Places in the Parklands
Some of the special places in the parklands where the Conservancy works in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation include:
Located along the riverbank in Brighton, Christian A. Herter Park is the largest section of open parkland in the Charles River Basin. The park is named in honor of Christian Herter, a former Massachusetts governor, United States secretary of state, and champion of the environment. With two community gardens, a playground, spray fountain, a large open lawn that draws volleyball and badminton players, and a rental kiosk operated by Charles River Canoe & Kayak, this area of the parklands has something for everyone. The Conservancy Volunteers program works actively with the Friends of Herter Park to restore the historic Herter Park Theatre for public programming.
NORTH POINT PARK
North Point Park is part of the New Charles River Basin, the “lost half-mile” between the old Charles River Dam (now the site of the Museum of Science) and the Charlestown Bridge. The 8.5-acre park includes a broad pedestrian path and a bikeway. Unique to North Point is a water feature, creating two islands and a shallow waterway for kayakers or other small boats. A large playground area is located on the inland side of the water feature. North Point Park is the third park to be completed as part of the Big Dig mitigation efforts, which also included the restoration and expansion of Paul Revere Park in Charlestown and the construction of Nashua Street Park in Cambridge and Boston. The Lynch Family Skatepark is located in close proximity to North Point Park, and the proposed Swim Park would also be located off the main lawn.
Magazine Beach is a 15-acre park in Cambridge, featuring an historic granite “Powder House,” which was built in 1818 as a state gunpowder magazine. The building was redeveloped in 1899 by Olmsted & Eliot, as a bathhouse to accommodate a lively swimming scene at Magazine Beach. As a result of industrialization, poor water quality and contaminated sediments resulted in the closure of the public beach in 1955. Today, the park features a large treated swimming pool, playing fields, picnic areas, pathways, and offers large swaths of open space to accommodate crowds for events such as the Head of the Charles Regatta, which is held annually in October. To learn more about work being done at Magazine Beach, visit the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association’s blog. The Conservancy regularly hosts volunteer events at Magazine Beach.
Riverbend Park is adjacent to Memorial Drive and extends from the Eliot Bridge to Western Avenue. From the last Sunday of April through the second Sunday of November, Memorial Drive is closed to vehicular traffic from 11am to 7pm, creating a large stretch of open space alongside the parklands to accommodate cycling, skating, running, and a range of other activities.
Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path is an 18-mile loop along the Charles, from Science Park in Cambridge to Watertown Square. The bike and pedestrian pathway was named after the renowned cardiologist, who was a staunch advocate of exercise, diet, and weight control in the prevention of heart disease. In 1924, Dr. White was one of the founders of the American Heart Association and became the organization’s president in 1941.
If you do not have a bike and are interested in exploring the pathways, we suggest using Hubway. Hubway is metro-Boston’s public bike share program, with 1,600 bikes and 160 stations across Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. The following map provides a suggested 7.3 mile loop along the bike trail.
For more information about the parklands within the Charles River Basin, visit the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website—click here!