Merrimack River Watershed Council Presents Four Curated Merrimack River Tours

The Merrimack River from Haverhill to Newburyport. (Creative Commons.)

Merrimack River Watershed Council is offering four river cruises this summer exploring the wildlife, history, landmarks and lesser-known eddies and forgotten places of the lower Merrimack River.

Each of the tours—one Tuesday a month—motors through a different section of the river, guided by local experts who will educate and entertain with stories, information and insight meant to broaden knowledge and appreciation of the Merrimack. Passengers are also expected to be surprised with sightings of fish and fowl that inhabit the river.

An “Islands and Villages Tour” takes place June 13 with a cruise up river from Newburyport to Rocks Village in Haverhill. Local historian and author Dyke Hendrickson shares stories and points of interest along the voyage. The boat departs from Waterfront Park, Newburyport.

A ride in the opposite direction takes place July 11 with the “Haverhill History Tour.” It casts off with Diane Dustin Itasaka of the Duston-Dustin Garrison House in Haverhill and heads downstream from downtown Haverhill to Rocks Village. Itasaka, a descendant of Hannah Duston, highlights anecdotes from Haverhill’s long history as a Merrimack River waterfront community. The boat departs from the Municipal Dock, behind 100 Washington St. in downtown Haverhill.

Aug. 8 brings the “Great Marsh and Plum Island Sound Tour,” down the Merrimack to the serpentine and shallow Plum Island River to explore the Great Marsh, home to more than 300 bird species. Massachusetts Audubon Ornithologist Sarah Courchesne lead this naturalists’ tour of the lower Merrimack. The boat leaves from Waterfront Park, Newburyport.

Finally, a “Mouth of the River and Beyond Tour” takes place Sept. 12 at the mouth of the Merrimack and the beachy coast of Plum Island. Topics include shifting sands, ancient geology, history and wildlife. The tour is presented by Merrimack River Watershed Council Education and Policy Specialist John Macone. The boat leaves from Waterfront Park, Newburyport.

Tours start at 5:30 p.m. and last two hours. In case of rain, tours will be held the following Tuesday.

Tickets are $60 per person per tour and registration is required. Register takes place online at All tours will be conducted on Yankee Clipper Harbor Tours vessels and proceeds benefit the Merrimack River Watershed Council, a nonprofit working to make the Merrimack a cleaner and healthier river.

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