Current Projects: Seaside Park Trails Restoration Plan
Seaside Park was originally laid out in 1895. By 1902 a playground had been installed and in 1906 through 1947, additional land was acquired to expand the Park. It now consists of 33.7 acres of which we estimate about 20 are forested with trails. We also estimate there are about 4,000 feet of trails.
With approval of the Recreation and Parks Department, work started in September of 2010. As of September of 2012, all of the work of the Phase 1 and 2 plans has been completed.
Vegetation along all trails has been cleared, making walking easier and lowering the chance of picking up ticks. One meadow area has been cleared of tree seedlings and mowed. Native trees and shrubs have been planted where alien invasive plants were removed. A section of one trail has been relocated to make it easier to use during the winter. With the help of the Boy Scouts, a major section of a trail has been drained and rebuilt to eliminate the regular build-up of mud.
Future Trails Committee Goals
Protect views from knoll overlooking Marblehead Harbor with selective vegetative trimming and restoration of grassy areas. Improve trail entrance signage.
Restore the one remaining muddy trail section.
Maintain and/or improve vegetative screening with neighboring houses.
Restore small pond(?).
Current Projects: Harbor Glade
Follow the old railroad bed from Marblehead center toward Salem and you will eventually arrive at a point where the rail bed begins to arc to the left to follow the shore of Salem Harbor. Look to the right and you will see an open area. Maps of a century ago gave this location the name, “The Pines.” Today, with hardly any pines growing in the area, it seemed more appropriate to give the spot a more descriptive name, and so we call it Harbor Glade.
A glade is quite simply an open space in a forest. This particular space, used for many years by Boy and Girl Scouts for camping exercises and by others as a quiet resting spot overlooking the harbor, was becoming overgrown with alien invasive plants, reducing its openness. Further, both the surrounding woods and, more recently, the open grassy area were becoming beds of native poison ivy. An old stone wall had crumbled, its rocks scattered around the grounds. The one existing trail from the old rail bed to the harbor shore has become eroded as heavy rains wash down its surface.
With permission from Marblehead’s Conservation Commission, and with financial support from the Coolidge Fund the Trails Committee of the Marblehead Conservancy has undertaken a project to restore this lovely area. In 2012, the plan is to clear back the invasives, remove poison ivy from areas used for passive recreation, rebuild the stone wall, and begin some re-planting with native shrubs and trees. Existing holes in the open area will be filled and buried trash removed. The open area will be enlarged somewhat and re-planted with native grasses. In 2013, water bars will be placed in the existing trail to the water’s edge to slow erosion. A new path will be created in a horse shoe – shape that will begin and end on the existing trail.
The massive oak seen in the photo alongside the trail and two black cherry trees died a few years ago and have been dropping limbs over the winters. Normally we would leave the tree as a habitat for wildlife, but these a hazard to visitors. Our current plan is to take these trees down but to save a stump of the large oak as a seat.
A later project will deal with the deep erosion of the shoreline caused by water running down the entrance trail.