By Beth David, Editor
There’s nothing like a stroll through the woods, any time of year. And in these parts, that often means a path through marshland on a trail that ends by the water. But if you are wheelchair bound, or a young’un who is being pushed in a stroller, the pickin’s are pretty slim to get you to the shore.
Most of the trails that will take you to the water through the woods will include rough, uneven places, and muddy spots, and some spots with boards thrown down to try to keep you out of the mud.
And that’s okay for the hikers and those who want a workout, but, not okay for those with mobility issues. Now, a new boardwalk in Marion can change all that.
The Osprey Marsh Universally Accessible Boardwalk and Pathway offers a packed stone dust path from the parking lot to an 1800-foot boardwalk that is wide, has nice curbs to keep your wheelchair on it, and a few benches that can double as picnic tables for those in wheelchairs.
Easy to find, the parking area of the Osprey Marsh, a 19.8 acre Sippican Lands Trust property, is just off Point Road, approximately three miles south of the intersection of Route 6 (Wareham Road) and Point Road in Marion.
The parking lot is not paved, and none of the pathway is paved, but it is accessible because of the hard-packed stone dust path. That leads to the boardwalk just a couple of hundred feet away from the parking lot. Then there is a section of boardwalk, and another section of stone dust. There is a little bit of a gap where the boardwalk and stone dust path meet, so be prepared for a bump if you’re in a wheelchair.
The boardwalk then begins again and zigzags through the woods, giving everyone the same opportunity to enjoy just being in the woods.
The elevated walkway also crosses over some water, and a fence has been constructed along that section.
After a few hundred feet in the woods, a long straight stretch heads to the end, with a spectacular view of Planting Island Cove.
A viewing platform at the end includes benches and fencing.
It’s a great spot to sit and sip a cool drink. In the summer, there will very likely be lots and lots of wildlife to see on this trail.
We saw a few people using the boardwalk, including a couple of small children and a couple of dogs.
Right near the end of the boardwalk, a ramp heads out into the woods, connecting to Tucker’s Trail.
On our trip on Saturday, 2/22, we opted to take this trail back instead of using the boardwalk.
This little trail will give you the full hiking experience, including the mud and stick-bridges you expect from trails around here.
If you opt to take Tucker’s, be prepared to get your shoes all mucked up, though.
As we returned to the parking lot, I noticed a wheelchair van pulling out. They got away from me, though, so I wasn’t able to ask them how they liked the boardwalk. We also noticed there were tire tracks in the stone dust path, so it seemed obvious that some wheelchair users had used the path that day.
The whole excursion was pretty quick for us. We probably took 20 minutes along the boardwalk, and about 45 minutes along Tucker’s Trail. Of course, we were in no rush, and all three of us were stopping a lot to take pictures.
It’s one of those places that you can spend 20 minutes or half the day.
Take a picnic, stop and check out the wildlife.
Or, stop at one of the other Sippican properties along Point Road. Peirson Woods is a 30-acre property you’ll see on the way and also has trails and a viewing platform.
Howland Marsh is nine acres and has a walkway into the marsh at Planting Island Cove.
Hagemann Woods is 23.9 acres and offers a variety of walking trails through forests of white pine, oak and red maple.
I know I’ll be going back as the leaves start coming in for the spring. But, don’t let that stop you. When the trees have no leaves, you get to see how they grow.
These special places are a gift to visit any time of year.
The only complaint I have about Osprey, is that we could not find a trash barrel anywhere. I had to take the dog’s waste with us in the car until we could find a place to dispose of it. I know there’s a movement around that says we should just throw the waste into the woods and let it biodegrade, but I think there would be way too much of it on a trail that I believe will become very popular very soon. Dogs are allowed, but sunder your control at all times.
Sippican Lands Trust is planning a grand opening in May. Check the website for updates or find them on Facebook. You can buy a boardwalk to support the project.
For more details on the project and how you can donate to help fund enhancements, visit https://sippicanlandstrust.org/osprey-marsh-boardwalk-project/. to learn more about other Sippican properties, visit https://sippicanlandstrust.org
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