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Fall Delights

15 Nov

It’s been a spectacular fall at Magazine Beach with amazing color, the Head of the Charles, many Charles River Conservancy cleanups, much leaf raking (and playing with leaves), and so many great Mass Audubon events.

The Nature Center will close this Sunday at 5pm for the winter, but December and January bird walks are planned. Check here for upcoming programs.

Something to look forward to: 

If all goes as planned, native wildflowers will spring up along the river shoreline next summer. Working together, the CRC, Mass Audubon and MBP (with seeds from DCR), just sowed the seed.

The Head of the Charles Regatta Returns!

20 Oct

Update: Riverside Boat Club won 18 medals and finished second to Princeton in total team points!

Catherine Widgery & Ann Cann, Women’s Veteran Double: Gold   ***COURSE RECORD***

John Mannion and Amel Younis, Men’s Lightweight Double: Gold

Mat Terwiesch & Ian Richardson, Men’s Lightweight Double: Bronze

Men’s Veteran Four: Gold

And the Women’s Club Eight got the Special Medal!

Way to go, Riverside!


The Head of the Charles starts tomorrow, Friday at 7:45am. It is the largest 3-day regatta in the world, with 11,000 athletes rowing in over 1,900 boats in 61 events.

Single and double sculls will launch from Magazine Beach—a great place to view the race. This year the Powder Magazine will be open as well from 12noon-5pm, Saturday and Sunday, so there will be access to Mass Audubon’s Nature Center and its public bathrooms!

Magazine Beach’s own Riverside Boat Club has 130 members competing this year, more than half of its total membership. Look for their blue and white striped tops and oars. Go, Riverside!

Races times:

Friday, 7:45am-10:16am

Saturday, 7:45am-3:22pm

Sunday, 7:45am-3:38pm

More info and things to look for below, courtesy of RBC rower Ernest Cook:

Riverside Boat Club is fielding entries in 32 different events. That reflects the demographics of the club’s membership, which ranges widely in age from early 20s to 70+. Riverside is also known for having a strong contingent of lightweight rowers. Men competing in singles cannot weigh more than 160 lbs. and the cap for women is 130 lbs.

Simmons College and Boston College High School teams also share the Riverside boat house and have crew entries in the regatta.

Below are some of Riverside’s notable entries. But be sure to cheer for anyone in the distinctive blue and white stripes!


9:16 Women’s Grandmaster Single, Bow #1.

Tricia Carney won this event last year, can she repeat?

9:57 Women’s Grandmaster Double, Bow #2

Lynn Osborn and Patricia Belden, both former club presidents, could take gold.


7:45 Club Single, Bow #2.

Adriaan Venter has been very fast in events leading up to the Head of the Charles.

8:44 Women’s Master Double, Bow #3.

Tina Vandersteel and Alexis Sneff are always fast.

8:57 Men’s Master Double, Bow #1.

Former U.S. National Team rowers Pete Morelli and Sean Wolf have won this event a few times, but every year they grow older and presumably slower?

10:05 Men’s Veteran’s Four, three Riverside gold medal winners in the Grandmaster Four have aged up into the Veteran’s category (70+), but some younger crews have been seeded behind them, so expect some passing to take place.

12:24 Men’s Club Four, Bow #5 and #6.

Last year Riverside had two crews who finished within 1 second of each other. This year they are lined up one in front of the other, so they will be competing fiercely against each other for bragging rights, maybe some hardware, and no doubt some beer.

1:09 Men’s Club Eight, Bow #5.

They are defending champions among the “true” club (non-collegiate) teams. They’re looking just as fast this year.

1:24 Women’s Club Eight, Bow #6

Riverside’s crew is also looking to repeat as club champion this year.

1:42-2:20 Look for an armada of Riverside lightweight boats in the Men’s and Women’s Champ Doubles and Lightweight Singles. Riverside’s competitors include many current and recent members of the U.S. National Team and one member of the Palestinian National Team.

It’s Happening! The Pool is Being Redone.

29 Sep

Soon there will be new decks and a new Olympic-sized pool–that doesn’t leak! And DCR just had the path before the bathhouse redone so that it now drains properly. And dozens of Charles River Conservancy volunteers will be at the park tomorrow doing their magic. PROGRESS!

Update: CRC volunteers removed invasives nightshade, bittersweet, ailanthus, dodder and bindweed on Friday. They also painted benches and picnic tables and picked up so much trash. Take a walk at the park. It’s looking beautiful!!!! Below, the CRC’s Sasha Vallieres and Louisa and Kailin beside an area that DCR just cut to restore the view!

What a Summer!

23 Sep

Art, music, nature, dance, poetry and so much more graced Magazine Beach. Hearty thanks to Mass Audubon and to the neighborhood talent that brought new energy, excitement and community to the park. Among the local talent were: Rob Riman, Scott Ruescher, Cecily Miller Michelle Lougee, Ken Fields, Linda Wells, Carol Faulkner and Carol Sylla.

The Charles River Conservancy has also been an awesome partner, organizing regular park cleanups and soon, leading its vegetation management.

DCR—this is a State park!—not only redid the bathhouse for the 2022 season but also managed the pool, which was such a refuge during those hot, hot days of summer. DCR has also been on the case removing graffiti and maintaining the grounds. (And they are planning now for the redo of the pool—this winter—and redo of the landscape between the pool and the river (Phase II-2)—next spring.)

Thank you, Cambridge, too, for your financial commitment to the park. Your engagement has inspired DCR investment. And thanks for your care of the playing fields!

And THANK YOU, WONDERFUL COMMUNITY. YOU, in fact, are the ones that truly inspired and continue to inspire the revitalization of this 17-acre green oasis!

Summer is now over, but park programming will continue into November. There will be West African dance & nature programs at the park THIS WEEKEND and much more to come.


West African Dancing, Kayaking & So Much More!

15 Sep

This weekend, join us for MORE kayaking and West African dancing and music and bird watching and yoga and more dancing (with a DJ) at the park! Looks like a cooler, beautiful couple of days… For details, see:

Also, look for action at the park. Today, the Charles River Conservancy is leading a cleanup, and Eversource will soon be boring in a few 2’ X 2’ sections of the playing fields (see previous post). DCR is also having its contractor redo the pathway to the bathhouse. The grade isn’t right. 

Next week DCR will be cutting down the vegetation along the river behind the pool in preparation for the Head of the Charles—coming soon: Oct. 21-23! Also in preparation for the HOC, DCR just put chemicals in the river to kill the invasive milfoil.

Over the last week, we’ve had two meetings with DCR, Cambridge, the CRC, Mass Audubon and Biodiversity Builders about managing the vegetation along the river. Our wonderful partners will be working with volunteers to remove invasives and sow more native seeds along the shoreline this fall. Thank you, all!

Eversource at Work

30 Aug
Proposed plans for the high voltage transmission line that will go under the playing fields at the park, linking the Kendall Sq. substation with one in Allston/Brighton

Maybe you’re wondering, what’s that big barge doing in the middle of the river? Or will wonder come September, what is all that equipment on the playing fields? Here are some answers…

This week Eversource is conducting geotechnical borings in the Charles River near the park. The week of September 12th, they will probably be doing borings in the park’s playing fields.

The purpose of the river borings is to investigate subsurface conditions beneath the Charles River to further the design and engineering of a proposed underground electric transmission line crossing underneath the river bed as part of Eversource’s Greater Cambridge Energy Program. The goal of this program—scheduled to happen between 2024 & 2028—is to provide reliable and redundant energy systems for Cambridge, Somerville and Allston/Brighton. 

According to Eversource, the river borings will be conducted by an experienced marine geotechnical boring contractor that is specifically outfitted to perform such in-water borings. The contractor will access the boring locations using an approximately 25’ by 23’ floating barge from which the geotechnical boring drill rig will be operated. To conduct each boring, a 4.5” diameter casing will be extended from the water surface to the mud line, and the boring will be entirely “cased” through the water column to prevent discharge of sediment and potential turbidity while also allowing for the collection and recirculation of water used for lubrication of the drill head during the boring. All equipment and management of fluids will happen on the barge. There are no planned impacts to water navigation. 

Around September 12th, Eversource will also do three 8″ diameter borings on the Magazine Beach playing fields. The goal, again, will be to assess the subsurface geological conditions (i.e., layers, thickness and type of sand, silt, clay, rock, etc.) to help inform the design and engineering of the horizontal directional drill crossing of the river for the proposed transmission line.  Each boring will take about 1-2 days to complete.  Afterwards, Eversource will replace the top 12” of soil and reseed the area.

Have questions? Call the Eversource Transmission Information Line at 1-800-793-2202, or send an email to

Open Flame Ban at All DCR Properties!

23 Aug

See previous post about the August 13 brush fire at Magazine Beach.

Brush Fire at Magazine Beach Last Saturday

17 Aug

There was a big brush fire at the park on Saturday. Thankfully, no trees were affected. Thanks to the Cambridge Fire Department for putting it out! See their Twitter post below.

The park is so dry. Please be so careful about putting out cigarettes and hot coals. (Or better yet, don’t use either at the park until we have lots of rain!) And please don’t dump hot coals at the foot of our beautiful old shade trees. We need them! Sparks fly…

Music, Smore’s, Foodtrucks & Fun

11 Aug

Two great events at the park this week so far: last night, a Hip Hop and R & B show featuring Bridgeside Cyphr, Terry Borderline and the Suns and the CCC’s Hip Hop Transformation. And tonight, a concert sponsored by the Boston Music Festival and REI featuring storytelling and music by Valerie Stephens and Lindsay Foote. Still to come: Sunday: Bird Watching and the Be Free By the Bridge Festival, and then Monday: Stories & Songs. Thank you, Mass Audubon, for bringing so many wonderful programs to the park, and for organizing drop-in activities at the Powder Magazine! For more information, click here.

The pool closes Sunday, August 21 at 6:45pm, so enjoy it while you can. The spray deck will be open until September 18.

Thank Goodness for Magazine Beach!

7 Aug

During this long heat wave, the park has been the place to cool off. The FREE Olympic-sized pool is open daily 11:15am-6:45pm and the spraydeck, 8am-8pm. Take a dip!

And there’s a cool breeze. Many are picnicking today, including the Hoddington and Johnson families, there to celebrate a 40th birthday.


On Thursday, DCR, Magazine Beach Partners, the Charles River Conservancy and Mass Audubon met about the care of the park. As many of you know, Cambridge maintains the eastern half of the park, tending the fields and collecting trash and recycling from the Cottage Farm parking lot (beside the boat launch). DCR maintains the rest of the park with the help of the City, the CRC, Mass Audubon and we, MBP (the community), too. 

Park partners at the Charles River Conservancy and Mass Audubon examine the shoreline plantings.

Now that Cambridge’s Conservation Commission has signed off on DCR’s new vegetation management plan for the Charles River Basin, the CRC and Mass Audubon can begin to do more focused invasive removal at the park. FANTASTIC! This fall DCR will sow more native plant seeds and plant more seedlings along the shoreline. ALSO FANTASTIC! This means, however, that the the shoreline fencing will stay up for now to give the new plantings a chance to survive. A little rain will help, too! Thanks for your patience about the fence… Working together, we’re committed to making Magazine Beach the urban oasis that it’s got the potential to be.

Note: If you see problems at the park (trash cans needing to be emptied, fallen branches, or issues relating to the bathhouse or pool), please email and cc me at Send a photo and note the location, of course!

There are Three Festivals at the Park This Week–on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday! For more info, click here.