Perched on a thin strip of land between Assawompsett Pond and Long Pond, this park and conservation area is easy to drive by without knowing what you’re missing. Beyond the vintage 1960s-style sign and the paved parking lot, you’ll find a surprising hotspot for native plants and birds.
This park was formerly the site of Tamarack Restaurant. Over the two decades since the old building was removed, the care of a group of dedicated local volunteers has helped control invasive species and allow native plants to return. They also installed bird houses throughout the meadow to provide homes for several species, like bluebirds, tree swallows, and house wrens. As a result, Tamarack Park’s meadow is now a fantastic place to spread out a blanket or sit at one of the picnic tables and enjoy the best of a spring day.
If you’re a paddler, you can easily carry your kayak from the parking lot to the small shoreline launch that leads into Long Pond Conservation Area. Paddle the narrow channels of the Long Pond marsh to seek out a variety of birds, and spot frogs and turtles hiding amongst the grasses. To extend your journey, paddle out of the marsh and into the shallow waters of Long Pond, one of the largest natural freshwater bodies in the state.
There is a small dirt trail out of the back of Tamarack Park’s meadow, which meanders through a small grove where volunteers have planted a variety of young trees. This section of the park is notable for its lovely glimpses of the Long Pond marshes through the trees.
To access the shoreline launch into Long Pond Conservation Area, walk down the paved path on the far (southwest) end of the paved circular driveway.
Habitats & Wildlife
If you have a knack for plant identification, you’ll love the challenge presented by the Tamarack Park meadow. Colorful flowers arise in multitudes every spring, from common black-eyed Susan and pasture rose to more interesting specimens like the showy tick trefoil. Low bush blueberry, winterberry, and spotted wintergreen can be found beneath the big oaks along the meadow’s edge.
Long Pond Conservation Area is a fantastic habitat for reptiles and amphibians, and visitors have been lucky enough to spot painted turtles lounging and even burying their eggs on the marsh banks. If you’re paddling through the marsh, you’ll also discover why it’s a great spot for bird-watching: you’re almost guaranteed to see water-loving birds like swans and great blue herons, as well as a variety of migratory ducks in the winter and colorful songbirds in the spring and summer. You might even spot a bald eagle here in the winter, as they’re a common sight at nearby Betty’s Neck.