Open Space & Recreation Planning

Norton Waterbody Access Master Plan

A project to improve recreational access to Norton's outstanding water resources.

Final Draft Now available

Read the draft of the Norton Water Access Master Plan by clicking the button below!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how you use and access Norton's water bodies.

Whether you're an avid boater, an amateur fisher, or a passer-by, Norton's water access plays a major role in the recreational and residential dimensions of the town.

Thank you to all who have participated in our online survey designed to learn more about Norton's water access needs and strengths. We have now closed the survey.

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.

Access Point Map Viewer

Site Specific Investigations

Norton's Waterbody Access Master Plan will result in recommendations for improvement and enhancement that are tied to specific sites. The plan will articulate the capacity of each site for accommodating users across a range of activities. Some sites may be able to support boating and kayaking, while others may only have the space and the context to support more passive uses like picnicking and taking in a view. The sites that the Plan will consider are included in the map below. Many of these sites are already used as access points to waterways and waterbodies, but better supportive infrastructure would enhance the user experience.

Neighborhood Discussion Summaries

Summaries from each in-person, outdoor neighborhood water access point site discussion that took place from fall 2020 thru spring 2021 are provided below.

Juniper Road Site

Read about the Juniper Road Access Site here.

Sunset and Evergreen Street

Read about the Sunset and Evergreen Street site summary here.

Crane Street Preserve - Three Mile River

Read about the Crane Street Preserve and the Three Mile River Access site here

Lakeview St. 

Read about the Lakeview Street Access Site here.

Alder Road

Read about the Alder Road Access site here.

Dam Site

Read about the Dam Access site here.

Newland and Plain Street Site

Read about the Newland and Plain Street Access site here.

Mailing List

The Norton Waterbody Access Master Plan is meant to reflect a collective discussion on balanced goals for public access to the town's water resources.


We rely on you, Norton residents and stakeholders, as our indispensable project partners.

When you sign up for the mailing list, you will receive project updates and notifications so that we maximize our opportunities to hear from you!