historical map

What was there before? We know that three hundred years ago Native Americans lived in the Burlington area. Many of their arrowheads have been found at various locations around town. Burlington is believed to have been a borderline area between two tribes: the Massachusetts and the Pennacooks.

We know that the Landlocked Forest has numerous stone walls hidden in its midst.

We know that there is a stone foundation from a homestead that probably dates to the 1700’s and that it is surrounded by two mounds that probably hold garbage relics from those years.

But, there is much we don’t know and have yet to discover as we unlock the secrets of this forest treasure.


1950′s: Route 3 was extended South through Burlington and owners of the property within the Landlocked Forest were compensated by the State because they were now unable to access their land.

1963: Effort was made to regain access from Route 3…rejected.

1971: Act introduced in the State Legislature to permit access from Route 3…rejected because of:

  • Wetlands protection
  • Grading and drainage problems
  • Abutting residential areas.


1972: Act introduced in the State Legislature to permit access from Route 3…rejected.

1973: Act introduced in the State Legislature to permit access in order to develop this land…rejected because of:

  • Traffic problems
  • Industrial development incompatible with abutting residential neighborhoods
  • Potential water polution and and drainage problems


1979: The status of the Landlocked Forest was again explored for development… rejected because of:

  • Traffic problems
  • Water quality
  • Conservation zoning


1984: Burlington Selectmen voted to explore the legal steps necessary to rezone the Landlocked Forest to conservation land.


1985: by Special Town Meeting Article 12, by a vote of 61-11, the Town authorized the Board of Selectmen to take the land described in  Article 19 Eminent Domain for purposes of preserving open space and
protection of the town’s Water Resource District and Aquifier and to  pay $810,000 for such taking


1988 – 1989: Negotiations were held regarding the legal case….to pay for the acquisition on the Landlocked Forest through a 20 year bond, which concluded in May, 2010


2008: Patriot Partners, a local developer, had previously bought an option to buy the land if the Town of Burlington decided to sell it within 20 years of the eminent domain land taking. This option expired in May, 2010 .


May, 2008: Attempting to convince the Town of Burlington to sell the land, Patriot Partners requested of Town Meeting that they establish a committee to discuss their development proposal. The May 2008 Town Meeting created the “Landlocked Parcel Committee” which involved representatives from the Board of Health, the Board of Selectmen, the Land Use Committee, the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board and several Town Meeting members. After several months of thoughtful study and discussion, the Landlocked Parcel Committee voted 6 to 3 against further discussion with Patriot Partners. In October, 2008, Town Meeting also voted against further discussion, thereby ending the committee’s work.


2009: The Board of Selectmen gave permission for the Friends of the Landlocked Forest to mark trails clearly in order to facilitate the safe and enjoyable use of the land. The new trail markings were completed in July, 2009.


2010: An information kiosk was built by volunteers at the parking lot entrance.  Burlington Cub Scouts created an numbered trail junction signs.  Volunteers completed phase 1 of our boardwalk project to protect the wetlands.


Current Status:
Phase 2 of our boardwalk project was completed in May 2011.  Because the land was taken by eminent domain for the protection of Burlington’s water supply and preservation of open space, it is protected under Article 97 of the Massachusetts State Constitution.  The town can only decide sell or develop the land by a 2/3 vote at Town Meeting with subsequent approval by a 2/3 vote of the State Legislature.