River Access Committee


West Newbury residents voted at West Newbury's April 29, 2019, Spring Town Meeting to approve $75,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to aid Essex County Greenbelt’s purchase of a property on River Road providing open space and river access.

Greenbelt fundraised $140,000 for this acquisition, whose cost was significantly below market value. Existing CPA monies available only for Open Space & Recreation also funded this acquisition. Town funds were matched nearly 2:1. 

The Town now holds a conservation restriction on the property. River access for cartop boats is planned.

Map of Property

Public Benefits

These 31 acres rise up from the Merrimack River and River Road, encompassing mature woodlands with stands of giant white pines, oaks, maples, and paper birches, wetlands, and a portion of a yearround stream. The gently rolling terrain on the south side of River Road provides ample opportunity for a meandering trail now on the property. Wetlands on this south side provide important habitat for species that rely upon seasonal vernal pools (there is one certified pool partially on the subject property), a habitat type that is increasingly scarce. Intact forests are important for helping to purify water flowing to the Merrimack River. Both intact forests and wetlands are critical for resilience to the adverse impacts climate change, such as floodwater retention during high water effects.

The two pieces on the north side of River Road lie adjacent to the Merrimack River. One of these is almost completely flooded, and likely harbors wild rice, a rare plant that is critical food and habitat for waterfowl. The other piece is dry enough to offer the opportunity for foot access to the Merrimack River.  Increasing river access was identified as a community need in West Newbury's 2018 Open Space and Recreation Plan.

Board Members

Elisa Grammer

Committee Members

Elisa Grammer

7/1/23 to 6/30/26

Barry LaCroix

7/1/23 to 6/30/25

Vacancy One