Universally Accessible Boardwalk at Osprey Marsh

Sippican Lands Trust (SLT) plans to start construction of an 1,800 foot universally accessible boardwalk at its Osprey Marsh property on Point Road in Marion later this month. This boardwalk project builds on the generous donation by members of the Smoyer/Howland family of the 20-acre Osprey Marsh property of forest and marshland on Planting Island Cove and a $38,000 grant for project design and permitting from the Town of Marion’s Community Preservation Commission.

            The project has been designed to minimize environmental impact and to maximize accessibility for infants in strollers, older adults, and persons with mobility impairments, including those in wheelchairs. The universally accessible boardwalk will proceed from the Osprey Marsh parking area through maritime forest, wetlands, and fragile salt marsh habitat to a viewing platform overlooking Planting Island Cove. The boardwalk and trail will be approximately a ⅓of a mile in length and feature bump outs and unique trail features to maximize the outdoor experience.

            This 1,800’ universally accessible boardwalk has been designed by Peter Jensen and will be built by local contractor W.S. Bradford out of Marion. Construction is expected to last six months and will involve some challenging and complicated work over sensitive wetland habitat. Osprey Marsh will be closed during construction and visitors to Sippican Lands Trust properties are encouraged to visit other properties along Point Road including Hagemann Woods, Howland Marsh, and Peirson Woods.

            Alan Harris, SLT Board President, adds “this project, which began nearly five years ago is challenging on many levels. As an organization, the board feels the challenge is worth the pay-off of creating a regionally unique trail. We all need to get outside and get connected to the natural environment. This universally accessible path will facilitate having such experiences by those with physical challenges as well as easing the way for the rest of us excited to explore the area together.”

            As SLT pivots from just protecting land to getting more people out on the land, this universally accessible boardwalk represents a key component of getting people outside into nature. Increasing research shows multiple benefits of time spent outside on psychological well-being, physical health, and creativity. SLT Board Member, Diane Cook, commented “that this project is a dream come true for a population unable to travel over most of the trails in the woods and certainly none that offers an incredible experience in nature with a glorious view at the end of the trail.”

            Supporters, friends, and guests of the Sippican Lands Trust are invited to a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on Saturday, June 29 at 9:00 am at SLT’s Osprey Marsh.

            The SLT believes the Osprey Marsh Accessible Boardwalk project will serve as an important community asset and resource for all visitors to Osprey Marsh. Donations from the public will help make this boardwalk a reality and donors will be recognized at the site on a donor recognition plaque. More information about the project and how to support it can be found at sippicanlandstrust.org/2017/10/osprey-marsh-boardwalk-project/.

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