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Tim Purinton

Tim Purinton

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

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First Snow Westfield River

What’s more wild and scenic than a clear, cascading river slipping over ice-glazed rocks as the early snows of winter fall? Not much in my estimation. The Westfield River is one of the state’s healthiest rivers and stunningly beautiful in winter. The east, west and middle branches carve their way from the Berkshire Hills of Savoy, Worthington, and Becket to the small mill town of Russell – through the Chesterfield Gorge and below the Keystone Arches. This photo is of the Westfield River Watershed after this season's first snow.

In 1993, the Westfield River became Massachusetts’ first National Wild & Scenic River, a designation made by Congress or the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The nationally recognized Wild & Scenic Rivers of Massachusetts should be on your bucket list of rivers to see, paddle and fish.

A great place to see the Westfield River is along the Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway – but to truly enjoy the river you will need to get out of your car. On Saturday, January 9, 2009, the Westfield River Watershed Association is hosting a snowshoeing event at the AMC Noble View Property in Russell which offers exceptional views of the Westfield River Valley. The Association is also hosting a nighttime walk with views of the Westfield River on Friday, December 18, 2009. Participants will learn how to call for owls and enjoy the views over a mug of hot chocolate. Click here for more information about these events.

Today, over 78 miles of the Westfield River are designated as Wild & Scenic. A recent MassWildlife report gave the Westfield high marks on supporting a diverse native fish community. The Assabet, Sudbury, Concord, and Taunton Rivers all share the Wild & Scenic status. Click here for more information on the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers. Click here for more information about the Taunton River.

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