Acting Director, Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration
June is National Rivers Month and Carrie Banks, our Westfield River Wild and Scenic River liaison, has tipped me off to activities and happenings along the Westfield River. The Westfield River is renowned for its many treasures – including one of the best coldwater fisheries in Massachusetts, outstanding historic resources, one of the highest waterfalls in Massachusetts, and bountiful opportunities for outdoor recreation.
To kick-off Rivers Month, I hiked to America’s first Keystone Arch Railroad Bridges (circa 1840s) along the West Branch of the Westfield River. The serpentine nature of the river made constant bridging necessary to carry the Western Railroad – the longest and highest railroad in the world at that time. Today, you can visit two of the bridges located in the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Walnut Hill Wildlife Management Area via the Keystone Arch Bridge Trail. Visitors will appreciate these aesthetic and historic wonders found along a National Wild and Scenic River and in one of Massachusetts’ most superb settings.
On June 5, my next visit will be to Glendale Falls where I will roll up my sleeves and get to work installing a new staircase. The One Step at a Time Campaign – launched at the suggestion of Stream Team volunteers – will protect trampled and exposed tree roots and fragile vegetation near this magnificent tributary by building an official trail to the base of the falls. As part of the Wild and Scenic Saturdays series, volunteers will gather there the first Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m. from June through September.
On Saturday, June 19, I will have a toss up between the Annual Canoe Cruise – a quiet-water paddle from downtown Westfield to Robinson State Park in Agawam – and another Wild & Scenic Saturday event along the dynamic East Branch Trail where I’ll enjoy the geology of the scenic Chesterfield Gorge and roll up my sleeves once again to make improvements along this six-plus mile trail corridor.
Visit the Division of Ecological Restoration’s Rivers and Wetlands Month Calendar to find outdoor events and activities happening near you.