Cleanup of Little River Nature Trail set for Saturday
NEWBURYPORT — Helping hands are needed for a Little River Nature Trail Cleanup Party sponsored by the Parker River Clean Water Association on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers should park at the Park and Ride lot on Storey Avenue and meet at the sign for the Little River Nature Trail across the street. If parking spaces are full, park in the shopping plaza and use the sidewalk to the trail sign. Bring gloves, clippers and loppers. Coffee, doughnuts and water will be available. Individuals and families with older children welcome. Garbage bags will be provided.
For more information, contact Jerry Mullins, 978-618-9154 or email email@example.com. Inquiries about Parker River Clean Water Association should be directed to George Comiskey at 978-352-7364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case of inclement weather, the alternate date will be March 10.
This year, the group is focusing on the adjacent Little River Bike Path, which has been suffering from an unusual amount of refuse due to constant use. A favorite of bicyclists, dog walkers and hikers, the path was recently named after Gloria Braunhardt who, with Albert Decie as part of Citizens for Environmental Balance, worked so hard to establish, maintain and preserve this important piece of open space. She passed away in late summer 2010.
In 2001, the Parker River Clean Water Association proposed and received permission to construct a nature trail on land donated to the city by MassHighway to be used for observation, exercise, jogging and cross-country skiing in the winter. It roughly follows the Little River, which is a major tributary to the Parker River and contributes to the well-being of the Common Pasture and the Great Marsh. The Little River weaves in and out along the trail, starting as just a small stream, and begins to gather strength by the time it passes by Hale Street.
As humble as it starts, the Little River is an important part of the vast Great Marsh. Starting just west of Interstate 95 and south of Route 113 in a tiny pond, it is at the northernmost part of the Parker River Watershed and has a major influence on the water quality downstream, in particular, of the clam flats in the northern part of Plum Island.
Recent mammal sightings along the trail have included river otter, beaver, red fox and signs of mink. Birds seen in the summer included indigo bunting, waxwing, scarlet tanager, towhee, brown thrasher, blue-winged warbler and many more species. At least 17 different species of butterflies are present during the spring and summer.
Parker River Clean Water Association can be reached at P. O. Box 798, Byfield, MA 01922 or www.parker-river.org, email@example.com.