A Letter from the Friends of Maudslay President


October 16, 2020
Dear Friends of Maudslay,                                                    

You may have noticed that in the last few electronic newsletters you have been addressed, appropriately I think, as a “Friend” of Maudslay.  The Board of Directors has learned that many visitors have been confused by our corporate name: the Maudslay State Park Association.  Often there was an assumption that the association was part of the Department of Conservation and Recreation itself.  Most non-profit volunteer/support groups call themselves “Friends” groups, and we decided that we would be best served to do the same to avoid confusion.  Although our corporate name will remain the MSPA, we will, from this point, do business as the Friends of Maudslay.  We have filed a “DBA Form” with the City Clerk’s Office in Newburyport, and hope you agree that this title better reflects your relationship to the park.
We have also been working on changing our logo.  Although the sprig of the Mountain Laurel has represented the Friends of Maudslay since its formation 35 years ago, the black oak in the field across from the parking lot is the image that most people associate with Maudslay.  Below is the design we have chosen for our new logo and we hope it meets with your approval. 
But enough business.  Maudslay State Park is ablaze with color.  The sugar maples are a day-time fireworks display, and the fields have shifted from their summer greens to a rich autumn gold.  If you didn’t have the time to visit during the recent Sculpture in Maudslay show, I recommend that you find time now; not only for the vibrant foliage and active wildlife, but also to tour the virtual Haunted Trails that Theater in the Open will be presenting in the latter part of October.  They’ve been working hard to make this an exciting tour and another chance to enjoy the park with the whole family.  
Thank you as always for your support, and if you have not yet become a Friend of Maudslay, please consider doing so now by visiting  Be safe. 

Marlys Edwards
President, Friends of Maudslay

The View From the Ground
Many years ago, I joined the Maudslay State Park Association board of directors and for the past 4 years I’ve served as Treasurer. My reason for joining was my love for horseback riding in the park with the many and varied trails, friendly people and the proximity to my home. While I’d explored all the trails available to the equine community, I’d never been in other areas of the park. During one of our fundraisers, the president of the MSPA literally dragged me up to the Stone House so I could see the reason for my fundraising efforts. That trip was the entire extent of my foot travel in the park.

Fast forward to 2020. Because of COVID, extremely hot summer weather, medical issues with my horse and nursing an issue with my own knee, I hadn’t been to the park but a handful of times. Physical therapy seemed to be really helping and walking was suggested; of course, Maudslay was my go to place. I started with the trails I was unable to horseback ride, formal gardens, up to the carriage house and out to the scenic views of the river.  The more I explored the more I enjoyed the new found areas of the park.


To add mileage, I also started walking the trails I would normally ride and to my surprise I enjoyed them even more than on horseback. I found myself more friendly than when riding; could I be concentrating too much on keeping my mount under control that a quick hello is all I could muster? I also saw things I may have missed while riding, frogs, garter snakes, deer and the wayward snapping turtle crossing my path.


Had you told me 5 years ago or even last year that I would be walking the park and enjoying it,  I would have laughed and said no way. I’m hoping for a warm winter to keep me in the park and looking forward to next spring when I can see the Lady Slippers up close and walk through the Rhododendrons.

Caroline - Friends of Maudslay Treasuer
Carpentry Volunteer at Maudslay – Ned
Ned has been a steady park volunteer here since May 2017. A current resident of Newburyport, Ned had a career in social services spanning 50 years. He also lends a helping hand building houses with Habitat for Humanity. When he is not busy graciously giving, Ned spends time restoring his own home and sailing his boat out of Newburyport Harbor.

Ned has performed a variety of jobs here over the past four years including carpentry, painting, plastering, restoration, and installations. He has contributed hundreds of hours of skilled labor at a value to the park in the thousands of dollars.

One of his first projects, the historic Carriage House/Garage, involved repairing and securing the building from constant break ins and trespassing while also providing ventilation ports to allow better air circulation. This vacant early 1900s building is the only remnant of the more than 40 room 1890s main house that once occupied the western portion of the former Moseley estate. With shingled siding and arched garage doors, this one and one half story structure was a chauffeur’s residence and storage for the horse carriages. The building is surrounded by mature Rhododendrons and Canadian Hemlocks.

In the Ober House, a 19th century farmhouse which serves as Park Headquarters, Ned restored a plaster ceiling in the reception area, planed sticking doors, and installed a new combination screen and storm door. There are also other projects planned such as siding and painting.
On the Haybarn, an early 20th century structure, Ned rebuilt and painted two heavy duty tongue and groove boarded sliding doors to historic standards. He drove up to an antiques and architectural salvage barn in Maine to procure the hardware. The doors look and work great and insure a secure place for park vehicles and equipment.
Ned replaced and painted the worn siding on a sizeable portion of the comfort station in the parking lot. He has also completed other projects throughout the park including repair of vandalism, signage construction, and hardware installation.


When one of the park dump trucks needed a new box for the collection and hauling of leaves, wood chips, and logs, Ned built one strong enough possibly to outlast the decades old truck on which it sets. When that happens it can be transferred to the newest dump truck.

Just the other day, Ned asked for another list of projects which we are happy to provide him. Ned is gracious, kind, skilled, knowledgeable, and thoughtful. He also has a great sense of humor! We are fortunate and thankful to have Ned volunteering here at Maudslay State Park.            

Robert Kovacs                                                
Park Supervisor        
Maudslay State Park                                                                                   
978 465 7223                                                            

Theater in the Open
Theater in the Open has produced Maudslay is Haunted, our family-friendly haunted halloween stroll through the park, every year since 1987.  This year we will keep the tradition alive (un-dead?) by offering a guided smart-phone tour of the ghosts and ghouls of Maudslay. 

Beginning on Wednesday, October 21st, a digital map will be available at, populated with spooky skits performed by local artists, which you can enjoy from the safety of your home, or venture into the park whenever you please to experience them on the site where they were recorded.  This mapping technology is something we are looking at for general use around the park to help visitors see where they are and learn more about the park's history, so if you have any suggestions please let us know. 

Theater in the Open is deeply grateful for the support we have received during these very difficult times and hope that 2021 will allow for a return to free art in the park.
Edward F. Speck
Artistic Director
Theater in the Open
Pollinator Habitat Initiative
The Commonwealth’s interagency Pollinator Habitat Initiative aims to create new habitats for our increasingly imperiled pollinators, and highlight habitats at state facilities focused on pollinator health. This collaborative effort led by the Commonwealth’s Leading By Example Program brings state partners together to identify and share best practices and offer technical support.
Pollinators face a number of threats; from habitat loss and degradation, to pesticide use, to invasive species, to climate change. Many pollinators require specific host plants to complete their lifecycle. Providing more native host plants and habitats for pollinators across state facilities helps these vulnerable populations; as well as provides a host of ecosystem services, reduces state operational constraints, and enhances the Commonwealth’s overall well-being.
Effective pollinator habitats can be limited mow zones, managed wildflower meadows, or pollinator gardens. Some may be seen as shabby or unkempt, but these intentionally managed habitats offer incredible value to pollinators and wildlife while mitigating climate change impacts and building more resilient natural communities. Transforming lawns to pollinator habitat means less mowing, less watering, and less labor; resulting in lower fuel costs, lower water bills, and more hours in the day to tackle other tasks.
Not only do these intentional habitats save on fuel costs, they reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, and they sequester more carbon than manicured grass. These habitats are also drought resistant, requiring little to no watering once established. They help water infiltrate the soil, they improve water quality, and they retain soil moisture better than monocultures of manicured grass – all of which are incredibly important as droughts throughout the Commonwealth become more frequent and severe.
In addition to managing many acres of natural landscape, the Department of Conservation and Recreation has implemented limited mow zones, created managed wildflower meadows, and installed pollinator friendly gardens across its facilities. DCR, through participation in this interagency pollinator habitat initiative, hopes to inspire people across the Commonwealth to lose their lawns and protect pollinators. ‘Bee’ on the lookout for more news and information from DCR and the Pollinator Working Group!
Casey Duggan
ACEC & Environmental Stewardship Assistant
Department of Conservation & Recreation

Christmas Tree Farm
Look How We've Grown!
Like these Christmas Trees just off the Pasture Trail, the Friends of Maudslay have grown a lot in the past 35 years.  Thank you all for growing with us; every new member deepens our connection to this remarkable land, and adds to the general fund dedicated to preserving it.

These trees, a mix of blue spruce, white spruce, and scotch pine, were planted by estate workers sometime in the 1970's for eventual harvest and sale.  Acquired by DEM (now DCR) in 1985 along with the rest of the estate, the trees were harvested and donated to local charities each Christmas season for ten years, totaling more than 1,000 trees donated in all.  Thereafter, the remaining trees having outgrown their use as Christmas decor,  park management decided to thin and maintain the grove for quiet public enjoyment.  The picture from 1996, a publicity shot for Theater in the Open's production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, shows the trees in their final year of harvesting for charity.

Edward F. Speck
Artistic Director
Theater in the Open
The Joppa Flats Running Club will be holding it's
Turkey Trot virtually this year.
For more information go to

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