Hillside Restoration in Norumbega Park

River Path leads down the hill to the Charles River from the Islington Road entrance of Norumbega Park.  Until 2019, the path was separated from the rest of the park by an old chain-link fence.  Where the path reached the river, many walkers had squeezed around, or through, the end of the fence to enter the park.  From there, they had climbed the hill to reach the main trail through the park, creating a network of informal, and badly eroded, trails up the hill.

According to Newton Chief Environmental Planner Jennifer Steel, “The slope had become loved almost to death by human and dog feet. Erosion was so severe that the survival of the trees was in jeopardy.”

The slope before restoration.  Photo by Jennifer Steel.

In Fall 2019, the Conservation Commission began a project to restore the slope and build a stable trail that is protected from erosion. The goal of the restoration project was to preserve the mature trees on the slope and reestablish an understory so that when those trees do die, there will be others to replace them.


Restoration work under way in November 2019.  The work was designed and carried out by SumCo Ecological Contracting and GZA GeoEnvironmental.

Photo by Jennifer Steel

Trail work has been completed, and the new trail is open. Photo by Dan Brody

It is critical that people understand the sensitivity of the area and respect the Conservation Commission’s request that after the new trail is opened, please be sure that all feet, from both two-legged and four-legged creatures, stay on the trail.

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