Pulaski Park offers a recreational haven for New Bedford residents seeking out some fresh air. Pull up a patch of grass beneath the park’s massive oak tree for a picnic in the field, located behind the Casmir Pulaski Elementary School, or team up for a game of basketball with friends at the public court.
The stand-out feature of this park is the Ross C. Mathieu Nature Trail, established in 1996 in memory of a former student at the Pulaski school. It’s easy to forget you’re still within the city of New Bedford from within these quiet trees — perfect for walking, trail running, and spotting wildlife like deer and songbirds.
The Ross C. Mathieu Nature Trail also serves as a connection for kids between nature and the classroom. The trail itself connects the Pulaski school to surrounding neighborhoods as a Safe Routes to School trail. An outdoor classroom, complete with a circle of benches beneath the forest canopy, provides a place where students can learn in the fresh air.
A mile of looping trail through woods and wetlands takes up the majority of Pulaski Park and forms the Ross C. Mathieu Nature Trail. You’ll spot the entrance to the trail just past the park’s basketball court, next to a large boulder. (Download trail map)
The nature trail follows two interconnected loops, with side trails leading to the Pulaski School and connecting the trail to the end of Tobey Street. Just before entering the second loop, you’ll cross a bridge over a picturesque little stream that leads to the Pulaski school. Stick to the left-hand path to enter the outdoor classroom and look up at an awesomely tall grove of trees. In the spring, you can find a certified vernal pool at the southern end of this loop – a great place for kids to learn about amphibians like frogs and salamanders!
Habitats & Wildlife
The varied forest habitats of the woods around the Ross C. Mathieu Nature Trail are a great place to seek out forest wildlife. Year-round, quiet explorers may be rewarded with a sighting of graceful white-tailed deer as they bound through the trees. This is a particularly good place to explore in the spring, when songbirds fill the canopy above with their song and the vernal pool fills with life. Look out for wood frogs and spotted salamanders, who lay their eggs in these temporary seasonal ponds.