This easy hike in Marion, Massachusetts, is ideal for families with young kids, but seasoned hikers will also find plenty of interest. Hikes can be as short as an hour to as long as two or three.
The White Eagle property is managed by the Sippican Lands Trust, and the well-maintained trails wind through a variety of habitat, from cranberry bogs to freshwater marsh to pine woods. Waterproof boots are recommended, especially in spring or after periods of heavy rain, when low-lying parts of the trail can be flooded. The property is dog-friendly, and no motorized vehicles are allowed. As in most places these days, the use of tick-preventive clothing and sprays are recommended.
Several boardwalks span creeks and marshes on the property, offering excellent opportunities for viewing warbles, orioles and heron. In the pine and oak woods, ovenbirds, veery, wood thrush, pine warblers, nuthatches, vireos, chickadees, woodpeckers, owls, and Coopers hawks are often seen and, more often, heard. Open ponds filled with waterlilies and purple loosestrife used to flood the working cranberry bog on the property provide a home for waterfowl, redwing blackbirds, pickerel, turtles, and heron, while the numerous nesting boxes are well populated by tree swallows. On recent trips, red-tailed hawks and nesting osprey were sighted.
The White Eagle property also connects to other Lands Trust trails, including one that leads past the remains of the Marconi Wireless Radio Station. Built in 1912, when the woods were cleared, the station included 14 400-foot-tall towers used to transmit low-frequency radio signals to points as far away as Norway. During both World Wars, the towers were also used to communicate with Navy ships and submarines. The station shut down in 1960, and the towers were dismantled; however, miles of steel cable and the concrete anchor bases, now covered in moss, can still be encountered in the woods.
White Eagle can be accessed via Parlowtown Road off Rte. 6. After several hundred yards, the road veers left and becomes dirt. Another quarter-mile will bring you to a small parking area on the left. Trails are well-marked with white and red blazes, and a kiosk (located a few hundred feet down the road) contains a map of the property, also available here.