Developing quality water access points on Norton's rivers and waterbodies that prioritize user experience and sensitivity to neighborhood context
Norton has significant water resources, but a lack of supportive information and infrastructure currently limits public access. The Norton Reservoir, Chartley Pond, Barrowsville Pond, Winnecunnet Pond, the Canoe River, the Rumford River, the Wading River, and the Three-Mile River all present opportunities for boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and simply enjoying a picnic and some scenic views (maybe while toe-testing the water temperature).
Despite these resources, accessing the water for any level of recreational experience can be a challenge. Watercraft put-ins are not necessarily well signed; informal parking is a challenge to both users and site neighbors; there is no on-site warnings against transporting invasive species to different waterbodies; and a lack of supportive infrastructure like picnic tables or receptacles contributes to the presence of trash and other site degrading issues. Public engagement around the town's 2017 Open Space and Recreation Plan identified water and boating access and improved signage and parking at conservation and recreation areas as two of the top five recreational facilities needed in Norton.
A Water Access Master Plan will assist in identifying priority sites for improvement and infrastructure investment. Where site uses can be formalized, there can often be a reduction in user conflicts, expanding water-based enjoyment for all Norton residents.