The Northern Area Greenway Task Force spent 18 months (2006 through 2008) exploring the feasibility of creating a greenway along the Ipswich River. The Task Force recommended calling the trail the Ipswich River Greenway. The goal was to link together Town-owned lands extending from the end of Strout Avenue easterly to Haverhill Street. Over half of the proposed greenway would follow existing trails through the Town Forest, the Biller Conservation Area (encompassing the Lobs Pound Mill site and Marion Woods), the Mattera Conservation Area, and Bare Meadow Conservation Area. Other trails, including a proposed boardwalk along the Ipswich River from the Town Forest to Mill Street, would be built using a combination of volunteers and grant-supported outside expertise. Several focal points were proposed including accessible fishing piers in the Town Forest and at the Lobs Pound Mill site, and an accessible wildlife viewing platform at Bare Meadow. Maps of the proposed route can be found here.
Several sections of the Greenway have been built or improved. The Department of Fish and Game constructed an accessible fishing area at the Lobs Pound Mill site and Mass Riverways funded a feasibility study for the boardwalk. Under the Trails Committee and with grant support from REI, Understanding Disabilities, and a state Recreation Trails Grant, the Greenway now extends from the Mattera Conservation Area on Main Street through Bare Meadow to Haverhill Street. The Mattera to Bare Meadow section consists of a 400' accessible trail leading to the Bare Meadow viewing platform.
The Town would need a large grant or Town funds to construct the boardwalk along the Ipswich River (approx. 1/2 mile long). There are no plans to complete this section.
The goals of the greenway are to:
- Improve public access,
- To more fully utilize these lands through interconnection and trails,
- To establish and enhance passive recreation uses, and
- To protect and preserve the natural environment and the qualities which make these lands unique.