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Follow a tidal waterway from upstream cranberry bogs and woods to its mouth on a sandy beach at Buttermilk Bay.
What makes the Theodore Lyman Reserve a special place?
Home to one of the last remaining native sea-run brook trout fisheries in the eastern United States, the Theodore Lyman Reserve sits at the mouth of 4.5-mile-long Red Brook on Buttermilk Bay. Lyman is popular today with fly fishers, but catch-and-release only as The Trustees work to restore this treasured habitat.
Red Brook, the ecological, cultural, and scenic highlight of the reservation, is a 4.5-mile, spring-fed, coldwater stream that flows from White Island Pond to Buttermilk Bay. One of the few coastal streams in Massachusetts that supports anadromous fish (migratory fish which hatch in freshwater, make their way to sea to grow, and return as adults to spawn), Red Brook is home to one of the last remaining native sea-run brook trout fisheries in the eastern United States. It was one family's love for these "salters" that made the preservation of this special place possible.
In addition to Red Brook, the Lyman Reserve features freshwater wetlands, forested uplands, a sandy beach, and a scenic stretch of coastal shoreline with views of Buttermilk Bay and the Cape Cod Canal vertical lift railroad bridge.
The forested uplands are largely vegetated by mixed conifer and pitch pine-oak forests, with occasional patches of pitch pine-scrub oak habitat. Red maple swamp lines the riparian zone along the margins of Red Brook. Red Brook and the diversity of environments surrounding it provide important habitat for a variety of plant and animal species characteristic of southeastern Massachusetts. Many rare species have also been found, including several species of plants, birds, moths, and reptiles.
The traditional recreation on the property was fly fishing, and this area proves popular to the public today. The more popular areas to cast a fly are from the various old bridge and flume sites upstream and from the marsh near the mouth of Red Brook.
A 1.5-mi. loop trail winds its way from the parking lot to Red Brook, crossing it via rustic wooden bridges, and inviting deeper exploration of the Reserve’s freshwater wetlands, forested uplands, and sandy beach. A scenic stretch of coastal shoreline offers views of Buttermilk Bay and the Cape Cod Canal vertical lift railroad bridge. A 0.25-mi. trail across Head of the Bay Road provides a scenic loop through scrub oak and pine to the beach on beautiful Buttermilk Bay.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.