Published on August 9, 2017

Latest News on Boardwalk


New Boardwalk Officially Open to the Public!

State inspectors were out at Stony Brook and Bristol Blake State Reservation on Monday, August 7, and at 11:30 they gave the “all clear” to reopen the boardwalk to public access.

The boardwalk is now officially open again!

We are planning a brief, public ceremony on Saturday, August 26, to celebrate the re-opening of this iconic landmark. Stay tuned—details to follow.


July 26, 2017

Aerial view of new boardwalk concept

After evaluating the renovation process and progress, we are happy to announce that the boardwalk will officially be re-opened on Saturday, August 26!  

We're planning a dedication ceremony to celebrate the re-opening, so keep an eye out for details on our website and on Facebook.

June 28, 2017

It’s been well over a year now since the boardwalk at Stony Brook was closed by the DCR after they declared it unsafe and in need of a complete overhaul. Now, we are glad to say that we will have it back! 

Mass Audubon Board members visiting new boardwalk

We expect to re-open the boardwalk to the public in mid-July. Members of Mass Audubon's Board and other key officials already got a sneak peek of the new boardwalk during a recent visit. 

We're planning a dedication ceremony to celebrate the re-opening, so keep an eye out for details on our website and on Facebook!

June 5, 2017

The construction crew from Coastal Marine Construction is making good progress. Most of the boardwalk is set, and they are preparing for the installation of the two pedestrian bridges—the final phase of the project.

View of new boardwalk facing east
View of new boardwalk facing east

We expect work on the boardwalk will be completed by the end of June. You can see the progress being made in the two images shown here.

The first was taken from the far end of the boardwalk looking back east toward the main platform.

The second was taken from the old boardwalk, facing southwest toward the deck, and offers a good perspective on how much higher the new boardwalk will be above the water than the old one.

March 30, 2017

Coastal Marine Construction has officially started work on the boardwalk replacement project! Construction began yesterday, Wednesday, March 29.

Height difference of old and new boardwalk
View of height difference between the old boardwalk and the new

In order to access the boardwalk, the contractor needed to block off part of the Main Loop Trail so that they can bring materials and machinery to the site without endangering our visitors. 

Consequently, a section of the Main Loop Trail is now closed to all visitors (see map detail). The section extends from about 100 feet above the 1st spillway, toward the Nature Center, down to the boardwalk, and around to the 2nd spillway

The contractor and State estimate that the construction will be completed between late May and late June.

March 23, 2017

Main Loop Trail section closed for construction
Main Loop Trail section closed for construction

As we reported last month, the DCR awarded the contract to Coastal Marine Construction LLC. The State also stipulated that the replacement be completed by the end of June 2017.

But in the most recent meeting with all the principals, the contractor expressed confidence that they can complete the project early by as much as several weeks, not withstanding any unforeseen complications. Their timeline suggests that work will begin before the end of March.

Some of the loop trail may be closed for safety reasons on your next visit, but know that we will have a new boardwalk by this summer.

DCR laying a cover over 1st spillway
DCR Supervisor Tom Ashton standing on the protective pad laid over the first spillway

February 22, 2017

Just a few weeks ago, the state chose a contractor from a list of applicants interested in the project. Coastal Marine Construction has signed a contract with the state. They have been out to the site to prepare a strategy and timeline for completing the work, which they are eager to begin in March.

If everything goes as planned, we should have a new boardwalk that will be able to withstand the rigors of winter and still provide the panoramic views and iconic vistas you would expect. We will post more details as we get them, but initial expectations are that the process will be completed by June.

October 26, 2016

Construction on the new boardwalk

We are delighted that work continues to move forward on the boardwalk at Bristol Blake State Reservation.

The Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation has completed their surveys for rare plants and animals. In addition, they have completed their soil analysis and are ready to appear before the Norfolk Conservation Commission to discuss the potential impacts of their work to remove the existing boardwalk and install the new one. At the same time, they will outline the steps they will take to minimize those impacts and protect the watershed’s plants and animals.

As we understand it, approval from the Conservation Commission is one of the final steps in the process, and hopefully, we will see the actual work of replacing the boardwalk start sometime after that. This remains a complicated process with potential roadblocks at every step, so a timeline for completion has not been published, but we remain confident in the DCR’s commitment to replacing the boardwalk as quickly as possible.

August 24, 2016

A repair crew working on the boardwalk

Although we don’t yet have access to the boardwalk, the news from the state is good. The engineers have a staging area and the ecological impact has been assessed. All of the necessary soil and rare wildlife inventories have been completed and the permit process is well underway—a very important step for protecting the wetland’s flora and fauna.

Planning for the new boardwalk is more than half completed and is expected to be finalized in September. The Department of Conservation and Recreation is doing a great job of keeping this complicated process moving forward; recognizing the significant role the boardwalk plays in the community’s enjoyment of Stony Brook.

July 25, 2016

Engineers were out in mid-July to talk about repairs to the beloved boardwalk leading out into the Stony Brook wetlands. Right now work is strictly in the planning phase but very exciting to anticipate. Preliminary plans call for the section of the boardwalk that leads out over the water to be completely removed and replaced.

An analysis of the failures of the original boardwalk indicated that it was too close to the water and that it had too many supports which led to ice damage during severe winters. Engineers are considering making the new boardwalk with wider spans and using a decking that will allow light through to the water.

Currently, work includes planning and working with state and local governments and agencies to make sure the removal of the old boardwalk and the installation of the new one do not cause any environmental harm. Plans are to contract for construction in September. We anticipate a big celebration when the work is done and the boardwalk is re-opened.

June 24, 2016

Boardwalk at Stony Brook

The DCR reached out to us yesterday to give us an update: they are planning to repair or replace the entire boardwalk. The process will include a permitting component since they will be working in the wetlands at Bristol Blake State Reservation—our partner at Stony Brook since we opened the nature center in 1964. The start of the process includes several important inventories—including a rare plant survey, land survey and soil tests—that are supposed to be completed by July 22, 2016. We hope to have more details coming soon.

April 21, 2016

The boardwalk at Bristol Blake State Reservation (connected to Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook) was closed on March 30 after it was determined to be unsafe. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Mass Audubon recognize the important role the boardwalk plays in providing unparalleled access to the wetlands along Stony Brook.

We are working diligently to address this issue as quickly as possible. Currently, the DCR is exploring options for opening at least a part of the boardwalk as soon as possible, while also considering alternatives for reopening the entire boardwalk. The process is complex and time-consuming, but we are determined to see it through. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this very difficult time for Stony Brook.