Here, we fell in love with nature. Many times we hiked, including the excellent New Years Day hikes, and appreciated these hills to forget about outside distractions. Because of this place, our kids have excellent memories, developed an appreciation for nature and have learned to respect others. Hopefully, they will help protect these places of natural beauty for generations, as was done for us.

  49. Amy K. says:

    I suspect that many who think Quincy Quarries is a suitable site for this development aren’t considering the impact on the people who already use the park. Quincy Quarries is a popular and long-standing climbing site for Boston area climbers. Its compromise by commercial development would be nothing short of tragic. People also come to Quincy Quarries to spend time in nature; they play with their dog, they explore with their kids. Raising towers, pole anchors, sky bridges, rope obstacles, and running heavy cable zip lines all across the area will significantly diminish the personality, look and feel of the park for those who enjoy it today– climbers and non-climbers alike. These structures, as well as the proposed via ferrata, will very likely interfere with top-rope anchor sites and climbing routes.

    The ski area is already developed for commercial outdoor recreation. That is a far more appropriate site for this development than sacrificing one of our few undeveloped outdoor spaces. Allowing a commercial enterprise to encroach on our public outdoor recreation areas is a terrible idea. My vote is absolutely NO.

  50. Arlington Climber says:

    “high quality” climbing? Ha! It is simply an area that is close to Boston, good for early spring season, after work and instructional classes.

    I am against the proposal. The last time I went climbing at QQ, I remember seeing the line being set-up and being asked if I wanted to try it… I declined. I thought the owner was friendly enough, but I don’t agree with profiting from a public use area.

    Perhaps if a percentage of the proceeds supported an annual clean-up / removal of spray paint from the rocks to make it more “high quality”. If anything, I would predict that the small parking lot will get more overrun with people who will take a 30 sec ride, then hang out staring at climbers and saying how cool it was while sporting their newly purchased “action” picture and tee-shirt!

    Just my $0.02

  51. D. Mary says:

    With the zip line course (and thus the commercial enterprise) sited in the quarries as shown on the plan, an obvious question would be what happens to the free public access to these grounds that is currently allowed? For safety reasons, I would suspect climbers and other recreational users would no longer be able to freely access grounds that we currently do have access to. To me that favors the commercial enterprise (and the city through tax revenue), who gain a new clientèle, but significantly restricts the public who now have free access to enjoy a premier local outdoors location and a historic one for area rock climbers. Climbers obviously are effected, but I would think even families on a picnic would now be impacted. With the welcome center and this course seated right amid the quarries current main areas, it doesn’t seem possible that we will maintain the ability to walk on and sit down to enjoy the climbing or the sites. Doesn’t sound like this would add anything for the public interest, other than new tax revenue for the City of Quincy.

    I am not in favor of yielding a natural site with free public access to a commercial venture. And I agree with others concerned that the area would more likely lose more wild spaces.

  52. David Keenan says:

    I think it is a good idea to enhance the use of this area. Bringining more poeple into the reservation for multiple uses would enhance the Blue Hills. I would like to participate in such a course. However, it is important not to infringe on the current users of the quary (i.e. rock climbing, etc.). I would like more information before fully endorsing the project.

  53. Deb says:

    First, I agree with all comments that for-profit, commerical operations that only priviledged people who can afford something on the order of $100 one-hour outings can take advantage of, should be kept out of public, free-access areas meant for all to enjoy. Second, the map linked above shows many of the proposed zip line locations to begin and/or end on top of the cliffs of Quincy Quarries that are frequented by hikers and rock climbers, who want to access these cliffs for recreation, views, quiet enjoyment, and also, in case of climbers, to set up their own safety anchors for climbing. Putting the zip line fixtures and routes there would definitely interfere with and possibly introduce some safety conflicts with people who are on the cliff-tops for these purposes (i.e. people zipping by, overhead, or possibly even into you). It seems easy to imagine that peaceful enjoyment of the rock climbs and grounds might also be disrupted by the potential “yahoo” noise and distraction of people zipping from cliff to cliff. Quincy Quarries has a long history as being a local place for rock climbing and mountaineering training, in particular, and it would be a shame to compromise the continuation of these activities.

    If a Boston-local zip line is desired by the public, it makes more sense to put it in over a densely forrested or water area where it can be used as an aid in crossing, and where there will be no one standing/walking directly below.

  54. Beanz says:

    I don’t see the sustainability of this project. Sure, people will flock to it when it opens, but given the cost, how many would pay to ride it again?

    Once you ride it, the “novelty” factor goes away.

    The ones in the resort areas of the White Mountains have a more steady stream of unique users, given it’s a resort destination. It’s not something that appeals to everyone, either. So you have a limited pool of users to draw from, to begin with.

    Once the “newness” wears off, then what? It doesn’t fit with the area, put it with the ski hill, use their commercial facilities for their benefit. The Trailside Museum could also benefit from the traffic.

    The Quarries are for the people’s enjoyment, not private commercial operators looking to make money.

  55. I think it’s a great idea! I would would love to take the tour with my wife and young children (8 and 7). I hope it becomes a reality in the very near future!

  56. Scott M says:

    The only recreational zip line I’ve been on was a small one in Costa Rica. It was VERY low impact. The wires, at least during Summer, are difficult to see from most angles. There was a small clearing near each platform, and of course paths to the platforms, and a bit of infrastructure (parking lot, ticket booth, restrooms, equipment shed, etc).

    All in all, it will attract people and introduce them to the park, plus potentially generate revenue for conservation, etc. The park is fairly large, and the ‘heavy footprint’ of the facilities could be very small- think of the kayak rental facilities along the Charles.

    If properly thought out, I’m for it.

  57. Mike F says:

    As a member of the FBH, the AMC, and frequent user of the Blues Hills Reservation, including the Quincy Quarries (QQ), I am totally against a zip line proposal for the QQ. The QQ is, and has been for decades, a place to hike and particularly to rock climb, which has significantly increased since being filled in. The extensive recreational use of QQ, particularly by rock climbers, can be seen almost every weekend and weekday afternoon, all year long, particularly from March through October. This is one of the few, easily accessible, historic quarries, and the only sizeable, quality rock climbing area of its kind in close proximity to Boston. For a great many years, AMC volunteer instructors have been using the QQ a few weekends each Spring to teach rock climbing. The proposed Zip line business will entirely eliminate use of the QQ by climbers and the general public, and make this now free and publicly accessible part of the State’s Blue Hills Reservation closed for public recreation.
    I reviewed the proposed Zip line development linked to this FBH page: 6-8 ground to ground tree [sic] zip lines, criss-crossing the entire QQ area; 2-3 sky bridges; 1-2 Rappels; 1-2 Via Ferrata climbs; a playground, plus a “Welcome Center” big enough to house offices, rest rooms. locker rooms, retail and food outlets, and equipment storage. I cannot see how can this substantial, commercial take-over of a frequently used public recreation and climbing area is in the public interest? For those who favor having a commercial zip line operate in the Blue Hills, I agree with those who say it should be by the Rogers Ski area, which already has commercial facilities in place.

  58. Carly R says:

    In my opinion, people gain the most understanding of a landscape via walking or climbing – slowly and quietly – through it.

    A zip line presents too fast of an experience to gain much understanding of the Blue Hills.

    A few years back, I went on a zip line tour of a tropical forest canopy. Compared to another canopy tour that we also took during that trip – e.g., we walked at our own pace (slowly) along narrow suspension bridges, I learned about and experienced much more of the canopy via the slower meander on the bridges.

  59. Geoff Wilkinson says:

    My initial reaction was curiosity and openness to the idea, but the more I look, the less I like what I see. The site plan suggests that this would transform that part of the reservation, not just utilize the climbing area. This is conserving nature in perpetuity? I think Steve Cobble nailed it–strike a deal with the ski area.

  60. Evan Wise says:

    As an avid climber that makes several trips to Quincy Quarries every week, I am completely against the idea of the addition of a zip line to the quarry area.

    I would prefer to not have to worry about the risk of people zipping over me at 30+ mph while I climb or change routes around the main area, and I’m sure that many can agree. The proposed project would also greatly limit the amount of access to routes. With anchors for the lines interrupting the L, M, N, P and Q lines, some of the greatest crags to climb at would be lost due to safety concerns.

    In addition to recreational access, the projected revenue that will be generated by the zip lines will come nowhere close to nullifying the environmental impact that will come as a result. The increased human traffic and construction of the structures to create the zip line system will have a lasting negative impact on local wildlife and their surrounding habitat.

    Quincy Quarries is a gem that draws climbers and hikers from all across the South Shore, and the zip line project would greatly detract from the experience and would limit access to the general area.

    I created a Facebook group for climbers and others who are in the same boat regarding this issue. Please join the group if you are against zip lines at Quincy Quarries!


  61. Michael B says:

    Looking at the plans, this seems like a fantastic idea for ruining what bit of the outdoors and wilderness feel remains at Quincy Quarries.

    “The developer says it would not build platforms or zip lines that would interfere with climbing or existing activities.” Based on their plans, indeed the platforms or zip lines wouldn’t interfere, but a lot of their other infrastructure certainly would! If the developers are this disingenuous already, does anyone realistically think they’ll keep their word about not interfering with climbing? And let’s not forget the critical access paths for placing anchors. These will clearly intersect zipline use.

    I can’t imagine anyone looking at these plans and realistically thinking it won’t drastically impact both climbing and the environment at QQ.

    Granting this concession will ruin Quincy Quarries.

  62. dan says:

    Let’s not commercialize the little remaining “wilderness” left in Boston. The Blue Hills should not become an amusement park where you pay to ride the attractions. Putting in a _commercial_ zipline will by it’s very nature _commercialize_ the area. If you think making people pay is a good way to get them to come to the quarries, why don’t you start selling hiking tickets? It just doesn’t make any sense. If you want to go zip lining, please just go to NH. It’s not that far away and you will probably only go do it once or twice anyways before it looses it’s thrill.

  63. Chris R says:

    Sure, Quincy Quarries isn’t the most amazing place to rock climb in the world. But, it does have a long history and is surprisingly significant to the development of the sport of rock climbing in the Northeast. Many people already frequently visit the quarries to participate in recreational activities, namely rock climbing. Thus, nothing is needed to encourage people to visit as some commenters have incorrectly suggested. I suspect many of the commenters in favor of the zip line have never rock climbed, or at least have not climbed at QQ and thus the development of a zip line course at QQ would not be detrimental to their current lifestyle. Having people zip overhead while people are trying to rock climb at QQ (as they have for decades) would be at least unpleasant and at most a safety hazard. I suspect that, despite the developer’s claims, the installment of a zip line course might actually close off the area to climbers which would be reprehensible. Furthermore, the installment of via ferrata type climbing is generally not supported by actual rock climbers at any location as it is permanently damaging to the rock. There are many routes at QQ already climbable by almost anyone and drilling metal bars into the rock is not necessary to allow anyone to enjoy QQ as a climbing destination. Please leave Quincy Quarries as it is and do not install a zip line course.

  64. Tony Telesco says:

    I cannot adequately express how much I am against this proposal. The quarries currently provides opportunities for free and unrestricted recreation to the surrounding area. This development would take a public space and turn it into an amusement park.

    There just isn’t space for such a development to be built without severely impacting the public’s use of this space. Have you been there on a nice sunny weekend? The place is already a zoo with walkers, people playing in the fields, and climbers on every wall. Exactly what was the developer smoking when they said it would not interfere with climbing and other activities?! Climbers don’t just scale the walls. They have to walk to the tops of the cliffs to build their anchors.

    Go build your amusement park at the ski area, where you’ve already taken public land and turned it into a business.

  65. Elaine F says:

    On the face of it a very bad idea. QQ has been a recreational resource for decades (I’ve climbed there since the early ’70s). The proposed development would entirely change the nature of the place, and for existing users it would be entirely for the worse. As a climbing area the Quarries have a long history and have been training grounds for first class climbers and mountaineers such as Henry Barber and Ed Webster who have gone on to set first ascents all over the world.

    The Quarries have become an attractive site for families to hike and picnic since the earth removed from the Big Dig was used to fill in the dangerous pools of water and the site was made more accessible. None of these activities are positively affected by the proposal.

    To the people who see this as an economic boon for the city I would point out that the group proposing this development was the operator of the BH ski reservation from 2000 until 2006 when they were removed due to mounting debt (according to http://www.newenglandskihistory.com/skiareamanagement/endriunasbrothersinc.php).

    On balance I see no good coming from this plan.

  66. Kristine K says:

    I do not think this is a good idea, the developer claims it won’t interferer with climbing but I just honestly don’t believe that. The Quarries are one of the best climbing spots around Boston due to its accessibility, I don’t think climbers will enjoy people everywhere, getting in the way, and distracting them while they’re trying to climb. There’s probably somewhere else where this can be done…Thanks.

  67. Reggie Pawle says:

    This is an awful idea.

    Quincy Quarries is a historic climbing area. Rick Wilcox, Ed Webster, and countless others got their start here. Despite the graffiti and questionable rock quality, hundreds of climbers get their start here, including myself. My friends and I have gone on to do big climbs in New Hampshire, Yosemite and Alaska, and the rock at Quincy Quarries was integral in our development as climbers.

    The developers claim this will not impact the climbing. However zip line anchors on the top of crags will increase activity and make communication between climbers and belayers difficult. (Laughably, the artist’s depiction in the plan has the direction of zipping from M wall to Q wall backwards, as Q wall is higher than M wall. It’s worth noting that the artist’s depiction is not part of the plan.)

    I’m not opposed to the proposed ziplines on the southwest corner of the plan as they do not interfere with climbing at any of the other crags.

    It breaks my heart to see this kind of proposal even being considered.

    Reggie Pawle

  68. mike mazerall says:

    Hi, for the last two years I have hiked and CLEANED the Quarry site off of Reschutie drive in Quincy. I have worked with the E P A to clean up waste disposel that had been dumped there and on more than one occasion I have draged TV’s and other appliances from the pond and various other locations within the park as well as removed at least 1 lg garbage bag full every day Mon – Fri. When I would ask the DCR or Quincy public works for assistance I recieved no help, so I would dispose of the waste myself at my own home or work. A Mr Makenzie at the DCR insists there is no trash problem there and would not put a barrel there. Point being more people, more trash! The DCR needs to learn the meaning of the word CONSERVATION, it is more than just cutting down trees and grass and leaving piles of waste to rot! They need to protect the park and study its enviorment for the good of nature as well as the people who use the park. I found that sadly even the volunteer cleanup day has done more to hurt the park than help it. A zip line if manadged by the DCR or public works will only expand this damage.I wish I could offer a better opinion but this is drawn from my experience in this park. Sincerly Mike M P.S. you can ignor this but dispite what you mite think their are those of us how care and I know that they appreciate it when thay go to a park and see less garbadge instead of more.

  69. Matt says:

    Being a climber, the proposed position of one of the stations in the pictures would def impact climbing in the area. Lots of extra people to an already crowded area would also hinder climbing as well.

  70. Alex M says:

    Quincy Quarries has a long climbing history and is the largest climbing area in the state. Although it isn’t a “destination” for climbers, it has served as a valuable training ground for me and countless other Boston climbers; without the opportunity to climb at such an accessible place, I would never have gained the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to tackle other climbs in the Whites and elsewhere. This is obviously also true for climbing legends such as Ed Webster who have gone on to develop other areas and make New England climbing accessible and enjoyable for all. Especially considering the access issues already surrounding climbing in this state, limiting the use of this area would seriously impact hundreds of dedicated athletes. To build zip lines here would almost certainly interfere with climbing, raising countless safety concerns and drastically changing the “vibe” of the area. I guarantee that most people who support this proposal have never climbed at the Quarries and don’t have a solid understanding of safety procedures like setting anchors and climber/belayer communication. Anyone who has been to the Quarries on a sunny Saturday knows that many, many people (not just climbers!) rely on the area as an escape from city life. If money is a concern, there is a plethora of other options available to support the area financially: charging for parking (as they do in state and national parks/forests) is just one simple idea that would certainly generate lots of revenue. There are no words to describe how vehemently AGAINST this proposal I am. Leave Quincy Quarries as it is and protect climbing access for all!

    • Tom B says:

      All of the parking ,except for about eight spots is owned by the City of Quincy. One of the problems now is that the City does not have the resources to maintain this large parking lot and has to send a crew there to remove trash that is being dumped by the truckload. The City of Quincy is under no obligation to keep this parking area open to the public and can sell or dispose of this property as they see fit.

  71. Jeff P says:

    Zip Lines can arguably be built anywhere. Rock Climbing destinations, however, can not. There’s no arguing that. There are only a finite number of areas suitable for rock climbing in the world, of which only a small fraction are actually accessible to climbers due to land ownership or other issues (zip line developments, apparently…). QQ is one of just a handful of areas in Massachusetts where climbing is not just possible but also worthwhile. This proposal would rob the climbing community in and around Boston and throughout Massachusetts of one of their few precious resources. This is a public space, build the zip line tourist trap somewhere else.

  72. Rachel McGraw says:

    After reading through the Quincy Quarries Canopy Tours proposal, I have many concerns. From an environmental standpoint, the construction of the welcome center and ground school, and most likely the two picnic areas and playgrounds would involve the removal of a significant amount of trees that are such an important part of this venue – bringing us closer to nature. The addition of “via ferrata” routes, iron rungs and ladders, would cause permanent damage to the rock face in a place which has been to this date maintained in a natural state as much as possible. In terms of safety, who would monitor this area? Clearly, 24/7 monitoring is not occurring currently because there is graffiti everywhere. What would prevent people from climbing the towers or sky bridges at night? Those areas could be hypothetically hard to access, but the iron rungs installed on the sides of the rock would be easy to climb and people could potentially fall off and get hurt and have difficulty alerting authorities quickly in a medical emergency. After looking at the proposed locations of zip lines, it is clear that the zip lines would negatively affect climbers. The proposed design has several zip lines crossing over popular rock climbing areas as well as two lines appearing to end on top of one busy area. Even if the zip lines were well above the areas climbers would be, the quality of being in Quincy Quarries would certainly be reduced by the increased traffic and noise from zip line participants. In response to other comments, I have zip lined before and I agree it is a lot of fun. However in order to have 6-8 zip lines, there has to be even more towers, plus the welcome center (which would need to be very large in order to house offices, rest rooms, locker rooms, equipment storage, activity reservations, retail, and food outlets). Quincy Quarries is not a huge area and the amount of construction necessary would make a huge negative impact to the current area.

    If zip lining is truly of significant demand, perhaps another area such as an off season ski resort could be investigated.

  73. nick a says:


    I think this is a terrible idea because it introduces unneeded construction and congestion into an already overbuilt area.

    It is an outrage to think that you will in any way be “preserving and protecting the Blue Hills Reservation’s natural beauty” as you state in YOUR OWN MISSION STATEMENT!

    Building welcome centers, installing (yet more) steel into the cliffs, and encouraging people to engage in high risk “adventures” when they may not be well qualified seems like the most unreasonable use of your donors’ money. The quarries will be over run and ruined if this plan proceeds.

    THIS IS NOT PRESERVATION. Please protect the area’s natural beauty, don’t trample it.

    Nick Aiello


    • Tom B says:

      All of the buildings including equipment storage will be built on City of Quincy land and not on the Quarry Parkland. This area where the parking lot is now under used as is the Swingle Quarry site that is also City of Quincy property. The Quincy Quarries Reservation will not lose any space for buildings and the City of Quincy will get revenue to support it’s recreational activities for after school programs,PLUS the developer will maintain the area.

  74. Paul Calabro says:

    To All Concerned,

    This proposal would neither preserve or protect the wonderful outdoor resource that is the Quincy Quarries.

    The developer claims that it would not build anything that would interfere with existing climbs; but in the developer’s photos and design plans, MOST of the proposed ziplines would interfere with established, classic climbs.

    The Quincy Quarries were my jumping off point when I started down the learning curve of climbing that has since taken me all over the world, from New Hampshire to Seattle to Alaska to Thailand. So many climbers get their start in the Quarries. This proposal would be a travesty.

    Please don’t beat the Quarries into the obsolescence by supporting this proposal for “adventure tourism” (this proposal, by the way, is neither). It is akin to nuking every locally-owned restaurant in Boston to make room for more McDonalds.

    Paul Calabro

  75. Gokul says:

    I wouldn’t want to be the person climbing a hard route at the quarries, only to be suddenly startled by a zip-liner whizzing by, resulting in an unfortunate lead fall.

  76. Mark says:

    Absolutley NO! It’s not in and of itself a horrible intrusion into the Blue Hills, but 1) it does ‘cut up’ a portion of the undeveloped lands of the reservation and 2) represents one more affirmation that the integrity of each square foot of the reservaiton, or sub parcel, is evaluated based on the relative significance of that patch of undeveloped parkland versus the relative ‘value’ of changing it. This approach will continue to lead towards or at least risk, death of a thousand cuts to the Blue Hills. For context, all proposals to ‘improve’ pieces of Central Park in NYC were put together on a single map, and if implemented, there would now be no Central Park whatsoever! Let us not do anything which encourages heading down that path.

  77. Tom says:

    Please don’t do this. A zip line would intrude upon walkers, picnickers, clibmers, and football-tossers. How are you going to keep kids off of it when it’s closed?

    What happens if the operator goes out of business? Who will maintain it? Will the equipment be allowed to sit and rust in place?

    Is this better or worse for an already highly used area?

  78. Michelle says:

    As a member of the climbing community, I am not in favor of the zip line proposal. Because of the locations and spread of the different aspects of the zip line, it would really impact what climbers are able to access and enjoy (as well as anyone else who goes to enjoy the area for hiking, etc.) I also worry about what access to climbing walls would be allowed because of the introduction of this commercial enterprise- would people still have access to the wide range of routes that make QQ a great place for so many ability levels? I can only imagine that people would no longer have the access that they have now.
    It seems that finding a different location for the zip line that is already developed would be the better option, such as a ski area as people have mentioned. The Design Design Concepts and Program Development says that “the popularity of zip line adventures has blossomed over the last 5 years”, so what happens when this interest starts to decline? QQ will have seen major impacts from the higher traffic that will not be able to be reversed.

  79. Jessie says:

    Please, no zip lines! Quincy Quarries is heavily used already, and from what I can see of the design it’s clear that current users (those who clean up the park!) would be shut out. This isn’t an “addition”–it’s trading a public area for a private money-making activity.

  80. Devon says:

    No, please don’t do this! A zip line facility will require limiting access to many parts of the park. Many people already use the park for many different activities including rock climbing, hiking and rescue training. Something like this will certainly limit and potentially end the current uses for the park.

  81. Megan says:

    I think the zip lines are NOT A GOOD IDEA if it will impact the climbing there. Quincy Quarries are the one spot near boston that has the best top rope climbing and a ton of people go climbing there all the time. I for one started climbing at Quincy Quarries and think it is a great spot for learning. I also know other people use Quincy Quarries for training for rescue crews as I have seen them practicing self rescue there before. Yes ziplining would be fun but I dont think it should effect the climbing area as there are not that many GOOD places to climb around Boston and would greatly impacting the climbing community.

  82. kjc says:

    Essentially what we are talking about is turning public land into an amusement park. The proposed Zip Line facility would mean radically changing Quincy Quarries by reducing the amount of publicly accessible areas, adding new structures, removing existing green spaces and increasing traffic to the area. The proposal states that the course would be “built to showcase the site’s natural beauty”. I know of no area who’s natural beauty was enhanced by development. Let’s make sure that we all understand that this is all about money.

    Putting the zip line in would require restricting access to many areas of the park that are used for hiking, climbing and other activities. The proposal makes no mention of how the park will be guarded to insure that this “attractive nuisance” would not be used/abused either during the day or at night. There are over 20 areas that would need to be monitored and access limited to the zip line staff. From a risk management point of view, putting a zip line on public land is a nightmare and invites disaster. Would the installation of the zip line require a perimeter fence and limiting access to the park? I would think any insurance company would require it.

    Commercial facilities should be kept out of our parks. Any “enhancements” to parks should not limit access to them. A zip line would change what the Quarries are and how people use them, certainly not for the better.

  83. MG says:

    The quarries have been used as a recreational space for decades for a large variety of activities that require no additional modifications to the land – although the new parking area is a nice addition, good job!

    The proposal would add a lot of metal, a lot of foot traffic, a lot of garbage, and a lot of hassle for the traditional users. All of that for what is most likely a fad. How many pool halls do you see today? Bowling alleys? What is cutting edge entertainment today will be abandoned buildings and rusted cable in the near future.

    And make no mistake, this will impact the traditional users. I can not imagine a scenario where the operators can have full insurance and cliff top access can be maintained for all users .

  84. LC says:

    Check out Brownstone Park in Portland Connecticut. A very successful transformation of a flooded quarry in a blighted area. This quarry was previously visited only by a handful of climbers and scuba divers. Now, it’s enjoyed by many families and youths with nothing to do in this landlocked area. It also created much needed summer jobs.

    This environmentally conscious development is viewed by all as a success.

    • Bob says:

      The Brownstone Park’s Rules are available from their website. The Park’s Tower & Wall Rules specifically state “All participants will be belayed in by certified members of our staff only.” This is consistent with the fact that Brownstone Park is a commercial enterprise to which users must pay an entry fee. The Park’s Tower & Wall Rules also state “Climbing harnesses will be provided and are required to be worn by all participants” which would preclude an experienced climber from using their own equipment.

      The Blue Hills Reservation which includes the Quincy Quarries is a public park freely accessible to all.

  85. Dan says:

    As the Co-Director of a non-profit which leads hikes, snowshoeing programs and rock climbing within the Blue Hills Reservation, I am opposed to a for profit business taking over this public resource. This proposal would impact the experience of youth and adults who currently enjoy (often for the first time in their lives) the “wilderness” of the Blue Hills.

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