Formed in the Summer of 2015, the “ Friends “ have come together with the common goal of assuring that the South River Park and Veterans Honor Roll sites remain welcoming and attractive public spaces that demonstrate environmentally sensitive land use and provide a site for quiet contemplation to honor Marshfield veterans.
Love connecting with nature and meeting others who share this interest? Become a friend of the park and be part of a wonderful team of volunteers helping to preserve beautiful green space right here in Marshfield. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here for more info on how you can get started.
Through thoughtful and professionally guided landscape practices, the Friends seek to protect the investment made by the community, protect and preserve land that provides the buffer zone to the river, provide Americans with Disabilities Act compliant access to riverfront views and Honor Roll and enhance the visual landscape along the main entrance to our downtown.
In 2006, The Open Space Committee sponsored a project to acquire and redevelop two blighted riverfront parcels on the South River to a more environmentally sensitive use. Funded with Community Preservation Funds, a Federal Land and Water Conservation Grant and private donations, park construction was completed in the fall of 2012.
While the project was conservation driven at the start, it quickly became apparent that there would be additional benefits for the community. By creating open space in a densely populated commercial area, now those who live and work nearby have access to a beautiful, natural landscape they can enjoy. Restoring ecological integrity to the site lent itself perfectly to the creation of a naturalistic park creating a unique experience in the heart of downtown. Additionally, a Veteran’s Honor Roll monument became a central feature of the park, a place for the community to pay tribute and show respect for the sacrifices that Veterans have made to protect our Country. Over 1200 names of Marshfield residents who served in the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Conflicts can be found on granite memorial in the lower park.
The South River Park was designed to be an easily accessible place where people can come to connect with nature. River views that had previously been blocked by overgrown invasive plants were cleared up and revealed. Additional improvements such as a boardwalk to the river’s edge, a shaded picnic area, and plantings designed to attract butterflies, birds, and bees can be enjoyed throughout the park. Visitors are often surprised with what they discover when visiting for the first time. The sounds and sights of nature offer a welcome contrast to the heavy traffic conditions abutting the park. On a lucky day you may even find a Great Blue Heron wading in the river.
The South River Park is hoped to be the first step in a series of connected open spaces along the river that will create a South River Greenway. The original park design included a feasibility study of the riverbank to determine the best sites for an All Persons Accessible walking trail. The creation of the walking trail could involve easements, land acquisitions and use of publicly owned land in the future. To further this goal, in 2012 the town purchased the 37 acre Pratt property abutting the South River and the Bridle Trail culminating at the Keville Foot bridge bordering Dandelion Park. There are currently plans underway for the creation of a kayak launch at the footbridge as well as walking trails through the Pratt property that have been funded with Community Preservation Funds.
The National Natural Landmarks Program (NNL), a division of the US Department of the Interior and National Park Service (NPS) endorsed a successful Federal Grant application in part because of the project’s broader vision of a network of parks connected by a pedestrian trail. The North and South Rivers were both designated as Natural National Landmarks in 1977 for “possessing significant resources that exemplify our country’s natural heritage.” Deborah DiQuinzio, the NNL Program Coordinator for the NPS Northeast Region wrote that “Over the years since designation, the South River portion of the NNL has been particularly vulnerable to development and degradation." The creation of the Park and Greenway with a pedestrian trail “will contribute to restoring and making accessible the outstanding natural resource for which the North and South Rivers are nationally recognized."
The South River is a large and diverse estuarine wetland system containing salt, brackish and fresh water marshes. The river supports abundant bird and fish species making it a very important wetland resource area. Because the site of South River Park lies within 200 feet of the river, it is a highly regulated site with all activities and landscape practices subject to state law ( MGL c.131 s. 40 ) and Town of Marshfield Wetlands Protection Bylaws, Article 37. The site contains 3 State Listed Rare Species and therefore subject to regulation by The Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program.
South River Park is additionally protected by a Conservation Restriction held by the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern MA. The purpose of this deed restriction is to ensure that “The Premises will be retained forever in their park-like and natural condition. Further, that this Conservation Restriction will preserve and protect in perpetuity the wildlife, aesthetic, ecological and environmental values of the Premises.”
The park design was intended to be a naturalistic park respecting the sensitive environment and serving as an example of responsible river front use. Plant materials were selected for their habitat value and drought tolerance. The park contains berry producing shrubs and a wildflower meadow filled with pollinating native flowers and grasses that were designed to attract birds, bees and butterflies. The meadow is currently a work in progress as many native plants take several years to mature and require carefully scheduled mowing. Creating this pollinator garden adds conservation value to the park by providing important habitat for bees which are in serious decline due to habitat degradation, pesticide use and climate change. Low impact design is used throughout the park to reduce storm water run off and impervious surfaces have been kept to a minimum. Organic lawn care products and fertilizers are used under the direction of a professional organic landscaper. Controlling invasive Japanese Knotweed on the riverbank has been carefully managed with the help of Mass Audubon, The North and South River Watershed Association and permitted by DEP and the Marshfield Conservation Commission.
Sanctuary Church Men's Bible Study
Donated Boardwalk construction materials.
The Boardwalk in the lower park was only possible through the work of John Zarella and the many volunteers that worked under his supervision. Special thanks goes out as well to the North and South River Watershed Association who recruited and organized volunteers throughout this lengthy project.
They have advocated and supported the project from the earliest stages and its members continue to help with the park to this day. They continue to provide volunteers and student interns for work days and reach out to their members with newsletter updates and requests for help. The organization is also donating 3 educational signs to be installed soon.
They have provided volunteers and expertise throughout the project with professional consultation on best practices for improving the habitat value of the site. The organizations extensive experience with naturalist landscapes continues to be helpful as the park evolves and faces challenges.
They were the first organization to assist in the development of the Park and Greenway concept. Countless hours of consultation with the Open Space Committee helped to bring a goal of improving conditions along the riparian border on the South River to reality. Taking a general concept to an action plan required years of their involvement and advocacy. As the holders of the Conservation Restriction they continue to safeguard the park.
Provides ongoing assistance with maintaining the property.
Marshfield Town Planner
Nitsch Engineering, Inc.
186 Lincoln St, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02111
Marshfield Department of Public Works
Landscape Architects and Site Planning Consultants
Lexington, MA 02420-5301
5 Park Ave
Carver, MA 02330
Adopt a garden to maintain for the season.
Provide expertise in landscape care
Provide transplants from your home garden
Help with lawn care (fertilizing and aerating)
Volunteer for group workdays.
Mobilize volunteers for larger projects
To make volunteering at the Park pleasant and rewarding as you contribute to maintaining a beautiful green space right here in Marshfield.