2148 Ocean St, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA
Owned By: Town of Marshfield
This 1.7 acre park has river views, a short trail, a boardwalk, and a picnic area, plus a Marshfield Veterans Honor Roll.
South River Park provides open space in a densely populated commercial area, which means that those who live and work nearby have convenient access to a beautiful, natural landscape. Before the park was established, the property had become overgrown with invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed. Now that the vegetation has been tamed, a charming stretch of the river has been revealed. For those wondering, “What was here before?” most recently it was the Buckles & Boards ski shop.
Established in 2012, the South River Park serves as a companion to Veterans Memorial Park, just a few hundred yards upstream. It features a granite tribute to soldiers who served recent wars. Over 1200 names of Marshfield residents who served in the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Conflicts are inscribed on the large memorial.
Also featured in the park is a marker acknowledging the North and South Rivers’ National Natural Landmark status. Although the designation was put in place in 1977, the marker was not installed until 2017. It reads “This site possesses exceptional value as an illustration of the nation’s natural heritage and contributes to a better understanding of the environment.” The honor was conferred by the National Park Service and the US Department of the Interior.
South River Park is part of a longer-term plan for the Town of Marshfield — connecting all of the green spaces along the South River in the downtown area to create a South River Greenway. This would pull together Veterans Memorial Park, South River Park, Pratt Farm, the Keville Footbridge, Dandelion Park and the Rail Trail/Bridle Trail.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
Follow the ADA-accessible 0.25-mile trail network from the parking area down an incline to the Honor Roll. Continue downhill to the boardwalk, which offers a view of the South River. The trail consists of stone dust, pavement and boardwalk.
Habitats and Wildlife
The property was designed to respect the sensitive environment and serve as an example of responsible riverfront use. Planting materials were chosen for their habitat value and drought tolerance. Berry producing shrubs and a wildflower meadow filled with pollinating native flowers and grasses were designed to attract birds, bees and butterflies. Occasionally a great blue heron can be spotted wading in the river. You might also see bald eagles here. In April and May, watch for herring making their way upstream to the fish ladder at Veterans Memorial Park. They are on their way to their spawning grounds farther upstream.
The South River originates deep in Duxbury. Its source is in the Round Pond area, and from there it winds unobtrusively through the woods for several miles. Although one can view it from Route 3, and also from both the South River Bog and the Camp Wing Conservation Area, it remains a narrow and mostly un-navigable stream until just below Veterans Memorial Park. From there it flows through South River Park, behind the playground of South River School, and under the Willow Street and Francis Keville Bridges. Wider at that point, and navigable at most tides, its course winds through the marshes as it runs parallel to Route 139, all the way to Rexhame. From there the river turns northward. It flows for 3 miles between Humarock and the mainland to Fourth Cliff, where it joins the North River at its outlet to the sea.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 1.7 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Benches, shaded picnic area.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: South River