Perambulation 2017 – Where do we go from here?

The 2017 Perambulation of Marblehead’s downtown “Secret Passageways” realized the largest attendance ever – a combination of residents and visitors totaling 102 as they left the upper grounds of Abbot Hall! Donald Doliber, Town Historian, guided this enormous group up and down hills, following paths originally made in colonial times as the most direct routes connecting waterside to the interior of the peninsula.

Even though it was difficult for those on the fringe of the crowd to hear the guide, they stuck with him for much of the way. However, this difficulty along with the obvious problem of more than a hundred people trying to navigate the streets as a single group show that we will have to change the logistics before offering another public Perambulation.

Marblehead Conservancy refocuses the web site!

Six years after a total rebuilding of the Conservancy’s web site, we are at it again and this time with a change of focus. After sixteen years of volunteer work with Marblehead’s natural open spaces, it is most gratifying that residents and visitors not only use the five miles of trails that have been opened and maintained in town conservation areas for enjoyment, but also take these spaces to heart, removing trash and frequently reporting issues needing attention. This shows genuine and rightful ownership of the lands. In thinking about all this, the Conservancy Trustees decided that the web site needed to focus more strongly on all the natural open spaces available in the town, public and private, and what they offer. To that end information regarding such spaces has been updated, improved, and expanded. Some information has been relocated and may now be found through links to other web sites or separate archives. The whole idea is to give better support to those interested in using the town’s natural open spaces. We intend to keep improving our web site and would very much welcome your thoughts.

We encourage everyone to pay a visit to the site and to use the site’s information contact link to let us know how it works for your desktop or mobile devices, what features interest you and what you would like us to add.

Railbed Rehab Continues!

In June Swampscott voters approved a plan  to design and build a recreational easement along the line of a former rail bed that runs from Marblehead through the town. The plan, when completed, would be a pedestrian and bike path connecting with Marblehead’s utility corridor easement at Seaview Avenue and extending  to the current Swampscott rail station.

Meanwhile, Salem continues to develop a bike path extending from the other end of Marblehead’s railroad bed at Lafayette Street crossing Rt. 1A, Loring Avenue, and passing through the Salem State University campus. When finished, this Salem branch will reach Riley Plaza in the downtown area. Eventually, the rail bed begun in the nineteenth century by the Eastern Railroad will be available to pedestrians and bicyclists from Riley Plaza in Salem, through Marblehead, all the way to the Swampscott MBTA commuter rail station.

Don Doliber on This Place We Call Lead Mills

Following the Conservancy’s Annual Meeting on March 30 this year at the Abbot Public Library, Town Historian, Donald Doliber, gave a talk on “This Place We Call Lead Mills.” Thanks to Marblehead’s MHTV, the talk and the Q&A session that followed were recorded. MHTV further edited the recording to include supporting area images. The result is wonderful.

The Conservancy is delighted to offer our readers a link to this talk on our YouTube channel. Just click on .

Have you seen these boxes?

These are duck nesting boxes and have been added to Marblehead’s conservation areas with permission of the Conservation Commission. The idea and installation are all courtesy of Tony Santosus, representing Duck’s Unlimited, the world’s largest conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring wetland and waterfowl habitat.  ( .

There are five boxes: two at Ware Pond, two at Black Joe’s Pond, and one at Heron Pond in the Forest River area.

Construction and donation of these boxes was a joint effort involving Ducks Unlimited, Comcast and  the Danvers Fish and Game club.  This project was one of activities included in Comcast’s community service program “Comcast Cares” (

The Conservancy is now listed on AmazonSmile

Are you an Amazon shopper? Have you heard of AmazonSmile? AmazonSmile provides buyers with a simple and automatic way to support their favorite charitable organizations without adding any cost. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of an item to whatever charitable organization you designate on the Foundation list. With the hope that you will honor the Marblehead Conservancy as your choice, the Conservancy has added its name to the AmazonSmile list of charitable organizations. Eligible products are marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. On your first browser visit to AmazonSmile (, you simply select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before beginning shopping. Every eligible purchase after that will result in a donation. The Marblehead Conservancy appreciates your interest and contributions.

Marblehead continues to be a Tree City

Unless you have seen the small roadside sign on Lafayette Street identifying Marblehead as a Tree City, you may not be aware that Marblehead has been on the Arbor Day Foundation’s list of Tree Cities for the past seventeen years.This distinction is given to those communities that meet the Foundation’s standards for creating and maintaining a commitment to a greener, healthier community through attention to its trees. Paying attention to the health of trees, and replacing those damaged or aged beyond saving are part of that commitment. The Conservancy Trails Committee supports Marblehead’s Tree Department and Tree Warden, Doug Gordon, with Earth/Arbor Day plantings. The Tree Department, in turn, supports the Conservancy Trails Committee in handling the larger downed trees along conservation area trails. This partnership continues to work well to the Town’s benefit.

Earth Day / Arbor Day – Another Great Event!

Over the course of the morning on April 29, ninety-two people contributed their time and effort to help develop the Lead Mills conservation area as a flowering meadow and to clear trash. Here’s what they accomplished (we love numbers!):

  •  250 plugs of native flowers planted
  •  80 shrub and tree seedlings planted
  •  edge of road berm weeded and replanted
  • 5 bales of salt marsh hay spread on the flower beds
  • ten bags of trash removed including 3 bags of recyclables

We thank all those who gave their time, particularly those who brought along youngsters and helped introduce  Marblehead’s natural open spaces to future stewards.