MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA — Residents and visitors now have a new way to access the Dexter Pond Nature Sanctuary — through a recently completed rebuild of a pedestrian bridge.
Over the fall, the town’s Open Space and Recreation Committee (OSRC) took on the task of redoing the aging and unsafe bridge and completed its work in October.
“Providing safe and environmentally-friendly access to our town’s natural resources is an important goal for us,” said OSRC Chair Mike Chapman. “Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed to this enhancement project so that the public can enjoy this beautiful environment.”
The previous bridge was unstable and in a state of disrepair, posing safety risks due to the deterioration of its wooden planks. The newly completed structure now allows for safe passage to hiking trails that lead to the area’s natural resources and wildlife habitat.
Ken King, Manchester resident and a volunteer working with the Open Space and Recreation Committee, built and led the installation of the new bridge. He and his team made environmentally appropriate choices to ensure the bridge’s durability and fit for the landscape. This can be seen in the group’s choice of materials, where they opted for Black Locust timber — a sustainably grown North American hardwood that is highly rot resistant — over pressure-treated lumber.
In 1973, I.W. and Frances Colburn gifted the Dexter Pond Nature Sanctuary to Manchester-by-the-Sea. Today the 23-acre scenic and biodiverse conservation land is enjoyed by residents and visitors year-round for recreational use and wildlife viewing from woodland trails.
Families birdwatch during spring and fall migrations, ice skate on the frozen pond in the winter, picnic and hike in the summer and walk the trail that circles the pond for stunning views of wetland vegetation year round.
The property is open to the public with access off Colburn Road where there is a parking area that accommodates up to six cars.
Funding for the project was made possible through the Community Preservation Act. All work was completed by volunteers under guidance of the Open Space and Recreation Committee.