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Tim Purinton

Tim Purinton

Acting Director, Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration

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Usually The Great Outdoors blog presents opportunities to see nature at its fullest and most picturesque. Well, if you want to witness nature being reborn, you can visit one of the largest dams to be dismantled to date in Massachusetts.

The Briggsville Dam, adjacent to Route 8 in Clarksburg (a five minute drive from North Adams), has been blocking natural river flow for over a century. The 16 foot tall, 150 foot long dam is partially removed and a new channel is now being carved in 100 years’ of accumulated sediment.

Removal of the dam will allow brook trout, slimy sculpin, longnose sucker and other sensitive fish that need clear, cold, rushing water to access over 30 miles of stream that stretches into Vermont to the north. It will also eliminate a source of pollution – the mill pond, which has been warming the stream for years and degrading native wildlife habitat.

While we have many dam removal projects ongoing, it’s rare to see such a large one so close the road. So take a drive and take a look, but if you go please stay out of the marked construction areas.

If you make the trip, North Adams is home to MASS MoCA and the Natural Bridge State Forest.

According to my colleagues at DCR, Natural Bridge Park has the only naturally formed white marble arch in North America. The natural bridge for which the park is named is 550 million year old bedrock marble carved into an arch by the force of glacial melt water over 13,000 years ago. The bridge spans Hudson Brook which flows through a 60-foot deep gorge.

Sounds like all the ingredients for a trip to the great outdoors.

Check out a post about the project on the US Department of Agriculture blog.

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