Help Save the Only State Scenic Protected River!

Photo of North River above by: Jim McIntyre

Your Action Made a Difference!
Thanks to everyone who signed our petition asking Governor Baker to reinstate the funding needed to maintain the operations for the Scenic and Recreational Protective Order for the North River. To date, more than 2,600 people signed the petition and it already has made a difference in protecting our waters! Read more here.

Dear fellow North River lovers, the river needs your help! We all have received so much joy, peace, and wonder from the amazing North River, particularly this year, but we need you to act now to keep it safe, protected, and scenic for everyone and for future generations. Please sign onto our letter to Governor Baker asking him to reinstate the small amount of funding needed to maintain the North River’s Scenic and Recreational qualities for all to enjoy. Our local state representatives are fighting to get this funding in the state budget and need our help to ensure the Governor and others in the state legislature will support it. Other ways you can help include:

  • Call, email or write your local selectmen (if you are from one of the 6 towns within the corridor Scituate, Marshfield, Norwell, Pembroke, Hanover, and Hanson) and ask them to send a letter to the Governor
  • Share the petition via social media and ask your friends to sign.
  • Or ask them to text Scenic River to (781) 808-3194 and they will get a link to fill out the petition form
  • Attend our Annual Meeting on Friday, November 6, 2020 to find our more about the issue.

Dear Governor Baker,

We are writing to request your support for the reinstatement of the operational funding needed to continue fulfilling the requirements of G.L. c. 21, s. 17B, and c. 367, s. 62, of the Acts of 1978 Scenic and Recreational River Protective Order for the North River.

The North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA) is a nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1,900 members that have dedicated themselves for 50 years to protecting our local waters and watersheds on the South Shore. One of the NSRWA’s earliest achievements was to develop a regional strategy to protect the North River; a 12-mile-long tidal estuary that courses through 6 towns on the South Shore: Scituate, Marshfield, Norwell, Pembroke, Hanover, and Hanson.

In 1977, the North and South Rivers received a National Natural Landmark designation and remains 1 of only 11 within the Commonwealth. As part of its efforts to save this unique river system in 1978, the NSRWA successfully petitioned the Division of Environmental Management (today’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, or DCR) to adopt the North River as the first and only Scenic and Recreational River under the State’s Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act. The order’s goal is to maintain the river’s scenic and recreational values for the public’s use and enjoyment and involved placing a deed restriction on over 600 properties that lie within the 300-foot scenic corridor along its entire length. The order has done a remarkable job at keeping the North River scenic and protected for over 42 years as is evidenced by the thousands of kayakers, boaters, swimmers and fishermen that use it annually.

For 42 years, the North River Scenic and Recreational Protection Order has afforded this river special protection and the implementation of the order has been funded through and under the jurisdiction of the DCR. This 42-year effort in protecting a treasured state and federally recognized public resource is now in jeopardy as DCR unilaterally has withdrawn further funding support without sufficient prior notice or warning to adapt in time. The North River Scenic and Recreational Order led to the creation of the North River Commission (NRC) comprising volunteers appointed from the 6 towns abutting the river corridor. Entrusted to oversee the successful execution of regulations consistent with the order, the NRC has provided management of the river’s use via seasonal river patrols and monthly regulatory oversight public hearings to review permits for development projects proposed within the river corridor.

Continued stewardship of this irreplaceable, public natural resource supports a regional engine of economic growth and aligns with prudent public health guidance to safely recreate outdoors, particularly during the current pandemic. Leaving the North River, the thousands that use it every year, and the surrounding communities without a means to administer the order flies in the face of your Administration’s longstanding track record of transparency and good governance in working with the public.

Recognizing how difficult funding is at this time, we hope you will agree that the approximately $50,000 budget needed leverages many benefits to the region and the state. The funding would provide continued preservation of this unique tidal watershed by maintaining regional economic prosperity, supporting our tax base and property values, and providing high quality healthy outdoor recreational opportunities for all citizens of the Commonwealth.

We need your help to support funding in the budget for this effort and require the DCR Commissioner to reinstate the funding and protect this amazing resource. We look forward to meeting with you and your staff to swiftly resolve this issue on behalf of the only Scenic and Recreational Protected River in the Commonwealth.


Samantha Woods
NSRWA Executive Director

Sign On to this Letter Here