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Volunteers Work to Remove the Japanese Knotweed

21 Mar

Thank you to the Charles River Conservancy and to volunteers from BU, Northeastern and the community for their work Saturday morning at the park. They worked to get rid of the very invasive Japanese knotweed along the shoreline without using herbicides. As part of Phase II-2 park improvements, the shoreline will be replanted with native grasses. But first, we must get rid of the knotweed! The idea came from here.

Volunteers cut down the knotweed and installed steel mesh to discourage the knotweed’s growth. Here’s the hope: when the knotweed grows its dominant shoot, it will meet the steel mesh, causing the shoot to branch, inhibiting its growth, and, we hope, depleting the rhizome.  It’s worth a try…

2023 Programming at the Park: Upcoming Events & Ideas Solicited

31 Jan

Mass Audubon’s Urban Nature Center at the Powder Magazine won’t reopen until April 15, but Mass Audubon is still offering FREE programs at the park. Learn about them here. A few are listed below.

Also Paul Kelley, Mass Audubon’s Cambridge Community Education Coordinator, is busy planning programs for the coming year. If you have ideas, please email Paul at If you’re interested in organizing a cultural event or movement-based classes like dancing, please submit this form: Mass Audubon Community Partner Collaboration Form. Paul also welcomes your feedback: Mass Audubon Magazine Beach  2022 Feedback and 2023 Snow-based Program Sign-up.

Mass Audubon estimates that they served 5,000-7,000 visitors in 2022, including more than 1,000 at their six Nature in the City Festivals and 735 participants in their Paddle for Empowerment Program.

How nice it is to have them at the park!

Winter Bird Walk: Bird Away the Winter Blues

February 4, 2023 (Saturday) 8:00-9:30am

There is nothing like the beautiful color of songbirds in the snow! We will enjoy our winter resident songbirds and ducks, and… Read more

Winter Nature Photography: Intro to Smartphone Photography

February 11, 2023 (Saturday) 3:00-4:00pm

Learn how to become an expert with your smartphone camera and capture and edit the best of nature on the go with Dx Lanson, Me… Read more

A Refuge Along the River

30 Dec

Who would have thunk 10 years ago that Magazine Beach would be the beautiful park it is today, with walking paths along the river, places to gather under the big old shade trees and, now, the Mass Audubon Nature Center.

Three other features will transform the park in 2023:

  1. the FREE Olympic-sized pool that is being rebuilt now;
  2. the last eyesore, the sunken parking lot between the pool and the river, will become a grassy beach and a new dock and outlook will be added, providing greater water access (Phase II-2);
  3. the current exercise area will be revamped with new equipment and a new surface.

All of this is happening because of DCR’s leadership, Cambridge’s financial investment, and the community’s advocacy, led by us, Magazine Beach Partners (MBP).

How grateful we are for this urban oasis: to DCR; to our partners the Charles River Conservancy, Mass Audubon and the Riverside Boat Club; and to YOU. Working together, we have accomplished so much.

In 2022, MBP:

  • contributed $130k towards Phase II-2;
  • served as the fiscal sponsor for the Plastic Tapestry project and donated $2k towards it;
  • donated 30 Adirondack chairs for park use;
  • sponsored yoga and West African dance classes;
  • supported Mass Audubon as they launched their urban nature center by publicizing their programs and connecting them with the community;
  • led or assisted with leaf raking, branch collection and park cleanups;
  • reported broken limbs, graffiti and trash and yard waste for pick up to DCR many times! They can’t be everywhere and we are the eyes on the park.

We welcome gifts for park improvements. 

Donate by PayPal or send a check made out to “Magazine Beach Partners” to MBP Treasurer Decia Goodwin at 175 Chestnut St., Cambridge, MA 02139. (We are a 501c3.; gifts may be tax deductible.)

Wishing you the happiest of new years!

Cathie Zusy for the Amazing MBP Board: Ken Carson, Brian Conway, Richard Garver, Decia Goodwin, Paul Lyons & Fred Yalouris

Note: While the Nature Center is closed, Mass Audubon is offering programs at the park this winter, including bird walks Jan. 7 and Feb. 4 and a nature photography class Jan. 14. Click here for details.

New Flowers & Fences

28 Nov
Partridge pea

A few weeks ago, the Charles River Conservancy (CRC), Mass Audubon and Magazine Beach Partners, led by the CRC, sowed seeds along the river shoreline. DCR’s seed mixture, “a low growing upland seed mix,” includes grasses, rushes and wildflowers. 

The native wildflowers include: the partridge pea, tall white beardtongue, gray goldenrod, smooth blue aster and slender mountain mint. The grasses and rushes include: little bluestem, Virginia wildly, deer tongue, upland bentgrass and path rush.

Look for little plants to emerge in the spring. 

The fences along the shoreline remain up to protect this new life. Thank you Mass Audubon for fortifying the fences! May the seeds settle in during the winter and germinate in the warm spring rains.

Dogs have access to the river at the boat launch, along the willow bushes, beside the willow stump and west of the Powder Magazine. Dog walkers, please keep your pups out of the fenced areas!

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