NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 29, 2014

'It can be such a beautiful spot'

Maudslay volunteers aim to restore pond to former glory

NEWBURYPORT — Maudslay State Park is one of the most revered resources in this community, and a band of volunteers is accelerating its efforts to clean and enhance the park’s flowering reflection pond so it can retain its historic beauty.

“The pond needs work,” said Marlys Edwards, who heads a restoration committee of the Maudslay State Park Association. “Trees and branches have fallen into the pond, and it has filled with sludge now that it is in a stagnant state.

“It can be such a beautiful spot and we hope to bring together the resources to improve its condition.”

Maudslay covers about 450 acres on the bank of the Merrimack River.

The park was created from the estate of Frederick Strong Moseley, the son of Edward Strong Moseley (1813-1889), a wealthy Boston banker and a leading citizen in the city. In 1985, the property was acquired by the state Department of Environmental Management. It offers parking, and in season, visitors can find some of the most colorful bushes, flowers and fruit trees on the North Shore.

The park offers scores of trails for hikers, bikers, naturalists and horse riders.

But time doesn’t stand still for century-old ponds and the three-arc bridge that goes over it.

Association members say that bridge must be strengthened. Stonework, both above and below the water line, has fallen off and deteriorated. So one of next steps is to obtain bids for the actual restoration work for the bridge.

The attention that the pond needs is more complex.

Water runoff and flooding rains have carried sediment and nutrients into the pond. Because the water is not moving, the lack of oxygen has affected native plants and other aquatic life.

With warm weather coming, association members are reaching out to state officials and to private donors for financial help for dredging, stone work and other projects.

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