Jutting out at a bend in the Little River where it joins the Annisquam River, this jewel provides a beautiful entry to Gloucester along busy Route 128. The property combines an interesting history with exceptional habitat.
Prior to English settlement, Indigenous people known as the Pawtucket lived on the alewife brooks that empty into Little River at Kent Cove, Stoney Cove, and Presson Point. They fished here and canoed to Rust Island in the Annisquam River, where they maintained a shellfishing industry, and to the Jones River, where they dug clay for their pottery. Routes 133 and Concord Street were Indian trails, and the waterway sources are in the Red Rocks Conservation area, a landscape the Algonquians regarded as sacred.
Archaeological investigations at Presson’s Point in the 1940s revealed several small shell heaps containing arrowheads, spearheads, an axe head, and a pestle.
Experience the successional stages of a forest while strolling these woods. The length of time for a field to grow into a mature forest is approximately 100 years. It evolves in an orderly progression dictated by soils, climate, fire and human activity.
Here, pasture gives way to pioneer tree growth of poplars and junipers that eventually are shaded over by emerging hickory, oak and maple. The fresh water marsh is slowly filling and turning to upland. This reservation is still evolving as forestland.
The remaining pier sees people fishing, birdwatching, picnicking and enjoying the lovely views of salt marsh with the city of Gloucester in the distance. Clammers continue to harvest the tidal flats of the Little River, while mariners follow the marked channel of the Annisquam from Gloucester Harbor to Ipswich Bay.
1.1 miles of moderate terrain.
Flora & Fauna
Trails lead through stands of hickory, oak and pines while red maples dominate the wetland areas. Salt marsh along Stoney Cove features low and high marsh grasses; deep green in summer, then turning yellow to brown in fall.
A popular birding and fishing spot; look for shorebirds on the mud flats at low tide. The Little River supports a herring run in late April to early May. Predators such as gulls and river otter that feed on these fish can be seen at this time. Look for coyote, skunk and white-tailed deer tracks near the streambed.
From the northbound side of Route 128 in Gloucester pass Exit 54. Parking is 0.2 miles ahead on the right, directly off the highway, just before the stone pier. Park in the pullout off Route 128 just before the stone pier.
Town: Gloucester Total Acres: 53 Year Conserved: 1979 Difficulty: Medium