By Kezia Bacon, Correspondent

It’s time to get outdoors! As we collectively navigate the coronavirus pandemic and the need for Social Distancing, experts are recommending fresh air and exercise as ways to reduce stress and promote good health. We are so fortunate, here on the South Shore, that there are hundreds of trails and conservation areas open to the general public. A broad assortment of beautiful landscapes and captivating terrains provides plenty of space to explore!

It’s part of our mission, here at the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, to give you the resources you need to get outdoors and explore the forests, meadows, rivers, and other nature areas of the South Shore. Last year we revamped out website, adding more than 100 detailed property listings to help you find places to hike, paddle, fish, or just contemplate the natural world. These listings include detailed notes about each property’s trail system and history, as well as the wildlife that inhabits it, and even where to park. And we continue to add new properties each month!

PLAN A WALK

To find a place to walk today, visit ExploreSouthShore.org, click on “Hiking,” and either narrow your search by choosing a town, or simply scroll down through the listings. Currently there are 122 hiking spots to choose from. Also on our website are over 300 “Nature” articles by Kezia Bacon. Many of them feature additional walking spots and points of interest. You’ll find them all at https://www.nsrwa.org/category/nature-by-kezia-bacon/

GRAB A MAP

Last year we also published the fifth edition of our Recreation Guide Map, which we are making available for free to all for a limited time. It features 97 conservation areas, boat launches, historic sites and other points of interest along the North and South Rivers. To get your complimentary copy, stop by our office at 214 South Street in Norwell, directly across from Silver Brook Lane. Look for the wooden NSRWA sign that hangs in our front yard. We’ve placed a storage bin on our office steps for easy access.

EXPLORE AND WIN

We strongly encourage you to enter our 50 Places To Explore Contest. Visit https://www.nsrwa.org/get-outdoors/50-places-to-explore-contest/ to see our list of 50 places to visit in 2020. Each time you go, post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #ExploreSouthShore and you’ll be entered to win a monthly prize. The contest rules are available at the same link.

READY, SET, GO!

We hope we are making it easy for you to get outdoors and explore. Remember that doing so might help you to feel better as you cope with the anxiety and confusion of these uncertain times. Social distancing may be inconvenient, but it’s very important, as it helps to slow the spread of the coronavirus. These words, from Ralph Waldo Emerson, have provided some solace to us here on the NSRWA team. “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that you cannot sincerely try to help another person without actually helping yourself.”

Please email us at info@nsrwa.org if you have questions. Below is a short list of places to consider for your next walk.

Weymouth
Great Esker Park
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/great-esker-park/

Pembroke
Tucker Preserve
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/tucker-preserve/

Duxbury
Round Pond Trails
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/round-pond-trails/

Marshfield
John Little Conservation Area
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/john-little-conservation-area/

Norwell
Stetson Meadows
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/stetson-meadows/

Hanover
Chapman’s Landing & Iron Mine Brook Trails
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/chapmans-landing-and-iron-mine-brook-trails/

Rockland
George Anderson Town Forest
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/george-anderson-rockland-town-forest/

Hanson
Alton J. Smith Reserve
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/alton-j-smith-reserve/

Abington
Island Grove Park
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/island-grove-park/

Whitman
Whitman Town Park
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/whitman-town-park/

Scituate
Hubbell Preserve
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/hubbell-preserve/

Hingham
Bare Cove Park
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/bare-cove-park/

Cohasset
Whitney & Thayer Woods
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/whitney-thayer-woods/

Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit www.nsrwa.org. You will also find 25+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there.