Founded in 1881, the Trustees for the Free Public Forest was established in order to oversee Lynn Woods Reservation. Comprising 2,200-acres and making up roughly one-fifth of the city's total land area, it provides residents and businesses with clean water and public green space. This large park also acts as a drainage basin and is under the control of the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission, Lynn Park Commission, and Lynn's Department of Public Works.
The history behind this park started in the 18th century when it was used as grazing land. In the 1840s, Breed's Pond was dammed in order to meet growing industrial and residential demands. In the 1850s, officials in Essex County and the city of Lynn began to organize programs to conserve the woodlands surrounding Walden and Breed's Ponds. Additionally, in 1889, the original Trustees for the Free Public Forest became Lynn's Parks Department and managed only 1,600-acres of land and water supply, but later it would become the current 2,200-acres in the early 1890s. In the 1930s, roads and trails were built, as well as the Happy Valley Golf Course.
Dungeon Rock is one of the most prominent tourist locations in Lynn Woods Reservation. This rock formation features a cave supposedly dug by a man who was directed by ghosts to search for treasure hidden there by a pirate named Thomas Veale in the mid-1600s. He would later decide to take up residence in the cave until an earthquake caused the cave to collapse, killing him in the process. After that, folks in the area named it Pirate's Dungeon, and later it became known by its present name, Dungeon Rock. Another man would come along in 1852 named Hiram Marble. He bought the cave, built a home and outbuildings on the site, and moved his family there. Marble, too, believed the ghost of Thomas Veale was directing him to search for treasure, but he and his son would pass away before finding any treasure in the cave. Today, the inside of the cave is protected by a big metal door. Anyone who wants to explore it must arrange a tour with the local park rangers who look over the reservation.