Magazine Beach Park. At 17 acres, Magazine Beach is Cambridge’s second-largest park. It is centrally located along the Charles River, between the B.U. Bridge and Pleasant Street. On its grounds, it houses two structures of historic and cultural significance: an 1818 Powder Magazine, the oldest building on the Charles River Basin; and the 1912 boathouse of the Riverside Boat Club, the last remaining working mans’ club on the river. Magazine Beach also houses a free, outdoor, Olympic-sized swimming pool. As a green space, the park is home to playing fields, shade trees, and natural habitats.

Magazine Beach Partners. A nonprofit organization, Magazine Beach Partners works to help our community shape this invaluable shared asset, a riverside urban commons.

Our Origins. We formed to lend critical assistance to Magazine Beach’s underfunded administrators, the Department of Recreation and Conservation. DCR needs partners like us to raise monies to support our parks.

What We Do.

Steward and Create. Provide and Connect. Model and Team Up. Ask and Advocate.

Steward and Create. Like any public space, Magazine Beach requires ongoing care. We work to keep our park accessible and welcoming, starting with its physical foundations. In collaboration with the DCR and the City of Cambridge, we repair what is damaged, maintain what works, and create new spaces and amenities that meet evolving community needs.

Provide and Connect. An exceptional natural and historic resource, Magazine Beach is

also a civic commons. Our aim is to provide park neighbors and visitors with opportunities to connect. We organize cultural, educational, recreational, and health-promoting programs; we host special events; and we arrange for opportunities to volunteer. More broadly, by ensuring the park becomes and remains an inviting space, we help strengthen our community’s well-being. Magazine Beach is a place where people can come together, recreate, and pause to replenish their senses.

Model and Team Up. All of the work we do for Magazine Beach is collaborative in nature. As a volunteer-run organization, we are modeling fresh ways to team up with a tapestry of agencies and organizations. To date, we have partnered with over two dozen entities in order to achieve shared objectives for the park. Operationally, we are actively exploring how best to conduct the cross-sector stewardship of a public asset.

Ask and Advocate. Like the neighborhoods it borders, Magazine Beach Park’s community stakeholders are diverse. Through surveys, observations, meetings, and everyday conversations, we gather ideas from the people who know and care about the park. We study the park—its past, present, and future—and share our findings in publications, exhibitions, films, and on the web. We write letters on behalf of the park and meet and work with local and State officials. Finally, we inspire community reinvestment, catalyzing funds essential to the life of the park, and energizing others to take on stewardship roles. We welcome your involvement.


  • Organizing Institution: Magazine Beach Partners, Inc. (a tax exempt, 501c3 non-profit)
  • Administrators of the Park: the Mass. Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Estimated Cost to make Improvements: $10 million
  • Proposed Improvements: canoe/kayak launch, outlooks and docks, play areas for children, new picnic tables, benches, bike racks, info kiosks, new paths, public bathrooms and landscaping.
  • Contact Information: Cathie Zusy, President, MBPs, 617-868-0489, or mailto:cathzusy@gmail.com


Selected Achievements

At a Glance: Since, 2010, our organization has supported and promoted Magazine Beach Park in all of its dimensions: its physical grounds, its ecology and history, and its community of users and neighbors. Partnering with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and dozens of organizations, we lead the stewardship of this valued public space. For our ongoing efforts, we have received recognition and awards, including the State of Massachusetts’ Unsung Heroine Award (2012 & 2016), the Charles River Conservancy’s Distinguished Service Award (2012) and the Charles River Watershed Association’s Citizen Activist Award (2016).

Park Grounds


  • The study and critical restoration of the oldest building on the Charles River Basin, the 1818 Powder Magazine
  • The production of landscape plans for the western part of the park
  • The drafting of a park vegetation management plan
  • A series of key physical improvements, including the removal of a broken playground, a broken wading pool, and the installation of a spray deck

Park Ecology and History

  • With partners, initiated regular park cleanups, which include the removal of invasive species
  • Developed educational signage, to be installed in the spring of 2018, about park watersheds, water management, and habitat
  • Conducted wildlife inventory
  • Organized educational walks about park ecology, history, and the water management facility onsite
  • Published a seasonal newsletter, Nature Notes @ Magazine Beach
  • Conducted in-depth history of the site
  • Published History on the Charles: The Story of Captain’s Island and its Powder Magazine (2013)
  • Mounted exhibition, Magazine Beach—A Place Apart, at Cambridge Arts, City Hall and the State House (2014 & 2015)
  • Organized exhibition-related programs at Cambridge Arts and the State House (2014 & 2015)
  • Contributed to Historic Structure Report for the Powder Magazine (2016)

Park Community and Advocacy

  • Designed and distributed surveys and conducted interviews with hundreds of community members and local groups about the park’s needs and how it might provide greater community benefit. Analyzed results and produced report.
  • Performed extensive outreach to diverse constituencies: on site and across the city, in print, and on the web
  • Convened meetings with residents, local non-profits, businesses, universities, and City and State representatives to discuss and report on parkland issues and improvements, and the landscape plan for Magazine Beach
  • Engaged area students, from  3rd graders to graduate researchers in environmental science and urban planning, to solicit ideas and produce products: exhibits, a strategic plan, a study of the site’s topography and an assessment of need
  • Advocated for the park by giving testimony, writing letters, and meeting with local and State leaders
  • Promoted our efforts to broader publics through exhibits, films, articles, a website, and social media
  • Inspired over $2 million of park investment from the State of Massachusetts, the City of Cambridge, and over 350 individuals, foundations, and local businesses

Park Programming: Culture, Recreation, and Health

  • Over 4 years, organized over one hundred programs and events, partnering with dozens of organizations and drawing thousands of participants. Programs have ranged widely: from orienteering and art installations to  swimming “Olympics” and performances.
  • Additionally, we have engaged volunteers who have contributed thousands of work hours in numerous areas:  visual art, photography, film production and design;       research, documentation, writing and editing; project direction and strategic planning;and event planning, program coordinating, and education.

In the works:

  • A canoe/kayak launch and river outlook (projected completion fall 2018)
  • Permanent interpretive park signs (projected completion fall 2018)




One Response to “About”

  1. tom mcgovern July 2, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    Have enjoyed the pool and park for yearsMy 94 year old uncle just passed away,buy had storys to tell about the beach!!Can’t wait to see the new improvements,like more modern bathhouse.

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