Cyclists on Great Freedom Adventures’ Salt Marsh and Songbirds Eco-Bike Tour To See First-Hand the Effects of Barrier Island Beach Erosion Along With Discovering Wildlife and Ecology on an Island World Famous for Nature Study

Sherborn, MA, March 12, 2013 – NOVA scientist Bill Sargent will show Great Freedom Adventures’ bike tour guests first-hand, the devastation to Plum Island, MA homes and shoreline by recent storm surges. Several homes have collapsed into the ocean and more are slated to be razed because they are no longer safe to inhabit. Sargent, an award-winning author of eight books on science, the environment and sea-level rise, will share with spring and fall Salt Marsh and Songbirds Eco-Bike Adventure participants, the ever-changing nature of barrier islands, beach erosion and the threat to the New England coastline from rising sea levels.

Sargent will also guide Great Freedom Adventures’ guests through Plum Island’s Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to share knowledge of the salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet, while pointing out wildlife and plant life unique to this region. Guests walk a cross section of the barrier island to learn about tidal salt marshes, salt pannes, front dunes, back dunes and coastal forests, while learning along the way to identify some of the birdsongs in a region considered one of the finest bird watching destinations in the US.


Additional highlights of Great Freedom Adventures’ Salt Marsh and Songbirds Eco-Bike Tour include visits to the Crane Estate Great House with manicured grounds overlooking the ocean, and the remains of a 19th century riverfront estate with its planned landscape of woodlands, gardens and carriage roads. At Crane Wildlife Refuge, guests walk paths through dunes carpeted in yellow heather before emerging onto the wide beach, taking care to avoid the nesting areas of the threatened Piping Plover.

The three-day eco-bike adventures are timed to coincide with migrating songbirds and waterfowl, the spring bloom of native mountain laurel, azaleas and rhododendrons or the fall reds and golds of the foliage and the marsh grasses. The 2013 trips are scheduled for April 26-28, May 3-5, May 6-8, May 17-19 and October 20-22.

The eco-bike tour, based in the picturesque seaport of Newburyport, MA, includes three days of guided bicycling and walking, accommodations at a boutique hotel and National Historic Landmark, most meals, bike and helmet rental, daily snacks and cold drinks, admissions, maps, van support, transport to the tour start and more, and is priced at $895 per person based on double occupancy.

Cyclists travel between 20 to 36 miles per day, with an optional extension of up to 50 miles for the avid bicyclists in the group. The terrain is mostly flat with a few hills and guests are free to bike the distance preferred on each day. The tour is appropriate for groups, couples, singles, families and corporate outings. For more information and the full daily program, please see the Eco-Bike Tour MA North Shore Itinerary.

Great Freedom Adventures offers additional trips that include the MA North Shore. The Maritime New England Bike Tour, a six-day, five-night tour that includes kayaking and sailing in addition to biking and walking, covers Massachusetts’ entire Essex National Heritage Area as well as Cape Ann. Departures are offered in June and August.