Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Newburyport

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Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1942 primarily to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitats for migratory birds. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge is of vital stopover significance to waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds during migratory periods.Features and locationThe refuge includes the mouth of the Parker River, which drains the mainland on the other side of Plum Island Sound. The refuge also includes the southern three-quarters of Plum Island, an 8mi long barrier island in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Newbury, Massachusetts, Rowley, Massachusetts and Ipswich, Massachusetts. The southern tip of the island, however, is divided between Sandy Point State Reservation and privately owned Cross Farm. Trails and observation stations are scattered throughout the refuge. Included in the refuge is Plum Island Sound and all the smaller islands within it, and the mouth of the Plum Island River on the Plum Island Sound side only. The marsh in and around the winding channels of the rivers is known as Great Marsh, which has a much greater area than the refuge.Hiking, jogging and cycling along Plum Island Drive only is permitted any time the refuge is open. Photography is permitted from any location open to the public. Beach locations may be visited over boardwalks out of nesting season. Trailers and licensed fishing are permitted on the beach in the autumn. Access is via roads through the dunes. Licensed deer hunting is permitted for one day of the year up to a maximum limit of kills. The process is controlled by the park employees and volunteers. Seasonal licensed commercial shellfishing is permitted at one location where a stream through the marsh bends close to the island. Licensed seasonal wildfowl hunting is permitted in a special area on the right bank of the Parker River. It must be accessed from the mainland side. New visitor facilities offering exhibits and programs are located on the mainland bordering Plum Island Airport. Any other activities within the refuge are strictly forbidden; the brochure presents a long list.
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Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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  • Either early morning or after summer, and you have lots of space to move around and just enjoy some wild areas. If you go during the summer, you will have lots of friends. Great place to go birding...  more »
  • This is a beautiful place with lots of birds to see. We went for a walk and saw for the first time wild turkeys on the salt marsh! We were staying by the marshes - it was incredibly relaxing and well ...  more »
  • Very nice place with beaches and march lands. You pay $5 to enter. They give you a map showing you a road to drive down and different entrances to different sections of the beach. Some have parking, S...  more »
Google
  • Absolutely beautiful. I am not a bird watcher but somehow all those different birds chirping makes you feel like you are really away from it all.
  • Really fun alot of hidden spots to go swimming almost like cranes without all the people.
  • The Refuge is a beautiful place, but be aware that the beach is off limits from the first of April until mid August except for a short section near the entrance.
  • If you haven't gone here before, go. This is a prime location with beautiful views and great bird watching. There is a lovely walking path that makes for a great day in the outdoors. It is a very short drive from the Boston Area and totally worth the trip on a nice day. Bring a camera and water and you can stay entertained all day.
  • Stopped by on our way to Boston by chance. It's well worth the diversion. Lovely beaches right at the end on the south eastern corner too. A very peaceful trip and some interesting bird sightings.

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