Lexington has over 1,300 acres of conservation land, including 26 conservation areas with trail access.
This conservation land creates a patchwork of forests, fields, and wetlands that provides important habitat for plants and wildlife and adds to the quality of life for Lexington residents.
On Lexington's conservation land, visitors have many opportunties for nature enjoyment and passive recreation, including jogging, picnicing, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, and bicycling. Over 50 miles of trails cross our conservation land, many with boardwalks through wet areas.
Volunteers of the Lexington Conservation Stewards help to care for Lexington's conservation land and keep the trails open for everyone to enjoy.
More information about Lexington's Conservation Areas:
- Conservation Land Trails
- Walking your Dog on Conservation Land
- Community Gardens
- 2015 Open Space and Recreation Plan (Hard copies available for viewing in the Conservation office, the Recreation office, and at Cary Memorial Library)
- Conservation Land Regulations
- ACROSS Lexington
- Land Management Planning
Please consider supporting the work of the Conservation Stewards and Conservation Division through a donation to the Lexington Nature Trust
Want to request the use of one of Lexington's Conservation areas for passive recreational events such as overnight camping at Willard's Woods, the use of fire pits, or an educational event? Please submit a Conservation Land Use Permit through the online permitting system, ViewPoint Cloud.
The Lexington Conservation Commission, Conservation Division staff, and volunteer Conservation Stewards are committed to managing Lexington’s conservation land for:
- passive recreation and education programs
- protection of habitat for plants and animals;
- provision of ecosystem services such as flood protection, nutrient cycling, and purification of air and water;
- open space connectivity for both wildlife and trail users; and
- preservation of community character including scenic views and historic features.
Managing our conservation resources responsibly over time requires careful planning, on both the town-wide and individual property scale. In 2014, the Lexington Conservation Commission worked closely with the Massachusetts Audubon Ecological Extension to develop a comprehensive conservation management guide, Principles and Policies for Management of Lexington Conservation Land. The Commission formally approved this guide in February 2015.
Town of Lexington Conservation Land Management Plans
- Principles and Policies for the Management of Lexington Conservation Land
- Cotton Farm
- Leary Parcel (part of Lower Vine Brook)
- Idylwilde Conservation Area
- Cotton Farm Orchard Management Plan
The Conservation Commission has passed regulations regarding the walking of dogs on conservation land. These regulations are in place to ensure that all visitors have a safe and comfortable visit to Lexington's conservation areas. For more information, read the press release
On all conservation areas:
- Dogs must be under the immediate restraint and control of a guardian, either by leash, or by sight and voice command. Sight and voice command means that dog(s):
- are within the guardian’s sight at all times;
- come to the guardian immediately when called;
- stay at the guardian’s command;
- do not charge or chase any person, dog or wildlife, nor engage in any aggressive behavior;
- do not cause damage to any conservation land, or any land used to gain access to conservation land.
- No more than 2 dogs per person are permitted
- Guardians must carry a waste bag for each dog in their care and pick up and properly dispose of their dogs' waste
- Guardians must carry a leash for each dog in their care
At Willard's Woods: Dogs must be on leash on Saturdays and Sundays at all times
Dogs may be walked off leash on weekdays, but they must remain under the immediate restraint and control of their walker, either by leash, or voice and sight command
Dogs must always be leashed in the On-Leash Zones at the major entryways
Signage for the On-Leash Zones and new regulations will be posted at Willard's Woods in mid-December.
Violations to the regulations are punishable by fines and can be reported to the Police Department at 781-862-1212.
Trust funds have been established to help with the care and maintenance of Lexington's conservation areas. Donations to these funds are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated at any time of the year.
Donations can be made to:
Lexington Nature Trust
c/o Conservation Division
1625 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02420
Look for signs like these at the major entrances to our conservation areas.