Accessible Discovery Trail Opens at Copicut Woods

New trail encourages curiosity and exploration in nature for all.

By Kyle Davi, Trustees Staff
View of the Discovery Trail entrance from the parking lot at Copicut Woods in Fall River

This summer, significant strides are being made for both inclusivity and interactivity at Trustees special places with the unveiling of a new Discovery Trail at Copicut Woods in Fall River. Designed to be more accessible and to encourage children to directly engage with nature, this quarter-mile path is the first of its kind for The Trustees.

“The Copicut Discovery Trail adds a captivating new layer to an already expansive and diverse South Coast reservation,” said Kristen Swanberg, Managing Director of Education and Engagement for The Trustees. “It’s the perfect place for young families—and those who might need a greater level of accessibility—to get absorbed in nature, where they might not have had an opportunity before.”

Designed for Interactivity

A Curious Find Station along the Discovery Trail at Copicut Woods in Fall River.

This Curious Find Station includes tactile woodpecker holes.

An immersive experience awaits visitors of all ages, literacy levels, and abilities at five separate Curious Find stations along the accessible stone dust pathway. Each station acts as a gateway to a special inhabitant of Copicut Woods, like tactile woodpecker holes or viewfinders carved through rocks.

Inviting visitors to get up close, the stations offer interactive elements and sensory experiences that foster a deeper connection with the local environment. But what truly sets the Copicut Discovery Trail apart is the commitment to accessibility, ensuring that everyone can partake in the joys of an outdoor adventure.

Grounded in Inclusion

A Curious Find Station along the Discovery Trail at Copicut Woods in Fall River.

This Curious Find Station depicts the log holes amphibians like to call home.

“The accessibility component was critical right from the onset of the project,” said Sara Brunelle, Studio Director at Lu — La Studio, designers of the Copicut Discovery Trail. “Not just accessibility for those in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller to enter the space and engage with a Curious Find, but accessibility for children who might be preliterate or those who speak a different language, so everyone feels invited to participate and interact.”

Participation begins right from the parking area with a large entry banner marking the start of the journey, alongside a pictorial map (also available for download) that allows for multi-lingual and multi-age use. Each Curious Find station is designed with a child’s height and scale in mind and invites them to use their imagination to play in the woods.

Intentionally a Gateway

Entrance to the Discovery Trail at Copicut Woods in Fall River.

The entrance to the Discovery Trail across from the Copicut Woods parking lot.

As part of a larger Trustees initiative to invite the next generation outside and to encourage curiosity about nature, the trail also acts as an entry point to the extensive network of the Trustees’ Copicut Woods reservation and the adjacent Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve trails. Visitors will find 50 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, along with glimpses of the area’s agricultural past, though only the Copicut Discovery Trail is specifically designed for stroller users and those with accessibility needs.

The Copicut Discovery Trail was made possible with support from the Commonwealth’s MassTrails Grants Program.