Parks, Conservation Areas & Trails
Wellfleet’s natural beauty wouldn’t exist without the efforts of so many people who’ve worked for years to protect its beautiful but delicate ecosystem. The result is that about 70% of the town is now preserved as open space. And the great majority of it is open and available for anyone to explore and enjoy.
About half of Wellfleet is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was established in 1961. This national park – 44,000 acres in all – includes a 40-mile stretch of open beach from Chatham to Provincetown, along with forests, salt marshes, sand dunes, freshwater ponds, bogs, and more.
Wellfleet is also home to one of the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s loveliest properties, the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary has 1,100 acres, and five miles of trails that take you through rare heathland, as well as salt marshes, beaches, pine woods, and ponds. Bird watchers know it as a great place to spot songbirds and shorebirds. The Sanctuary’s Nature Center is also a work of conservation, recognized for its energy-saving measures.
Wellfleet’s citizens have also protected hundreds of acres from future development. Local residents serve as members of the Town of Wellfleet’s Open Space Committee and its Conservation Commission. Both the Town of Wellfleet and the private nonprofit Wellfleet Conservation Trust own open space. In many cases the Town and Wellfleet Conservation Trust have worked together with private landowners to create a network of adjoining properties, like the Fox Island Marsh and Pilgrim Spring Woodlands Conservation Area. For a complete list of conservation lands and trails for your own exploration, click here.
Use each of these properties lightly, as if they were your own, and help us – and future generations — continue enjoying this special place.
Photo Credits: Frank Isik & Dave Danziger