In order to reach the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve you must enter through the Copicut Woods, a direct gateway to the 13,600-acre stretch of preserved land. Copicut Woods boasts over 5 miles of easy-to-walk trails through upland forests, wetlands and waterways, and remnants of a vibrant agricultural past.
The purpose of the Bioreserve is to protect, restore and enhance the biological diversity and ecological integrity of a large scale ecosystem representative of the region; to permanently protect public water supplies and cultural resources; to offer interpretive and educational programs; and to provide opportunities for appropriate public use and enjoyment of this natural environment.
The Bioreserve includes 5,150 acres of the Freetown/Fall River State Forest; 360 acres of the Acushnet Wildlife Management Area; 4,300 acres of watershed and conservation lands owned by the City of Fall River; and 3,800 acres of the former Acushnet Saw Mills property, being acquired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and The Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit land conservation organization.
Southeastern Massachusetts is one of the fastest growing regions in the state. Statewide we lose 44 acres of open space to development every day, and in this region sprawl is consuming land at three times the rate of population growth. In establishing the Bioreserve, we seized a rare opportunity to protect a large, contiguous forest with diverse habitats and natural communities.
The new Bioreserve encompasses and protects natural communities representative of the region. It also contains several important communities and species considered at risk by the state's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. These include Atlantic white cedar swamps, which host several rare species and have been decreasing over the years due to filling, draining, and extensive conversions to cranberry bogs; and the pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, which host species that are adapted to dry conditions and recurring fires. The Bioreserve is also home to such endangered, threatened, or at risk species as the Plymouth gentian, a flowering plant found only along broad, sloping lakeshores; marbled and four-toed salamanders, spotted and Eastern box turtles, and the barrens buck moth.