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Preview Your Next Coastal Trail on the Web
By Anne Donovan and Brian W. Mardirosian, CZM
From the comfort of your desk chair, you can sample some of the coastal trails the Commonwealth has to offer. Here’s a selection of some of the places you’ll find...
Self-Guiding Nature Trails, Cape Cod National Seashore
Boston Harbor Islands
Only minutes by sea from downtown Boston, the Boston Harbor Islands are a natural, historical, and cultural treasure that are both remote and highly accessible. This site offers abundant information, including a trip planning guide to this unique state park and National Park Area, which includes 34 islands situated within Boston Harbor and inner Massachusetts Bay. Ferry service is available from downtown Boston and the South Shore throughout the summer season.
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Descriptions and highlights of five main trails at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary are provided on this site, along with information about the butterfly garden. Visitors can wander over boardwalks, along salt marsh and tidal flats, by ponds, through woodlands, and over a sandplain grassland.
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Located on Plum Island, this refuge is famous as a birders’ paradise. This Web site provides a description of the refuge, detailed information about what to do and see, and maps of the area. While exploring one of the four nature trails you can easily spot waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and many of the other avian residents and visitors to the island.
World’s End, owned by the Trustees of Reservations and now part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area, has been used by humans since pre-historic times. As described on this Web site, you can walk along several miles of paths and carriageways designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and enjoy the 360-degree view from the top of Planter’s Hill.
Five trails wander over 55 acres of maritime forest on the edge of an estuary in South Dartmouth. This site provides a map and brief descriptions of the interesting things you will find along the way when wandering through this diverse area, which includes wildflower, swamp, forest, and riverside trails.
Check out the
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Web site at http://www.mass.gov/czm/coastaltrails.htm for connections to more coastal trails.