adventures
The local wetlands abound with turtles and flowering plants.

Mattapoisett River Reserve, Mattapoisett, MA

Text & Photos by Tom Richardson

In the heart of the Mattapoisett River Valley, 0n the South Coast of Massachusetts, lies an unexpected oasis of forest and freshwater wetlands called the Mattapoisett River Reserve. With 300 acres to explore, the Reserve offers the public a unique outdoor destination for hiking, birdwatching, mountain biking, and even fishing—just minutes from Interstate 195.

 

When you enter the Mattapoisett River Reserve at The Bogs, one of two parking spots located along Acushnet Road, you quickly see how the property got its name. The property comprises some 50 acres of former cranberry bogs, with berms that serve as raised walking trails. Already the bogs are being reclaimed by native vegetation.

 

Two well-marked parking areas provide easy access to the trails.

The bogs were actively managed and harvested for 80 years, until the Buzzards Bay Coalition purchased the property in 2011. Although the bogs are now retired from commercial production and will eventually revert to wetlands, cranberries still grow in a few areas and are available for public harvest.

At the back edge of the reserve lies a freshwater swamp teeming with wildlife. Colorful wildflowers grow along the edge of the swamp in summer, and turtles laze on logs. Expect to see many types of birds, from osprey to great blue heron to orioles. Waterfowl such as mallards, black ducks, and wood ducks paddle past, dabbling for food in the shallow water.

 

Cranberries litter the bog banks.

The Mattapoisett River Reserve is an excellent destination for hiking and walking. The trails are wide and fairly even, giving mountain bikers a good place to ride. Dogs are welcome at the reserve, as long as owners keep them under control and clean up after them.

The reserve’s trail network leads through the former cranberry bogs and along the swamp into a forest of tall pines. As you walk through the woods, you can hear water flowing along Tripps Mill Brook, a tributary of the Mattapoisett River. And if you’re lucky (and quiet), you may catch sight of a deer or flock of wild turkey. And keep an eye out for the resident (and harmless) black racer snake!

The Reserve is laced by well-groomed walking paths.

At the northern edge of the Mattapoisett River Reserve lies Tinkham Pond, which feeds into Tripps Mill Brook. The reserve hugs the southern shore of Tinkham Pond, offering an access point for anglers who want to fish for bass, sunfish, yellow perch, pickerel, and other freshwater species.

With a convenient parking area across the street on Acushnet Road, Tripps Mill is an excellent place cast a line or enjoy afternoon picnic along the water.