Thanks to the generous support of the Stiles community, we are able to open the beach on Saturday!
Thank you Board of Health
Thank you Board of Selectmen
Thank you Boxford DPW
Thank you Boxford PD
Thank you Boxford FD
Thank you Stiles Staff
And - of course - thank you, beach families!
We will see you at Stiles!!!
1. Will we be able to reserve a spot online? How will we know when the beach has reached capacity? Unfortunately the BAA does not have the platform or the technological capability (there is no wifi at Stiles) to provide a reservations system at Stiles such as the Trustees of Reservations/Crane has. However, we will post occupancy in real time on Instagram (@stilespondbeach) as the beach approaches the maximum number of guests.
2. Will we have the option to sign up at the pond and write a check? No. We have moved to the online sign ups this year for the safety of our members and staff.
3. Can we still purchase day passes/guest passes? BOXFORD RESIDENTS who are not members of the beach may purchase day passes depending on member occupancy at that time. BOXFORD RESIDENTS who are members of the beach may purchase a limited number of guest passes for OTHER BOXFORD RESIDENTS (for example, the friend of a child) depending on occupancy.
4. How will we know where to sit? You will see signage on the beach and Stiles staff will assist you if necessary.
5. Do we need to wear a mask at all times? No. However, you MUST wear a mask when social distancing is not possible and you MUST wear a mask to order and pick up food at the Snack Shack.
6. How will we pick up our membership bracelets? Please print and bring the receipt for your membership to a pond staff member (gate attendant) on your first visit to Stiles. The attendant will issue your bracelets.
7. Are you offering swim lessons this year? No, sadly we cannot offer swim lessons this year.
8. What are the pond hours? We open on June 27 (depending on membership). We will close for the season on August 30. Stiles will be guarded from 10a-8p every day (weather, beach, and health conditions permitting) until July 31, then from 10a-7p until we close for the season.
9. Why have fees increased? Fees have increased this year (one year earlier than anticipated) because of the need to cover a potential membership shortfall due to COVID-19.
10. Will the docks go in this year? No, the docks will remain in storage for the season to allow for maximum social distancing in the water. We worked exceptionally hard to come up with a plan that would meet the BoH's expectations, and we did manage to meet or even exceed those expectations. Sacrificing the docks was one of the conditions. The docks cannot be disinfected properly and even if they could the disinfection process may irrevocably damage Stiles Pond.
11. If the beach closes due to COVID, will we receive a refund? Unfortunately, the BAA will not offer refunds for circumstances and closures beyond our control, including COVID, EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), West Nile virus, and water quality.
12. If the beach doesn't open due to lack of membership, will I receive a full refund? Yes, if Stiles doesn't open due to lack of membership, you will receive a refund (minus the processing fee - but I will check on that).
13. Why does the BAA need 240 memberships this year to open? Why the deadline? The 240 number is not an accident. It is the approximate break even number of family memberships needed each year to fund the pond payroll and overhead. Even with that number of memberships the BAA will probably lose money this season. We cannot fund the payroll and overhead without membership fees. The town has very generously subsidized our COVID protocols this year, but in normal years we receive no funding from the town to cover our payroll expenses. The reason we have the deadline this year and not in past years is because all the BAA's spring programs, and most summer programs, and potentially fall programs have been or will be cancelled due to COVID. Therefore there is very little financial cushion to fall back on should the beach membership fall short. The BAA is a non-profit organization and we run the budgets as close to zero as we can manage, per our legal responsibility.
14. I can't join the beach this year, but I'd like to contribute. How do I donate to Stiles Pond? Thank you! You may donate by registering at the link below, and choose the registration option ($200/family; $100/individual; $30/senior) that corresponds with the amount you would like to donate. Then, in the Name field, please put your name/DONATION, and fill out the rest of the information accordingly.
I will add to this list as necessary. Please read the complete documents in full available below, and if you have further questions please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me on Instagram.
See registration link below.
See link below!
Hi, everyone -
Please be sure to scroll down for previous updates and to read the BoH's approved guidelines for Stiles's 2020 season.
Some great news! Last night, the Boxford Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to generously subsidize Stiles Pond Beach's COVID preparedness plan, in accordance with the guidelines set by the Board of Health. This means we are one step closer to opening the pond for the summer! We are very grateful to the BoS for their support.
We have a tentative opening date of Saturday, June 27th. That being said, much has to happen between now and then. In order to fund the regular (non-COVID) operations of the beach, we require a minimum of 240 family memberships, plus individual and senior memberships. According to the data from our survey (thank you again for participating!) we have a potential 30% decrease in membership looming before us, as well as no swim lesson revenue, due to health concerns. With this in mind, we will raise our membership fee structure:
Family memberships: $200
Individual memberships: $90
Senior memberships: $30
August only memberships: $100 (no change)
Important to note: This price increase was due to occur in 2021, because the minimum wage in MA will be increasing to $15/hr.
Many of the Snack Shack menu items will increase as well, according to the increased cost of food.
We are still working out best practices for enrollment, and may move to an online only platform for safety and convenience. News about sign ups will be forthcoming in the next few days. Thank you for your patience as we work out the details.
In the meantime, please message me here with questions or concerns, and follow the pond @stilespondbeach on Instagram for timely and important updates (message me there as well).
To: Boxford Board of Health
From: Boxford Athletic Association (Gridley Losee, President; Scott Novack, Vice-President; Josilyn DeMarco, Stiles Pond Beach Director)
Re: Proposal to open Stiles Pond Beach
Date: June 9, 2020
Dear Members of the Boxford Board of Health:
The BAA has reviewed the BOH’s guidelines to open Stiles Pond Beach for the 2020 season. Herein are the BAA’s proposed solutions to the challenges presented by the current COVID-19 health emergency. We have also reviewed the Commonwealth of MA guidelines put forth by Governor Charlie Baker on Monday, May 18, 2020. The BAA proposes to open Stiles Pond Beach to members on Saturday, June 27, 2020 which, according to the four-phase approach, is at the end of Phase 2, potentially moving into Phase 3 on June 29. We understand that the phased approach is evolving and can change according to health metrics, with a minimum of 3 weeks per phase.
For reference purposes, Josilyn DeMarco has conferenced with other area small pond beach and recreation directors (Kelly Wray, Stevens Pond North Andover Director; Suzanne Malach, Danvers Y Community Outreach Director; Chris Dempsey, Assistant Director Andover Recreation; Jeffrey Newman at town of Andover) to discuss the challenges of operations during this unprecedented summer season. Although each of us has logistical challenges unique to our sphere, many of the issues are the same. We have been able to collaborate on potential solutions for many of the challenges presented in this document, and the requirements set by the surrounding towns Boards of Health.
The BAA recognizes that the Town of Boxford’s COVID-19 response may differ necessarily from the Commonwealth of MA’s Phased Plan, and will defer to the Town’s guidelines should they exceed the state’s: meaning, we will adhere to the more cautious path for the safety of our members and staff.
The BAA will control beach occupancy:
By employing a parking attendant who will maintain an accurate headcount of beach members coming and going from the beach to impose a maximum occupancy of no more than 100 people. The parking attendant will be an employee of Stiles Pond Beach and will report to and be supervised by the Director. Should the Director be off-site, the most senior lifeguard at any given time will ensure the responsibility of oversight.
Ensuring entry to the beach shall be gained ONLY through the parking lot. When max occupancy has been attained, the gate will be closed by the attendant who will remain stationed there to allow members to leave the beach. For such purposes we will create signage to indicate LOT FULL or MAX OCCUPANCY. Access to the beach from the boat launch path will be temporarily diverted for the season. The BAA will work with the DPW to ascertain safe methods - such as using snow fence with zip ties to block the path - to ensure access from the boat launch is clearly marked as unusable.
By issuing membership bracelets to Stiles Pond Beach members when they sign up for a membership. This method has been in effect for at least 5 years. Members are required to wear bracelets while on the beach and there is signage in place to that effect.
Ensuring occupancy will be monitored and enforced by the Beach Director Josilyn DeMarco, and/or another adult member of the BAA Board or a volunteer, and check ins as needed by the Boxford PD.
Important to note: The boat launch area is a public access area in which parking is extremely limited. The BAA has no jurisdiction over the public boat launch or the dam. While the Director frequently walks the public access/dam side of the pond for safety checks, the BAA is unable to enforce beach membership rules at the boat launch and dam. As stated above, the BAA will work with the Town to ensure that beach members access Stiles only through the gated lot.
If a prospective beach goer refuses to yield to the BAA’s request to deny access, the BAA’s only recourse will be to call on the Police Department for assistance. Chief Riter has assured the BAA of the department’s full support in this matter. In addition, Boxford PD has generously provided Stiles Pond with a police radio for direct communication with the PD, in case of emergencies of any kind.
2. Social Distancing:
2A: Each blanket allotment maintains a 6 person maximum, separated by 12 feet between groups.
Upon arrival to the pond lot, when the attendant is taking a head count, the occupants of the car will affirm they are of the same household. This language and further instructions will be included in the membership waiver.
Beach allotment areas will be marked with appropriate signage (such as lawn signs one would see for political candidates or high school graduates) at appropriately distant spots on the beach, clearly marking off each area.
Members will be informed of policy upon joining. They will sign an acknowledgement of policy with their membership. Refusal to follow pond policy will result in potential revocation of membership, forfeiting membership fees.
Member guest passes will not be issued at Stiles until Phase 4 (“New Normal”), approximate date of July 20, 2020, goes into effect, or until the BoH has cleared the BAA to issue additional passes.
A limited number of non-member Boxford resident day passes will be available each day, depending on the number of full members present at the beach at a given time.
All beach allotments will have a 4 hour limit, allowing for families to rotate in and out throughout the day. A record of time in and time out will be kept by the parking attendant.
2B: Wearing of face masks when social distancing isn’t possible.
The BAA proposes that the mask requirement is included in the membership waiver and policy, and that beach goers who don’t adhere to any beach policy are at risk of having their membership revoked. The enforcement of all policy resides with the Director, or a BAA board member, or designated adult BAA volunteer or employee.
2C: Beach games including but not limited to volleyball, frisbee, pickle, football, etc. are prohibited.
Signage and/or waiver/policy acknowledgement at time of member sign up will advise members of policy, and will be enforced by the Director, other BAA board member, employee, or volunteer.
2D: Occupancy of the floating dock at the beach shall be limited to the total number of persons at any one time calculated by: Total dock surface area (sq ft) / 36 sq ft
The BAA proposes to leave the docks out of the water, including the floating docks, to maximize water area for social distancing purposes. The BAA will consult with the DPW for the safest way to secure the unused docks throughout the season.
2E: The BOH recognizes that young adults and children will want to interact and play resulting in close contact interactions both on the beach and in the water. The BOH also recognizes that it will be difficult if not impossible to prevent all such interactions. The BAA will acknowledge such interactions will occur and propose a reasonable method to limit them.
The BAA proposes this will be included in the waiver and acknowledgement of policy, and to allow lifeguards in real time to advise social distancing water protocol to members, and remind members and their children that shared toys such as balls and frisbees are not allowed on the beach per the BOH. This falls under water safety and is under the purview of the guards, with further guidance from the Director as needed. With this in mind, the BAA will not offer Red Cross swimming lessons for the current season.
2F: Restricted use of playground and beach equipment such as kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, and picnic tables.
The BAA proposes that the playground should remain closed until at least the Commonwealth of MA Phase 4, or until the Boxford BoH has cleared the BAA to open it. The beach equipment such as paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and picnic tables will remain in storage until at least Phase 4 or until the Boxford BoH has cleared the BAA to allow for public usage.
2G: Signage: The BAA will propose appropriate signage to be placed at locations before entering the beach area and on the beach announcing the restrictions on social interactions required by the BOH.
The BAA proposes that signage should be located at the beach entrance on the left side of the snack shack; on the interior and exterior doors of both bathrooms; on the interior and exterior door of the snack shack; within the pond bulletin board; on the perimeter of the beach at the waterline; with a signed waiver and acknowledgement of policy at time of sign-up; online at the BAA/Stiles website, on the Stiles Instagram, and posted to the Boxford Parents Facebook page. Proposed signage text may include but is not limited to: “Until further notice: Please be advised that the Boxford Board of Health has issued guidelines for beach use at this time, including maintaining a 12 foot distance between blanket groups, at least 6 feet of social distancing at all times on the beach and in the water, and the use of face masks when social distancing is not possible.”
3. Snack Shack: The beach snack bar will be allowed to operate during opening hours at the beach. The snack bar shall be take-out only.
All snack bar workers need to wear gloves, masks, and full body aprons at all times. Masks and gloves need to be discarded if a worker leaves the snack bar for any purpose. New gloves and mask must be put on when returning. Aprons, if washable, need to be used only one day and then washed. If disposable, the aprons will be used for only one day. Short sleeves are recommended for snack bar workers, with gloves extending past the wrist.
Snack bar surfaces will be wiped down with sanitizer at the close of each day.
Customers at the snack bar must socially distance while waiting in line. A means to mark six foot distances in the line needs to be set in place by the BAA. Snack bar customers need to put on a face mask when within 10 feet of the ordering window. Signage will be put in place stating this requirement. No face mask means no service.
For reference, the Snack Shack is take-out only. The BAA proposes it will provide disposable gloves and either disposable or cloth reusable masks for employees. The BAA will provide (1) washable full-length apron per snack shack employee, which they will be responsible for laundering after each shift and bring back clean for the next shift. The BAA provides a short-sleeved uniform shirt to each snack shack employee. Surfaces are cleaned and will be sanitized with an appropriate disinfectant at the close of each day. The BAA will mark off 6ft spaces for social distancing purposes with orange traffic cones or similar. Signage will advise of “no mask, no service” policy while ordering. Snack shack employees will be trained to respectfully remind members to wear a mask while ordering. Snack shack employees will direct further member issues or comments to the Director.
4. Sanitation: Areas of common use must be wiped down after each day’s use or as otherwise noted using a disinfecting cleaner. Such areas include but are not limited to:
All beach equipment used by beachgoers, including the playground
Snack bar areas (see above)
Lifeguard stations after each change of use by individuals
The BAA proposes, as above, to close the playground until at least Phase 4, as well as keep all beach equipment in storage until at least Phase 4, or until such time as equipment is cleared for use by the BoH, because such outdoor and water equipment cannot be appropriately sanitized with chemical disinfectant, with regard to the freshwater ecosystem of Stiles Pond. Unless another, more practicable solution is proposed, guard stations will be in the form of portable individual chairs with umbrellas, which will be brought to the top of the beach (near the snack shack garage, away from the waterline) to be sanitized with each shift change. The guard leaving will sanitize the chair, and the guard coming on shift will collect the clean chair and bring it to the waterline. During this shift change there may be a brief (approximately 5-10 minute) period where swimmers will be required to leave the water to allow guards to exit the beach, sanitize the chairs, and new guards to set up on the beach. Another viable option is for each guard to bring his or her own chair to the beach for his/her scheduled shift, and carry it off the beach when the shift is over.
4. Trash: The BAA will cite in its operational plan how trash will be collected and disposed both from the snack bar and beach goers. We suggest for beach goers a 'bring-in, take out' requirement.
The BAA will suggest the bring in/take out policy to its members through the membership waiver and via online methods. Barring that, the beach trash and snack shack trash will be disposed of as necessary, per our usual practice, with additional precautions such as using gloves and face masks.
Approved by the BoH on 6/12/20: "The BOH accepts the BAA plan accepting and detailing adherence to the conditions set by the BOH allowing the opening of Stiles Pond Beach, contingent on an additional BOH review of the plan when Massachusetts enters Phase 4 of the Baker Covid-19 opening plan."
As of this morning, 6.12.20, the Board of Health has approved the BAA's proposal to open Stiles Pond Beach for the 2020 summer season. We will meet with the Board of Selectmen on Monday for Town approval:
"The BOH accepts the BAA plan accepting and detailing adherence to the conditions set by the BOH allowing the opening of Stiles Pond Beach, contingent on an additional BOH review of the plan when Massachusetts enters Phase 4 of the Baker Covid-19 opening plan."
We still have to clear a few hurdles, but if we work together as a community, spending the summer at Stiles is within reach.
Thank you for your patience and support!
Hello, beach families and staff!
I hope you are well.
On 6/9, the BAA sent a final draft of a proposal to the Board of Health to open Stiles Pond Beach. We are awaiting their response. If the BoH approves our proposal, we meet with the Board of Selectmen on Monday 6/15. From there, we will decide whether we are able to open Stiles for the summer, given the demands of the current health emergency and the many challenges it presents.
As a group, you have completed a survey with an overwhelming response in favor of opening Stiles. Thank you - we are grateful for your input! However, we *must* have a minimum of 240 family memberships, as well as a number of individual memberships, to cover operating costs for the season. Even this number may leave the BAA with a deficit.
Stiles employs about 20-25 local kids each summer, as guards and in the snack shack. We hope we can provide for our members and our staff, too.
We do realize that this summer will be different; going to Stiles will not be the same experience it has been in past summers. We understand this is an uncertain time. But - again - with the Town's approval and health and safety protocols in place - the BAA hopes to open Stiles as a resource where we can start to feel a little bit more like a community again, have a little fun outside, and (of course) get a slushie. If we are to do this successfully, we will need your full support as members, and cooperation in following additional guidelines for the well-being of all members and staff.
Thank you, always, for your encouragement and love for the BAA's programs and, especially (from me), for Stiles. We couldn't do any of it without the support of the entire community!
Hello, Boxford Residents and Stiles Pond Beach Members!
The BAA, along with the Board of Health and the Board of Selectmen, is currently working on a plan to safely open Stiles Pond Beach in a financially reasonable way for the 2020 season within the Phased Guidelines of the Commonwealth of MA and the Stiles-specific contingencies set by the BoH. In short, prior to opening the pond, certain conditions must be met.
On Tuesday, May 26, the BoH issued a set of guidelines to the BAA. The BAA is in the process of creating a proposal that addresses the health and safety concerns laid out in the document put forth by the BoH. The BAA will then submit this proposal to the BoH. This is an ongoing conversation. I will forward updates and information as I have them. Thank you for your patience.
In the meantime, the beach remains CLOSED per the Board of Health. The playground remains CLOSED per the Board of Health. The public access boat launch side remains open, but with VERY LIMITED PARKING. Please do not park on Stiles Pond Road, blocking access to residents and emergency vehicles. Your car will be ticketed and/or towed.
If you have any questions or comments about the BAA or Town policies regarding this matter, please email me. If I cannot answer your questions or address your concerns, I will direct you to the person who is able to do so.
Thank you, and take care! I hope to see you at the beach soon.
Upon further review and conferencing with Town of Boxford officials regarding the current findings of the MA Dept. of Public Health, and in alignment with the closure of all town athletic fields and Masconomet's athletic programs being moved off-site due to EEE, Stiles Pond Beach will be closed for the remainder of the season.
The safety of the members and staff of Stiles Pond Beach is always the priority of the BAA.
Please email me with questions regarding the beach closure.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus
Confirmed in Mosquito Pool from Boxford.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) today informed the Town of Boxford Health Department that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus has been detected in a mosquito sample from Boxford, Massachusetts. This is the first positive EEE detection in Boxford since 2017.
This notice is being provided, as per the “Boxford Board of Health Protocol Response to Positive Mosquito Borne Virus Finding in Boxford”, that the Boxford Board of Health:
*Has issued an order for all playing/ball fields to be closed, outdoor recess and outdoor sports at schools be canceled until barrier spraying has occurred and post-spray the waiting period has passed;
*Will authorize NEMMC to spray all public fields and school yards for mosquitoes as soon as notification and weather will permit.
Residents are urged to protect themselves and children from mosquito bites, please see the below websites for additional information. Also residents are urged to empty any standing pools of water on their property.
EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness.
With an abundance of caution, the BAA has decided to close Stiles Pond Beach for the weekend of August 24 - August 25, 2019. We will speak with the Board of Health on Monday morning and, with their approval, we hope to reopen the pond with limited hours on 8/26/19.
Information about the pond closing has also been posted at Stiles: on the gate, on the Snack Shack, and on the bulletin board. Please check back here or on Instagram @stilespondbeach for updates.
Welcome back to Stiles Pond!
A few updates for 2019:
Docks will go into the water on Sunday, June 9. Please email me directly if you are able to assist with this task.
The beach and Snack Shack will open for the season on June 15, and remain open through Labor Day, September 2.
Swim lessons begin July 8 and continue Mon-Thurs through August 1. Our annual Fun Day for swim lessons students is scheduled for August 2, with a rain date of August 9.
Pond membership and swim lessons registration is done in person at the pond starting June 15. To sign up, please see me or one of the lifeguards.
You will note that we have raised the membership fees this season. The BAA's first priority is the safety of the children and families enrolled in its programs and as Stiles Beach members. To that end, we have invested in additional trainings for our lifeguards, and increasing their salary.
We are looking forward to another safe and happy season! As always, please email me or see me at Stiles if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.
See you at the pond!
Please note: Effective immediately, children under age 14 MUST be accompanied by a parent, guardian, caregiver, or supervising adult at Stiles Pond. Under no circumstances should any child under the age of 14 years old be dropped off at the beach without an adult present. Thank you.
Stiles Pond Beach, just off Main Street, with some of the cleanest fresh water in eastern Massachusetts, is the place to meet friends and neighbors in this relaxed and fun atmosphere during the hot months of June, July and August. Membership to the Keith Koster Park at Stiles Pond is offered to residents of Boxford only, for a nominal fee.
Registration is ongoing throughout the season. Proof of residency or town employment is required. Stiles Pond Beach Hours are weather permitting.
The beach association's dedicated volunteers, staff, and lifeguards run the beach during the summer months, and there are always plenty of fun things to do. Beach members have access to canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards, all free of charge. A concession stand serving hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and slush is open during prime time hours. There's a basketball and volleyball area, a playground for the children, docks, floats and plenty of picnic tables. Family picnics, birthday parties, and cookouts are a tradition at Keith Koster Park.
Stiles Pond Beach offers swimming lessons by certified Red Cross instructors. Swimmers will be evaluated and placed in the appropriate swim group. During Swim Lessons, only participants in the lessons are allowed in the water.
PLEASE READ THE WEBSITE CAREFULLY FOR ALL FEES AND POLICIES. THE LIFEGUARDS ARE EMPOWERED TO REVOKE OR SUSPEND A MEMBER'S PRIVILEGES FOR VIOLATIONS OF ANY OF THE REGULATIONS.
Most years, the Beach operates exclusively by the fees that the membership pay and no tax dollars are spent towards improvements or maintenance; however, in 2018, the town generously voted to finance some much-needed safety improvements to the beloved Snack Shack. The Beach Committee has worked hard over the years to make Keith Koster Park something we can all be proud of. We look forward to seeing everyone this summer. If you have any comments or suggestions please contact the Beach Director.
Pond registration is available during pond hours. Please see the Beach Director or a lifeguard to register. Membership and swim lessons fees are payable by cash or check (we are unable to process credit cards).
Membership is limited to Boxford residents and town employees. Registrants are required to show proof of residency or town employment when picking up wristbands from lifeguards.
Stiles Pond Beach will be open, beach and weather conditions permitting, on June 15-September 2, 2019 (Labor Day).
Family membership: $185
Single membership: $75
Senior rates (age 62 and older): $25 per person
Guests (must be accompanied by a member): $5 per person
Boxford resident non-member day pass: $25 per day (up to 4 people); $5 each additional person
BEACH HOURS 2019
June 15-August 4: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm; Sun 10am-8pm
Aug 5-September 2: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sunday 10am-7pm
Red Cross swim lessons, with WSI certified lifeguard instructors, are available at the pond. Please see the Beach Director or a lifeguard to enroll, or for additional information. Lessons will be held beginning July 8th, and are organized by ability. The cost is $90/swimmer for members, $100/swimmer for non-members (maximum cost $200/family). During swim lessons, the beach will open to all swimmers at 11:30am. Only those students enrolled in the Red Cross program may swim during the lesson period. Class size is limited and on a first come, first served basis.
We are looking forward to a great summer. See you at the pond!