The Arboretum boasts a trail system through open meadows, beside woodland ponds, along a glacial esker, and through a bog. A handicapped accessible trail provides access to the herb garden, butterfly garden, hosta garden, daylily garden, rhododendron garden, lilac fragrance garden, and a pond planting. The Wildflower Trail provides access to a wide range of woodland habitats.
Parking is available at the Arboretum's main entrance, off Taylor Road. Much of the area adjacent to the parking lot is handicapped-accessible, and is open, with graveled paths, gardens, bridges, and picnic tables. Trails and paths crisscross the entire area.
Latest News (September 2015)
The Acton Arboretum parking lot at 2 Taylor Road will be undergoing construction related to two Community Preservation Act funded projects.
The first construction project is to enlarge, grade and pave the parking area and increase handicap accessibility. The other project is to install electrical service and an irrigation well at the Arboretum in order to provide a separate water supply. Funding and execution of both projects were approved by voters at the 2014 April Town Meeting.
Construction will occur in several phases beginning immediately, and is expected to last intermittently this autumn. Visitors are urged to be aware that available parking at the main Arboretum entrance at 2 Taylor Road will be affected and impaired. Alternate parking for and access into the Arboretum can be found at the end of Wood Lane; behind the Center Fire Station at 3 Concord Road; or at Acton Town Hall and Acton Memorial Library at 472 Main Street. There are sidewalks and crosswalks at each of these locations for safe pedestrian access to the Arboretum upper grounds, except at the Wood Lane entrance. The Wood Lane entrance leads into the wooded portion of the trail system, which is not handicap accessible.
For questions or further information please contact Acton Natural Resources Department (Acton Town Hall, 472 Main Street, Acton, MA 01720) at NR@ACTON-MA.GOV or 978-929-6634.
Thank you volunteers! Dozens of volunteers worked from April to December 2014 making the Arboretum beautiful. Clients from NuPath, a supportive day service for adults with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and acquired brain injury came every Monday to rake paths, weed and mulch gardens and trees, prune overgrowth, paint picnic tables, and rak stone dust trails. They especially enjoyed watching the butterflies in the new sun meadow. The Tuesday and Thursday volunteer groups worked on the fragrance, butterfly, hosta, swale, sun pond, sun meadow, rhododendron garden, and wildflower trail! Eight volunteers took a tree pruning class and set to work on the trees of the upper lawn. Students from Temple Beth Elohim worked hard on the stone dust trails this fall, even working past dark with headlamps! The invasive plants such as honeysuckle, multiflora rose, and barberry were removed from around the edges of the sun pond where the stream flows under the bridge. New low-grow sumac shrubs were planted instead.
And thank you to the Town of Acton Natural Resources Department who keep things looking tip top.
Spring tours for the sight-impaired:The Town of Acton Natural Resources Department in coordination with the Friends of the Acton Arboretum will be offering spring tours in May and June for students and clients of various non-profit schools and organizations with sight impaired members. Visitors will be guided to visit the flowering magnolias and the herb garden, then proceed to the fragrance garden where they may touch, taste and smell different plants (including many species of lilac scents to compare and contrast), hold a frog or an earthworm.
Grants and Improvement Projects: The Taylor Road sidewalk has been completed from Main Street, through the Arboretum hosta garden, to Minot Avenue. Walking this sidewalk in spring will be lovely through the crabapples and past the daffodils.
- Parking Lot improvement: The long awaited Taylor Road parking lot improvement project that was approved at April 2014 Town Meeting will get underway next summer when conditions are dry. The Acton Conservation Commission has permitted the project in accordance with the Wetlands Protection Act. The new parking lot will feature a separate, one-way entrance and exit. It will be paved for ease of winter plowing and for safer access to visitors with different levels of mobility. An additional handicap-accessible parking spot will be added. To filter storm water run-off, a "rain garden" will be built adjacent to the parking lot and the paved surface pitched to drain into the detention garden. Specially selected plants will remove contaminants that often drip from cars, and the water will filter through the different layers of materials in the retention area, eventually recharging the groundwater supply rather than running into a storm drain or directly untreated into wetlands.
- Bog Boardwalk Project:Also approved at April 2014 Town Meeting, this project received its permit from the Conservation Commission on January 21, 2015. It is hoped to begin construction of a safer and more ecological boardwalk through the bog, to replace the aging, sometimes dangerous boardwalk currently in use for the past 25 years. The Acton Highway Department will construct an ADA sidewalk from Minot Ave. to the entrance of the boardwalk so that visitors with all ranges of mobility will be able to enjoy the flora, fauna and geology of the bog. An educational information panel will teach visitors about the unique characteristics of bogs. Bogs are mossy wetlands. Almost all of their water comes from rain and snow. Water in bogs is low in oxygen, very acidic with lots of peat moss, making it very spongy. For more information on the Arboretum bog, visit http://actonarboretum.org/the_land/wetlands.php
- Future Projects:The Natural Resources Department ("NR"), with support from the Friends of the Acton Arboretum, Inc. ("FAA") has submitted a Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant for private wells and irrigation systems to be installed at the Arboretum and at Morrison Farm. The Municipal Properties Department and the Acton Water District highly recommend that these two sites have their own water supply in order to reduce demand on the public wells. NR (also supported by the FAA) also submitted a CPA grant request for funding to replace the fern boardwalk. This aging boardwalk, built over "Mary's Brook" (so dedicated to citizen Mary Michelman, who died in 2010) is in need of replacement. It is sagging due to rotted substructure, vertical post decay and handrail rot. Both the wells and boardwalk projects are under consideration by the Community Preservation Committee. All proposed 2015 CPA projects will be subject to citizen approval at April 2015 Town meeting.
Eagle Scouts:Thank you Matthew Phillips for improving a section of the rhododendron garden trail this summer. It looks great and is much easier to walk on. Other Scouts with plans to complete their service projects in the Arboretum are Jacob Crowley (removing invasive honeysuckle and multiflora rose by the sun pond and replanting native shrubs); and Liam Jones is planning to improve the rhododendron trail connecting to the section Matt Phillips just completed. Thank you, Boy Scouts for your contributions to the Arboretum.
Volunteer Helpers Wanted Two Workdays Each Week. (Workdays will resume in April) Show up to help on Thursday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon; or on Tuesday afternoons (drop-ins ok) from 2:30 to 6:30. We provide tools, or you can bring your own. Be a part of the many volunteers who help tend this town treasure! Please contact Bettina Abe, Town of Acton Natural Resources Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wonder why a trail was paved? Read about how & why the trail was paved.
Welcome to the Acton Arboretum is a 28 minute, educational documentary intended to give the audience an overview of the history, gardens, trails, geology, horticulture, accessibility and volunteerism of the Acton Arboretum. You can find it on YouTube
Pam Resor is the host and she interviews several key members of the community and town staff. If you would like to order a copy of the DVD for $7.00, please email email@example.com.