The Goldthwait Reservation is a private, non-profit land trust created in 1947 by Dr. Joel Goldthwait to preserve and maintain the natural setting of approximately 12 acres of coastal property, comprised of Goldthwait Beach, the surrounding land area, and the salt marsh. Though urged to sell this land as parcels for development, Dr. Goldthwait took action to preserve this private property in the public trust for the recreation and enjoyment of all the townspeople of Marblehead.

Beach Fire Permits

If you would like to have a small fire on the beach, attended by no more than 12 people, please use the Beach Fire Permit Application (form link below). Please note, the permits are for small cooking fires only (not bonfires) and permits are issued based on availability, with only one being granted per night (in an effort to reduce noise, trash, and vandalism). Beach fire permits are granted through the Goldthwait Reservation (and not the fire department) and must be requested at least 48 hours in advance. Any un-permitted beach fires will be subject to enforcement and fines. Thank you for respecting these policies.

Event/Area Use Permits

If you would like to hold an event at the park or beach/dune area of Goldthwait, permits are required for parties of more than 12 people. These larger organized parties must be approved by the Officers of the Reservation prior to use and applicants are required to submit a General Use Permit Application (see form link below). Applicants must be Goldthwait donors and pay the applicable permit fee and a deposit to cover any clean-up expenses. Please contact Jeanne Kleene at 617-922-0656 or email permits.gwr@gmail.com to confirm availability of your desired date and to submit your request. For more information, see the Policies & Permits page.

Firepit Use

For use of the firepit in the park area (regardless of the number of people), please use the same General Use Permit Application.

Parking Permits

Contribute $50 to receive a parking sticker to enter the Goldthwait Reservation parking lot. Marblehead residents who contribute $75 or more will receive two parking stickers. To donate and receive your stickers, download and send in the completed Donation Form with your payment.

You also have the option of simply clicking on the “Donate” button below to pay online (enter an amount and note about where to send the stickers).

Thank you!

Volunteer Today

We’re always looking for the community’s support to help keep Goldthwait Reservation clean, healthy, and ready for visitors. There are many opportunities to help out, ranging from participating in a beach/marsh cleanup, helping to remove invasive vegetation within the marsh, or joining a fundraising effort. To learn more about how you can help join the cause, email goldthwait.reservation@gmail.com.


Becoming a donor is as simple as providing an annual donation to help Goldthwait Reservation Inc. reach its goals. As a donor, you will be helping to protect and restore the nature and wildlife of the marsh, dune, beach, and recreational park area. Go to our Donate page to help. Or click here:

Street Guide

Interested in learning about Goldthwait stories of yore? This book, Street Guide to the Greater Goldthwait Neighborhood, by Jackie Lynch provides insights and interesting before and after images of some of our favorite neighborhood places! Purchase one and all profits go to the Goldthwait Reservation, Inc. Thanks!

VIDEO: Egret Animation by Issac Grenader

Marblehead resident Isaac Grenader is a sophomore at the Rhode Island School of Design, studying experimental animation and film. He explores themes of nature and conservancy in his work and is also a musician.

He produced this delightful animation based on the sights and sounds of the Goldthwait Reservation.

Drone Footage of the Salt Marsh and Shore

For a bird’s eye view of the Goldthwait Reservation, see this beautiful drone footage provided by Timothy Curé.

Information about North Atlantic Right Whales

The critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whales have been spotted off Goldthwait Beach in past years. These whales congregate in large numbers in Cape Cod Bay and surrounding waters (like Marblehead) from February through May to feed on dense concentrations of zooplankton. Unfortunately, the North Atlantic Right Whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species, with a current population estimate of fewer than 350 individuals. Threats to their survival include entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes, ocean noise, and impacts from climate change. See the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North Atlantic Right Whale page to find out more about their plight and what you can do to help.

Goldthwait Reservation Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) organization managed by an annually-elected volunteer Board of Directors and Officers. Our mission is to support Dr. Goldthwait’s vision to protect this special area for the recreation and enjoyment by the people of Marblehead. Our responsibilities include the day-to-day management and maintenance of the property, as well as fundraising efforts to support the protection and restoration of the reservation. The reservation is not subsidized or maintained in any way by the Town of Marblehead. A lifelong elected Board of Trustees are responsible for the long-range planning and vision and ensuring that the management of Goldthwait Reservation holds true to its founder’s original charter. With the help of neighbors and citizens, we seek to preserve:

  • the natural beauty and character of the area to be used for outdoor education, recreation, and enjoyment by Marblehead residents;
  • the ecological integrity of the salt marsh, including the native plant species that grow there and the fish and wildlife that use the marsh for food, shelter, and nursery grounds; and
  • the reservation as a fun and safe place to host gatherings, events, and educational activities.