The 2007 season of interpretive programming at Halibut Point State Park kicks off on Sunday, April 15 at 8:00am with Birding for Beginners. Peter Van Demark is again hosting this monthly 2-3hr. moderate stroll along the park’s paths and rocky shore. Halibut Point, a significant viewing location along the North American migratory path, features frequent sightings of pelagic species such as gulls, terns, gannets, purple sandpipers, alcids, shearwaters, loons, jaegers, grebes and more, while in the park’s inland regions quail, towhees, tree swallows and wild turkeys are often spotted. Like all programs at Halibut Point State Park, Birding for Beginners is FREE to the public. Meet Peter in the parking lot. Bring your binoculars!
On Sunday, April 22, the park will host the program, The Military History of Halibut Point from 12-3pm. Scheduled to coincide with the Coast Defense Study Group’s annual conference in Boston, this program will feature a rare display of the park’s military related archives as well as an interpretation of the past military uses of each level of Halibut Point’s artillery fire control tower. The five-story tower, built with steel-reinforced concrete, was constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1943 and staffed by the Army Coastal Artillery Corps, originally housed sighting instruments for aiming 16″ long-range guns as part of both the Boston and Portsmouth, NH harbor defense systems. After World War Two, the tower and its attached barracks (now the park’s Visitors Center), were staffed by US Air Force personnel engaged in radar research in conjunction with MIT’s Lincoln Lab, a classified project that led to the development of semi-automatic ground environment (SAGE) and the Cape Cod Radar System, the prototypes for the Cold War radar defense systems that blanketed the United States for decades. Join Halibut Point’s park interpreter and members of the Coast Defense Study Group for this program/open house that meets in the Visitors Center. Like all programs at Halibut Point State Park, this event is FREE and open to the public.
April 23: Military History Day recap –
(Halibut Point USAF personnel at 1957 Rockport Memorial Day Parade.)
Halibut Point State Park would like to thank the Coast Defense Study Group for the opportunity to make a presentation at their annual conference about the park’s ongoing efforts to restore its artillery fire control tower. For the past two years, CDSG Preservation Officer Gordon Bliss has given his time to participate in Halibut programs detailing the park’s military history and his information and advice has been invaluable in moving our tower restoration plans forward. Last Sunday, the park hosted Gordon and other CDSG members, as well as many park visitors in another program about Halibut’s military history that was planned to coincide with the CDSG conference. If you would like to learn some specifics about the program at Halibut, you can find excerpts of the text here. Through the extensive efforts of the DCR, Friends of Halibut Point and the CDSG we anticipate having the intitial phase restoration – a display featuring an overview of the park’s early military history – available for public viewing on the tower’s ground floor inside the Visitors Center before the year’s end. But remember, you can currently visit Halibut Point and climb the five levels of our artillery fire control tower, one of very few of its kind open to the public, anytime the Visitors Center is open!
On Saturday, April 28, Halibut Point State Park will begin its weekly Quarry Tour. This popular program, beginning at 10:00am in the Visitors Center and running every Saturday thru October, features a twelve minute video about the park’s history, a granite-splitting demonstration by Halibut’s interpreter, and a one mile walk around the onsite former Babson Farm Quarry that details the physical aspects of quarrying, the history of building with natural stone in America, and Cape Ann’s unique geology. This program lasts approximately 90 minutes and is FREE to the public. Check back soon for May’s programming schedule. Besides its Quarry Tour and Birding for Beginners programs, Halibut Point State Park will be featuring these standard programs: Legends & Lore (the maritime history of Cape Ann), Tidepools, Geology Rocks!, The Mineral Club (geological activities for kids 8-12), Dragonflies in the Park and Reading the Landscape. Halibut Point’s Quarry Tour, The Mineral Club and Tidepools programs are available for school field trips and educational group outings. Call the park for details. Special events this season will include natural light photographer Leslie D. Bartlett hosting a program featuring his extraodinary images of the park, some of which can be seen here as well at this website about Halibut Point State Park. We will also have live animal programs, Stargazing Nights, Wild Edibles, Cape Ann and the War of 1812 and more as well as the Department of Conservation and Recreation partnering with the Friends of Halibut Point State Park for another season of Sunday Sounds concerts.