Anne, a long-time Friends’ member, lived in an apartment complex adjacent to the Granite Links Golf Course. For over a year, she looked for a trail to the Blue Hills. She asked neighbors, friends, and employees at the golf course but, even though the course borders the park, no one could tell her how to access the trail leading to the shining waters of St. Moritz or the quiet Sawcut Notch Path.
In the late 1990s, before the golf course was first created by covering a landfill with dirt brought from the Big Dig, the Friends of the Blue Hills advocated for a trail that would lead people like Anne directly through the course to the Blue Hills. Thanks to Friends of the Blue Hills advocacy, as part of the environmental review, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) required that the Quarry Hills Associates, the development company creating the course, build a public trail through the course to Sawcut Notch. When the course size was reduced to protect adjacent archaeological resources, the DEP withdrew the trail requirement and, unbeknownst to the Friends or even many DCR staff, created an alternative route to the Blue Hills.
For those that can find it, the existing trail allows people to hike from Cunningham Park in Milton to a trailhead on the east side of the golf course. The trailhead will take hikers along the currently unmarked Quarries Foot Path, where they can visit St. Moritz Ponds and hop on the rugged Skyline Trail.
Although the trail technically exists, it is currently not marked, not maintained, and not scenic. To find the trail, you need to know to enter an unmarked opening in a fence next to an electric generator. If you successfully find the trail, you will walk in the woods until you run into a development and then you will walk along what looks like a private lawn. At another turn, hikers run the risk of losing their footing on a steep, eroded slope.
While not a destination hike, the trail – if marked, publicized and maintained – would give local residents like Anne access to the Blue Hills without needing to drive or find parking.
Thanks to the advocacy of the Friends of the Blue Hills members and our partners, the City of Quincy has agreed to require Quarry Hills Associates to maintain and mark the existing trail with wayfinding signage so that local Quincy and Milton residents can walk to the Blue Hills. We are also working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation staff, who have agreed to mark not only the trailhead at Ricciuti Drive but also the Quarries Foot Path.
As a result of our work to improve the trail, local residents have realized that there are other parts of the agreement between the City of Quincy and Quarry Hills Associates that have not been met or should be improved to better serve residents. The group has continued to advocate for these improvements.
By the end of the summer, new wayfinding signage should be complete, and at that time, residents will finally be able to find and follow the trail from Cunningham Park to the Blue Hills’ Quarries Foot Path.
Above photo displays a portion of the hiking trail and current signage. Photos below illustrate the trail as it follows the fence near development and also the location the connects to Quincy Quarries, which is part of the Blue Hills Reservation..