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Fundraiser to Help Save Hellcat Trail

Help save the Hellcat Trail and improve boardwalks on the refuge! Individuals may demonstrate their direct support for the Hellcat Trail and refuge by ordering a new synthetic plank made of recycled materials that is engraved with a name they designate for a donation of $100.  All revenues generated by their donation will be provided to the Parker River NWR for the Hellcat Trail project.  With a corporate membership in Friends and a plank donation for $350, businesses may also participate in this important cause.  Friends goal for 2018 is to raise $100,000 to be used for the first phase of this project, the replacement of the Marsh Loop, which was closed for safety reasons in October 2017.  To receive an order form, please contact Friends at, or make a donation on line at
The Hellcat Interpretive Trail System’s (Hellcat Trail) at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, MA has been a treasured destination for visitors for more than 35 years. Approximately 300,000 people annually visit the refuge for bird watching, wildlife photography, environmental and conservation education, and other outdoor recreation activities.  It is one of Newburyport’s top tourist attractions.
The Hellcat Trail consists of the interconnected Marsh and Dune Loops containing  5,300 linear feet of elevated boardwalk meandering through dunes, vernal pools, maritime shrub land, maritime forest, and marsh habitats with an overlook providing views of Cape Ann, the Plum Island Sound, and coastline extending north into Southern Maine.  Forty eight percent of Parker River visitors hike on the Hellcat Trail, including numerous school groups, families, and participants in Mass Audubon birdwatching tours.
The Hellcat Trail boardwalk must be replaced to maintain public safety and comply with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) standards for accessible design.  Parker River’s 2017 replacement trail design will widen narrow trail sections, replace stairways with gradual inclines and switchbacks, and more efficiently connect the Marsh and Dune Loops.  Upon replacement, the Hellcat Trail will be one of the longest accessible trails on a barrier island in the U.S.  The trail will be replaced in phases, as funding becomes available, beginning with the Marsh Loop.
The Friends of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Inc., is an independent, volunteer-staffed, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the refuge.  The Friends recognize the important role the refuge plays not only in wildlife conservation, but also in its contribution to the economic vitality of the region and in providing recreational opportunities consistent with wildlife conservation.
Ted Olsson, President, (978) 994-0948

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