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New Bedford Harbor, a body of water shared with Fairhaven, is actually the estuary of the Acushnet River where it empties into Buzzards Bay . The river empties into the bay beyond Clark's Point, the southernmost point of the city. To the west of Clark's Point is Clark's Cove, which extends landward approximately one and a half mile from the bay. Just south of Palmer's Island, beginning near Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven, lies a two-mile-long hurricane barrier, constructed in the 1960s to protect the inner harbor where the fishing fleet anchors. Along with Palmer's Island, the city also lays claim to Fish Island and Pope's Island . Between these two islands lies one of the three sections, the central section, of the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge. The central span, a swing bridge, connects the two islands as well as allowing boats and ships passage to the upper harbor. Two conventional bridges connect each of the islands to the nearest mainland, Fish Island to New Bedford and Pope's Island to Fairhaven. In addition to the harbor, there are several small brooks and ponds within the city limits.
There are several parks and playgrounds located throughout the city, the largest being Brooklawn Park in the north end, Fort Taber Park (also referred to as Fort Rodman, the name of another fort built there) at Clark's Point, and Buttonwood Park, directly west of the downtown area near the Dartmouth town line. Buttonwood Park is also the site of a lagoon which feeds into Buttonwood Brook, and the Buttonwood Zoo. In the northwest part of the town, extending into Dartmouth, lies the Acushnet Cedar Swamp State Reservation.
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Receiving nation attention during the 1960's and 70's, songs and movies about truck driving were major hits. Finding solidarity, truck drivers participated in widespread strikes. Truck drivers from all over opposed the rising cost of fuel. Not to mention this is during the energy crises of 1873 and 1979. In 1980 the Motor Carrier Act drastically deregulated the trucking industry. Since then trucking has come to dominate the freight industry in the latter part of the 20th century. This coincided with what are now known as 'big-box' stores such as Target or Wal-Mart.