Happy Birthday National Park, Happy Holidays


Park rangers help Santa find his way through the park (and have a great time doing their work!)

Today was the 4th birthday of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. It was also a time to celebrate the holidays with the Blackstone Heritage Corridor staff.


Suzanne shows the tangled fishing line we used as string for the cranberry-popcorn garlands for the tree, while volunteers and staff pitch in to help

What could be more fun than stringing popcorn and cranberries? Well, the cookies and warm cider offered some stiff competition.


Santa (Devon) on the official Bike ambassador bike. Note that he’s wearing his bike helmet 🙂

Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, volunteers, and later park rangers stopped by to add to the festivities.


Homemade cookies warm cider. Hot cocoa too!

And whenever requested, Acting Director of the Heritage Corridor, Devon Kurtz got himself completed outfitted, including bike helmet, and mounted the official “Bike Ambassador” bike waiting for him just outside the door of the Heritage Corridor offices in Northbridge. The bike trailer waited to be hooked up, ready to be put to use on the next bike ambassador group ride.

Suzanne popped corn and had cranberries waiting to be strung onto thread, then added to the Christmas tree.


Bonnie proudly shows off tangled fishing line taken from the wild, as it were, to be recycled.

Wait, that wasn’t just any old thread, it was tangled fishing line recycled by Bonnie, who has made a valley-wide campaign of collecting for safe disposal all the used fishing line that so often is left behind to foul waterways, and endanger wildlife. Bonnie’s Trash responsibly campaign, including collecting both fishing line as well as all other kinds of trash, has reached every corner of the Blackstone Valley, and is having an impact in every community.

MTH cranberries and popcorn

Getting to work on my cranberry-popcorn garland

As Suzanne and I sat together stringing cranberries and popcorn, I recalled times with my kids as they were growing up, undertaking this exact same task, and many other similar celebrations, with my dear neighbors next door.

Chris easter eggs

Memories of my neighborhood holiday parties from long ago with my sweet neighbor Chris Richardson and kiddos

My neighbor Chris, sadly gone these many years, was always ready to host a party at the drop of a hat, and this event had the same, unstructured, what the heck, sort of feel that those neighborhood gatherings had for me those years ago. Thanks for bringing back such a sweet memory for me, Suzanne.


Hard to keep a straight face with these rangers in the house. Roxie helped out, as always, as an official “Bark ambassador”

The party hit its stride when the National Park rangers appeared, ready to do whatever it takes to be part of the celebration. Roxie, Bonnie’s dog, offered some added levity to the celebration. Posing for pictures was a whole different experience with the rangers among us.

Hard to believe it’s been only 4 years since the Blackstone Valley has had its own national park. And yet, the work to get to this place has been ongoing for many, many years before that. Thanks to all the staff, and the countless volunteers who have pitched in over the years.


Dave Barber, and Suzanne on the Greenway. Dave was doing what he loved best, volunteering, and talking about the history of the Blackstone Valley canal system

Even as we say goodbye to long-time volunteer Dave Barber,


Another of the next generation of volunteers, hard at work. Thanks for your help!

we can only hope that others will step up and help fill the shoes of those who have gone before.


Doesn’t every tree have bike helmets under it, waiting to be put to use? Happy holidays!

Happy holidays, happy birthday to our local national park, and happy trails!


beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

2 responses to “Happy Birthday National Park, Happy Holidays

  1. Happy Holidays to you and all!

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