The Silver Maple Forest is a 15 acre wooded upland that serves as a vital complement to surrounding wildlife habitat and wetlands areas, including the adjacent Alewife Reservation.
Located at the intersection of Cambridge, Arlington, and Belmont — the forest is the centerpiece of metro Boston's largest contiguous wildlife corridor and is just steps away from the MBTA's Alewife station in North Cambridge.
For nearly a century, the forest has been celebrated for its incalculable contribution to the ecology and hydrology of the entire region.
- Home to deer, coyote, mink, river otter, red fox, fishers, and 90 species of birds, including hawks, wild turkey, blue heron, swans, cat birds, hummingbirds, and goldfinches.
- Maple trees store millions of gallons of water, helping to mitigate the risk of flooding
- Important educational resource, serving youth, local students, and nature enthusiasts
- Flora and fauna include a vast array of rare species
- Connection to the region's Native American, agricultural, and industrial history
Despite its many positive attributes, a large real estate developer is planning to cut the trees, clear the forest, and build a 298-unit housing complex on the site. "The Royal Belmont" luxury apartments will also include roughly 500 additional parking spaces, further compromising flood protection in this vulnerable location.
While there is surely a need for additional, multifamily housing in the metro Boston area, the unique and irreplaceable Silver Maple Forest is quite possibly the worst possible location for such a project.
The forest sits in a FEMA-designated floodplain, and the removal of trees and the addition of impervious surface will aggravate the serious risk of flooding in the North Cambridge neighborhoods by Alewife and the Belmont and Arlington neighborhoods surrounding Little Pond.
Photo of Silver Maple Forest Rally and Parade taken by David Mussina on June 28, 2014.