Trouble at Menotomy Rocks Park

According to Don Mattheisen’s Menotomy Rocks Park; A Centennial History, this woodland park in the midst of a dense grid of small yards in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA was once called “Devils Den.” Transforming its tangled woods with looming granite outcrops and a swamp into a usable park took considerable will, expense and effort. When muck and leaves began to fill the pond, the town once again secured funds to dredge it out and installed aeration devices.

It was particularly colorful there last October when I started capturing what I noticed there as the seasons changed. It seemed like the ducks had begun to follow me as I walked around the pond. But as the winter’s snow compacted to ice on the paths, only a few ducks remained. In early spring, turtles clustered on a rock jutting out from a wetland area by the side of the pond. Two swans probed for tender new shoots and a pair of Canada geese acted as if this pond was their personal resort. A muskrat swam over to hide in plain view under foliage by the water’s edge and a bull frog’s loud call startled a dog walking by with its owner.

By late May, the robins and red wing blackbirds were as plentiful as ever, but there was only a single duck to be seen, sleeping atop a boulder. Perhaps the others had left to raise their young in a safer place away from dogs and snapping turtles. Then I saw a notice – fish had died and water testing had been requested. As if to ensure I had gotten the message, I saw a squirrel lying by the side of the road next to a rock as I left the park. It was still breathing. I spoke to it in gentle tones wishing it (and all of us) well.

Threats to the natural environment are ever more apparent, and I will continue adding updates to this post if I notice other signs of trouble in Menotomy Rocks Park that are worth sharing.

Only a single duck slept high on a boulder in late May

Many ducks of various species frequented the pond last October

A pair of Canada geese came in early March and stayed for several weeks

Turtles sunning themselves on a rock jutting into the pond on one of the first warm days

Swans probing for tender young shoots in the wetland at the side of the pond

Looking a bit like a small beaver, this muskrat has a narrow tail

The muskrat with its head poking up looks like a rock or log by the edge of the pond
A bullfrog making a rare appearance out in the open on a rock where it can be seen.
A raccoon to left of the tree trunk stared at me while I took its portrait
This park is lucky – people care and have the resources to work at preserving its health. May testing found the water was safe, however later testing in September found toxic algal bloom:
Warning sign posted
Hills pond was treated one year later
Another kind of trouble – rat poison killing owls as well – spring 2022

Author: katzlator

My writing, photography, consulting and workshops aim to inspire engagement with resources for wellbeing.

2 thoughts on “Trouble at Menotomy Rocks Park”

Comments are closed.