Water Board's Rules and Regulations for Fresh Pond Reservation

Fresh Pond Reservation, a Public Drinking Water Supply

Rules in effect as of June 1991 and revisions

as voted by the Cambridge Water Board

Visitors to Fresh Pond Reservation are welcome with the understanding that they use this area at their own risk, and that they comply with all the regulations below. Whoever disregards or violates any of the following regulations may be required to leave the Reservation, and may be subject to arrest, fine or imprisonment as provided by law. The City of Cambridge does not assume responsibility for injuries or loss of personal property.



1. Hours of operation:

Fresh Pond Reservation is open from dawn until dusk every day throughout the year.

2. Water Quality Protection:

All acts, which pollute or tend to pollute the water supply, are prohibited. 

• Littering of any kind is prohibited. Refuse may be placed in designated barrels throughout the Reservation.

• Dog owners are required to pick up after their dogs and deposit refuse in designated barrels. 

• No person shall fish, swim or bathe, boat or permit his or her animal to swim or bathe in Fresh Pond. 

• Removal of or damage to any structure, sign, plant, tree or natural feature within the Reservation is strictly prohibited. 

• No fires are permitted in the Reservation. No person shall use smoking materials during periods of extreme fire hazard as determined and posted by the Water Board. 

3. Vehicles: 

• Parking is available in designated areas to those with Cambridge residential parking permits. All others will be tagged and towed at the owner's expense.

• Motorized vehicles and off-road vehicles are allowed in the parking lots only.

• Bicycles must be operated with due care, recognizing that pedestrians have the right of way.

4. Recreational Activities: 

• Picnics are only permitted in Kingsley Park.

• Camping and fires are prohibited on the Reservation.

• No person shall discharge or have in his/her possession a dangerous weapon, bow and arrows, firearms, fireworks or any explosive.

• No person may hunt, shoot, trap or other wise harm animals or birds in the Reservation.

• Possession or use of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances is prohibited.

• The Cambridge anti-noise pollution ordinance is applicable to Fresh Pond Reservation and shall be enforced. 

• Other recreational activities are permitted as long as they are conducted in an orderly manner and are in consideration of the other users of Fresh Pond.

5. Commercial Purposes: 

• No person shall commit a nuisance therein or engage in any business, sales or display or goods or wares.

• No commercial signs, notices, or leaflets of any kind are permitted in the Reservation.

• No solicitations or collecting of funds are allowed. No gambling, lotteries, raffles and games of chance are allowed.

6. Animal Control: 

• No dogs are allowed in Kingsley Park or in other public lawn areas.* See off leash regulations of July 2009 .    (There are shared use areas at Fresh Pond Reservation (excluding the mowed grassy areas) on Fresh Pond Parkway in West Cambridge) 

• In other areas of the Reservation, dogs and other pets must be controlled at all times. Dogs that do not respond to oral commands must be leashed. 

7. Public Assembly:

• Public assemblies or events are limited to fifty (50) participants. All group assemblies with over 25 participants require a permit. The permit must be applied for at 6 weeks prior to the date of the scheduled events. No permits will be issued for Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

• Groups may be required to provide sanitary facilities, appropriate supervision if children are involved, insurance coverage, police protection and any other such requirements as deemed necessary by the Water Board. 

• All groups are required to clean up after an event, leaving the Reservation in the condition in which it was found. 

8. Safety and Security:

• No person shall perform any acts that could be perceived as, or lead to, jeopardizing the safety or security of visitors to the Reservation and the drinking water supply system.

• The drinking water supply system includes, but is not limited to, the following.

  • Fresh Pond Reservation (including the pond, gatehouses, treatment facility, utilities and any structures, piping or equipment therein)
  • Hobbs Brook, Stony Brook and Payson Park Reservoirs and watershed properties (including the water, gatehouses, utilities and any structures, piping or equipment therein)

• Examples of this type of activity include but are not limited to the following list:

  • Operating a motorized vehicle, bicycle or other “wheeled” device at speeds in excess of 8 mph
  • Using any device and/or activity that may affect the safety and/or security of the reservoir, reservation or facilities.   Examples of such devices/activities are: motorized aircraft, drones, and GPS equipment.
  • Use of the Reservation and/or Reservoirs after the prescribed hours (dawn to dusk) 

9. Laws, Regulations and Limitations:

• All persons in the Reservation shall obey the lawful directions of regulatory signs, police officers, dog officers, rangers or Water Department employees.

• All federal, state and local by-laws, ordinances and regulations must be observed and shall be enforced. 

• The City of Cambridge, the Water Board and its employees are not responsible for any damage to or loss of property sustained by any user, or for any injury or loss of life, which may be incurred in connection with public use. 

• Any violations of these rules and regulations may result in revocation of privileges.

• The Water Board reserves the right to amend, alter, suspend or revoke these rules and regulations pursuant to the City of Cambridge ordinance Chapter 19, Sections 4, 25-34.

• The Water Board also reserves the right to prohibit acts, which are not specified herein which harm the Reservation or the Pond.