Conservation Park, Driftway, Scituate, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Scituate
This 450-acre Scituate Conservation property features a panoramic view of the Herring River and its salt marshes. The Town of Scituate purchased the land from the Boston Sand and Gravel Company. In the 1930s, Boston Sand and Gravel mined for the property for projects such as the construction of Logan International Airport. You can still see vestiges of the wharf the company constructed in order to transport sand via barge to Boston.
Walking trails, a fishing pier, a small trailered boat launching ramp, an open field, and picnic benches allow for public use of this popular site. Convenient access to the Driftway Multi-Purpose Path (bike trail). Launch your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard here and explore the Herring River and its marshes, but avoid the river mouth beyond The Spit.
Tide Math: High tide at the Driftway Conservation Park is about 45-60 minutes after the Boston high tide.
Set off from (here) to go clamming. (See the North River Shellfishing Map for locations.) The clam flats in both the North and South Rivers are open from November 1 to May 31st. If there is a Red Tide, they may close sooner.
Visit the 1.25 mile A. J. McEachern Memorial Trail, a combined path of pavement, gravel, and sand that is a fantastic place for dog walkers and bird watchers, or just to get away for a while.
The public parking lot can be busy in the summer due to the property's popular boat launch. This is also a great place to view Scituate's wind turbine.
Beginning in 1914, the Boston Sand and Gravel Company undertook an extensive earth removal project on this site and beyond. Colman's Hill once stood on the inland side of today's Driftway, from the Greenbush railroad station north to Kent Street, offering a broad view of the entire estuary. Little by little, Boston Sand and Gravel began moving the material that made up the hills -- first by steam-driven sand scows, then by tugboats and barges, and later by trucks and trains. By 1963, over 14 million tons of sand and gravel were removed and the hills were gone. That year, a dramatic fire destroyed the sand & gravel company.
The 1.25 mile trail is well-maintained and easy to walk, thanks in part to flat terrain. Stroller-friendly.
Habitats and Wildlife
Many species of bird call this marshy conservation land home due to its proximity to the river. Look for egrets, yellowlegs, willets, and sandpipers at low tides. Just downstream of the pier, look for bank swallows nesting in holes in the riverbanks. Kingfishers also sometimes nest here.
Look for fox and deer along the trail.
The Herring River flows into the North River near The Spit.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: Yes
Size: 450 acres
Hours: Dawn - Dusk
Parking: On site parking.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Boat Ramp: Yes
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes