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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  • August 7, 2017
    To enjoy this in the summer months you have to arrive early to get parking - by 9am probably. It is an unspoiled beach, nice views, rocks, sand, rock pools.Other inland side has marshes to explore and...  more »
  • August 6, 2017
    I love this place and have been several times. I recommend the walk among the dunes on the left side about halfway into the park. The beaches are great, too.  more »
  • July 23, 2017
    The air here is so fresh I can't help but take deep breathes when I'm here. Pretty beaches, tons of birds, and lots of protected land and salt marshes. Sometimes we'll bring binoculars and just enjoy ...  more »
Google
  • July 6, 2017
    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.
  • June 17, 2017
    Really fun alot of hidden spots to go swimming almost like cranes without all the people.
  • May 10, 2017
    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.
  • August 3, 2016
    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.
  • June 19, 2015
    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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