Additional Wildlife Sanctuaries South of Boston

Stump Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
Stump Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuary network South of Boston includes 22 properties. Of these, 9 are ready to be explored with marked trails, maps, and signage including:

Allens Pond, Dartmouth/Westport
Attleboro Springs, Attleboro
Daniel Webster, Marshfield
Great Neck, Wareham
Moose Hill, Sharon
North Hill Marsh, Duxbury
North River, Marshfield
Oak Knoll, Attleboro
Stony Brook, Norfolk

At Allens Pond, Moose HillNorth River, Oak Knoll, and Stony Brook you will also find nature centers with naturalists to help inform your experience.

The other 13 wildlife sanctuaries (listed below) are conserved lands that provide valuable habitats, are ecologically managed, and regularly monitored but not yet "prepared for the public" to visit. We are working to prepare more of our wildlife sanctuaries for public visitation and we will update these pages as marked trails, parking areas, maps, and signage are provided at these sites. 


Assonet Cedar Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary, Lakeville/Freetown

1,022 acres

Location

Assonet Cedar Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary is an Atlantic white cedar wetland, located in Bristol County, primarily in the town of Lakeville but also Freetown.

Conservation Features

Along with the extensive Atlantic White Cedar swamp habitat, it also contains significant amounts of red maple swamp, a remote riparian corridor, and some upland oak-pine and beech-birch forests. The swamp is very important habitat for a variety of plants found more commonly north of Bristol County. It also represents important breeding habitat for birds that favor extensive forest and wooded streams.

Nearby Places to Explore

North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (Duxbury) • Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham)


Little Cedar Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary, Lakeville/Freetown

66 acres

Location

Primarily in Lakeville with a small section in Freetown, Little Cedar Swamp is near the largest complex of natural freshwater lakes in Massachusetts. 

Conservation Features

The wildlife sanctuary is comprised of rare Atlantic White Cedar wetland, but also contains oak-pine woodlands and rocky outcroppings.

Nearby Places to Explore

Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham)


Cromeset Neck and Mark’s Cove Marsh Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wareham

47 acres

Location

Situated along the shore of Buzzards Bay and the Weweantic River in the town of Wareham, this wildlife sanctuary consists of three separate parcels within one mile of each other, including Mark’s Cove Wildlife Sanctuary.

Conservation Features

Salt marsh comprises most of the wildlife sanctuary. The property also contains about six contiguous acres of coastal woodland. Approximately half of the acreage is BioMap2 Core Habitat as classified by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and all is classified as BioMap2 Critical Natural Landscape. 

Nearby Places to Explore

Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham) • Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary (Dartmouth/Westport)


Norwell Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Norwell

12 acres

Location

This wildlife sanctuary is situated on the banks of the North River, a designated State Scenic and Recreational River, in Norwell.

Conservation Features

This wildlife sanctuary includes a freshwater tidal marsh, a relatively rare natural community in Massachusetts. The wildlife sanctuary is an important part of a larger complex of open space, increasing the overall ecological value of the relatively small parcel. Observe wildlife from a canoe or kayak while paddling along the river (always check tide charts before you go).

Nearby Places to Explore

North River Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield) • Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield)


Onset Bluff Wildlife Sanctuary, Wareham

3 acres

Location

Located about one-quarter mile from Shell Point Bay, Onset Bluff Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Village of Onset, within Town of Wareham.

Conservation Features

Onset Bluff Wildlife Sanctuary contains two ecological communities: coastal woodland (part of a coastal bluff) and wooded swamp invaded with nonnative plants, such as bittersweet, shrub honeysuckle, and common reed.

Nearby Places to Explore

Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham)


Tilden Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield

25 acres

Location

Situated within North Marshfield, this wildlife sanctuary is part of a large complex of protected open space that includes municipal and nonprofit trust conservation lands as well as private properties that are subject to conservation restrictions.

Conservation Features

Tree swallows and chimney swifts along with a variety of butterflies and other pollinators flock to this grassland that is surrounded on three sides by woodlands: a deciduous woodland to the west, a coniferous (white pine) forest to the south, and a mixed deciduous/coniferous woodland to the east.

Nearby Places to Explore

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield) • North River Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield)


Tilden Island and Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuaries, Marshfield

8 acres (Tilden Island) and 6 acres (Pine Island)

Location

Tilden Island and Pine Island wildlife sanctuaries are two small island properties located within the estuary of the North and South rivers in Marshfield. 

Conservation Features

These properties are comprised of salt marsh and low wooded and shrubby uplands, often with copious amounts of poison ivy. Both islands have been classified as BioMap2 Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. This island habitat may be best observed and appreciated by canoe or kayak from the adjacent English Marsh Wildlife Management Area.

Nearby Places to Explore

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield) • North River Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield)


Ward Rock Wildlife Sanctuary, Fairhaven

20 acres

Location

This coastal property located on Shaw’s Cove in Fairhaven covers about half of a small peninsula known as Nuland’s Neck. The sanctuary is part of a much larger complex of protected open space, including land owned by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust, Fairhaven Conservation Commission, and private lands subject to conservation restrictions.

Conservation Features

The property is comprised of coastal forest adjoining salt marsh habitat. The salt marsh serves as a foraging area for common terns and least terns. It is possible that roseate terns (federally-listed) also forage in the area, as their main nesting island, Bird Island in Marion, is approximately six miles northeast of Ward Rock. American woodcock and black ducks have been found on the site. 

Nearby Places to Explore

Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary (Dartmouth/Westport) • Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham)


Gunning Island and Little Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuaries, Westport

12 acres (Gunning Island) and 2 acres (Little Pine Island)

Location

Located in the waters off Westport, these islands are part of the Allens Pond and Westport River Watershed Important Bird Area.

Conservation Features

The area surrounding these islands support the densest nesting populations of ospreys along the East Coast and was one of the first areas where the birds recovered from the devastating impacts of DDT. This area also offers nesting, feeding, and staging for a variety of shorebirds. The islands are covered with dense shrubby vegetation including copious amounts of poison ivy.

Nearby Places to Explore

Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary (Dartmouth/Westport) • Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham)


Stump Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Halifax

263 acres

Location

Part of the Taunton River Watershed, this wildlife sanctuary is bordered on its north and west by its namesake brook, on its east by a farm and active cranberry bog, and on the south by a residential area. The wildlife sanctuary also abuts the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Burrage Ponds Wildlife Management Area.

Conservation Features

Much of the property is wetland, primarily wooded swamps dominated by red maples and marshes. The wildlife sanctuary also contains one of the few examples of an Atlantic white cedar wetland in the Mass Audubon statewide wildlife sanctuary system. Many species of birds associated with forests, freshwater marshes, and shrublands are found at this site. 

Nearby Places to Explore

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield) • North River Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield) • Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary (Attleboro) • Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary (Attleboro)