Flurry of construction at Onset Bay Center will swap for summer of outdoor activity

Onset residents may notice a flurry of extra activity around Onset Beach in the coming weeks as builders with the Valle Group conclude work on the Onset Bathhouse foundation for the season. Meanwhile, the Coalition is gearing up for another summer of sailing, kayaking, swimming, and outdoor exploration on Onset Bay.

Kids jumping in the waters of Onset Bay

Kids from the Wareham Boys & Girls Club and Wareham CARE will join the Coalition for a third summer of outdoor exploration programming this year.

Onset is the home of the Coalition’s developing Onset Bay Center, soon to be a destination for outdoor exploration and coastal discovery on Onset Beach. The Coalition is working with the town of Wareham to transform the Onset Bathhouse into a new facility to support community services and on-the-water programs.

The first stage of bathhouse construction, which will end in mid-June, took on the challenge of strengthening this waterfront building for another 100 years. Over the past fall and winter, the Valle Group reinforced the bathhouse foundation and structure to make it resilient to flooding from storms and sea level rise. The Valle Group will return in the fall to fit the bathhouse with walls and flooring, and to complete the interior. We plan to officially open the Onset Bay Center to all for programming in Spring 2020.

Over on the adjacent bluff, the construction crew is replacing an old staircase and sidewalks to provide improved access for the public. They’re also re-planting the bank with native plants — including lowbush blueberry, inkberry, and beach plum — which will better stabilize this slope than the grass that used to grow there.

A family sailing on one of the Coalition boats

Adults, families, and kids of all ages can join the Coalition for on-the-water programming like Learn to Sail.

Though bathhouse construction will be on hold for the summer beach season, public programs for children, adults, and families in Onset are already beginning to ramp up. In July, the Coalition will kick off our third year of the Onset Bay summer program for children from the Boys and Girls Club of Wareham and Wareham CARE. These kids will discover the best of Onset’s waters and coasts through four weeks of shoreline exploration, sailing lessons, kayaking with Nemasket Kayak, and swimming lessons with Gleason Family YMCA instructors.

Explorers of all ages can also get outdoors with the Coalition through a number of exciting Bay Adventures in Onset this summer. Engage little ones with the coastal environment at an Itty Bitty Bay Explorers beach exploration in June, or try your hand at snagging a coastal catch through our popular Learn to Quahog and Learn to Fish programs all summer long. If you’re looking to get out on Onset Bay, join us for a Family Learn to Sail lesson, take a peaceful paddle during our kayaking series, or take a crack at Stand-Up Paddleboarding!

Jack Sidar, Kent Harlow, and Mead Binhammer on Wickets Island

Coalition land management staff seeding the top of Wickets Island, which will be a picnic area with a one-of-a-kind view of Onset Bay.

On Wickets Island, we spent the fall and winter removing invasive and overgrown plants from the top of the island, filling in dangerous cellar holes in the ground, and removing debris. When it’s complete, the top of the island will become a community picnic area with trails and seating that offer a one-of-a-kind view of Onset Bay.

This summer, we’re giving Wickets some peace and quiet to let native grasses and plants re-grow in this restored space. If you visit the island, please stay off the top of the island until we open the picnic area this fall. The Coalition will complete landscaping and replace the island’s old staircase and stone pier later this year.

Category: On the Bay

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