This document is the joint work of citizens, Selectmen, and State and
Federal representatives, and expresses a common view of the situation at
Hanscom Field and the urgent action required.
AT THE CROSSROADS
Whereas: The historic area surrounding and abutting
Hanscom Field, the birthplace of the American Revolution, is hallowed
ground belonging to the entire nation and must be preserved for future
generations of Americans.
Field sits in the midst of one of the nation's most important
historic treasures: the battlegrounds of Lexington and Concord,
where the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired and the
American Revolution began. In order to protect this hallowed ground,
Congress established Minute Man National Historical Park to preserve
the Old North Bridge and the Battle Road, where the first battles of
the American Revolution were fought on April 19, 1775.
Man National Historical Park abuts Hanscom Field. Access to the
airport is through the Park, along the historic Battle Road - the
primary resource that the Park was created to protect.
addition to the National Park, within three runway lengths of the
airport there are more than one thousand National Historic Register
and National Landmark sites, including the homes of Alcott, Thoreau,
Hawthorne and Emerson, and over eight thousand acres of protected
public open space, including Walden Pond and Walden Woods, the
birthplace and symbol of environmental consciousness.
historic area is also a linchpin of the recently created,
42-community, interstate Freedom's Way Heritage Area.
Whereas: Tourism is the third largest industry in
Massachusetts, and the historic area surrounding Hanscom Field is a
major tourist attraction which will be damaged by further development of
- Minute Man National Historical Park is a top destination park in
the country. Together with Walden and the other nearby historic
sites, it draws over two million American and international visitors
a year, bringing millions of tourist dollars to Massachusetts.
Whereas: Hanscom has been the second busiest airport
in New England for decades, and has exceeded two hundred thousand annual
takeoffs and landings for the past two years in a row.
As a general aviation
airport, Hanscom serves private pilots, corporate aviation,
charters, flight schools and other business operations. Without such
a large general aviation airport close to Boston, many of these
planes would be landing at Logan, further compounding congestion
Even without the dire
consequences of the recent expansion of commercial and corporate
aviation, Hanscom has had, and will continue to have, serious
traffic, noise, sprawl and pollution impacts on its environs.
Whereas: Recent, unprecedented developments and
current activity at Hanscom are an immediate threat to this historic,
environmentally sensitive area and demand urgent action, lest we face
Rapid and escalating
changes in aviation at Hanscom Field over the last few years have
confirmed the fears of community leaders, residents, the National
Park Service, Walden preservationists and historians around the
country, and are destroying the delicate balance between the airport
and its environs.
Despite years of
assurances that Hanscom would remain a general aviation airport and
not take scheduled airline traffic, the Massport board voted in 1999
to allow commercial passenger service at Hanscom. This major change
in use of the field was made unilaterally, without appropriate
consultation with the affected communities or with the National Park
Since 1999 the number of
commercial flights has mushroomed and threatens to exceed the peak
level of daily operations (48) contemplated in the 1995 Generic
Environmental Impact Report.
Fractional jet ownership
(time-sharing) has created a new type of passenger aviation and
initiated a new era of increased corporate jet use. Jet operations
at Hanscom doubled between 1995 and 2000, and in recent months jet
activity levels have more than tripled over what they were in 1995.
Jets account for 80 percent of the airport noise.
The burgeoning use of
Hanscom for commercial and corporate passenger aviation is driving
out private pilots and flight schools, drastically changing the
character of the airport and its impacts on its environs.
In recent years Massport
has spent millions of dollars on aviation infrastructure and has
announced plans for the expenditure of additional millions to
support the expansion of both commercial and corporate aviation at
Hanscom. Massport has also announced an unprecedented plan to cut
many thousands of trees and clear other vegetation around the
airport, including the removal of seven to ten thousand trees in the
Bedford Town Forest alone. This, combined with runway upgrades, will
invite and facilitate the use of Hanscom's secondary runway by
These aviation changes
are compounding serious traffic congestion on the region's already
overburdened roads and highways.
- There are recurring and credible reports that Federal Express and
other cargo and passenger airlines are eyeing Hanscom.
- A recent change in the state's environmental regulations has
seriously eroded our ability to protect the Hanscom area's historic
and environmental treasures.
Therefore: We call for an immediate moratorium on any
additional passenger aviation, including commercial, corporate and jet
time-sharing, any changes of use, and any infrastructure improvements or
new development at Hanscom until a regionally driven, multi-state,
multi-modal transportation plan is in place. Such planning must take
account of all the New England regional airports, high-speed rail,
highway planning, and recent advances in teleconferencing and web
conferencing. (The proposed moratorium would not apply to Hanscom Air
Force Base or to any military use of the airport.)
is making piecemeal, ad hoc decisions that are permanently damaging
historic sites and that are both economically and environmentally
shortsighted. These decisions do not add up to wise transportation
planning, but do, in their cumulative impact, have a devastating and
permanent impact on this critical and fragile region.
must be official acknowledgement that Hanscom has a limited role to
play in regional aviation and that going beyond those limits has
unacceptable consequences for the Greater Boston area, the
Commonwealth, and the nation. Policies must be put in place that
will assure, in perpetuity, a defined and limited role for Hanscom.
economic, environmental and historical importance of this area makes
it a unique Massachusetts and American treasure. We must not allow
it to be lost to the effects of the reckless, unplanned growth that
is currently taking place.
Adopted by: April 2002 by:
U.S. Representative Edward Markey
U.S. Representative Martin
U.S. Representative John
State Senator Susan Fargo
State Senator Robert Havern
State Senator Pam Resor
State Representative Cory
State Representative Jay
State Representative Charles
State Representative Susan
State Representative Thomas
Acton Board of
Bedford Board of Selectmen
Carlisle Board of Selectmen
Concord Board of Selectmen
Lexington Board of Selectmen
Lincoln Board of Selectmen
Waltham City Council
Wayland Board of Selectmen
Woburn City Council
Save Our Heritage