ATTLEBORO — Mass Audubon’s Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary can now be reached by public transportation, thanks to a new trail that links it to a bus stop on Park Street (Route 118).
The trail, which was formally opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, winds across the 26 acres acquired by Audubon in 2019 from the Dorrance family for $375,000.
It starts about 50 feet from a GATRA bus stop on Park Street across from Prospect Avenue and runs for about half a mile to Mass Audubon’s Nature Center on Park.
It also connects to other trails in Audubon’s 76-acre property.
With the trail head at a bus stop, those without motor vehicles will be able to take advantage of walks in the woods without having to walk to get there.
“Providing a public transit option to visit the sanctuary will help promote easier access to nature for all,” Mass Audubon South East Director Lauren Kras said in a news release.
It could be especially important in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has wrecked havoc across the state, the release said.
“Being able to take a bus to Oak Knoll will make it easier for Attleboro residents and other people who do not have access to private transportation to enjoy the sanctuary’s array of nature-based programs and activities and perhaps find solace and healing during these still-uncertain times,” the release said.
Those attending the ceremony were Audubon President David O’Neill, Mayor Paul Heroux, Environmental Planner and Conservation Agent Nick Wyllie, Conservation Commissioner Brian Hatch, Attleboro Land Trust board member Ted Leach, state Rep. Jim Hawkins D-Attleboro, state Sen. Paul Feeney D-Foxboro, and former Oak Knoll director and current Audubon South director Lauren Gordon.
O’Neill presented details of Mass Audubon’s five-year Action Agenda, which focuses on climate action at every level, saving more land to support vulnerable wildlife and helping ensure many more people of diverse backgrounds and experiences can connect with nature.
The Dorrance property was purchased thanks to about 200 individuals and businesses who donated the cash needed.
The 26 acres increased Audubon’s holdings in the area by about 50 percent, going from 50 acres to 76 acres.