Our plan will be to highlight one of our rivers each week. Share with you any special features, history, conservation issues, and paddling options.
The Swift River
The Ware River
The Ware River begins its trip to Three Rivers from a tributary whose high point is on the western slope of Mt Wachusett. It flows in a southwesterly direction for nearly 40 miles where it is first met by the Swift River, then the Quaboag River to form the Chicopee River in the Palmer village of Three Rivers. Starting at nearly 1700 feet above sea level, it meets the other rivers at about 290 feet. Its average annual flow rate is about 285 cfs or 2090 gpm (about 2.8 million gallons per day). Colonists named the river for early fish weirs used by Native Americans. (The Town of Ware – Menemesseck – “at the great fish-weir” bears the river’s name) The Nipmucs, called the River Menimesit, “at the place where fish abound”. By the 19th century, once industrialization came, many of the settlements along the river grew. Barre, Wheelright, Gilbertville, Ware, and Thorndike all became major mill towns with various water powered industries. The health of the river has changed over time. Once pristine, it was fouled by the boom of industrialization. Fortunately, in recent times, the Clean Water Act, CWA, has brought water quality protections to bear, which has noticeably improved the river’s health. There is more to do to improve the river, particularly non point source pollution, but it is today good for fishing and boating.
The Chicopee River
Flowing from tributaries (Ware, Swift, Quaboag) that meet in the Three Rivers section of Palmer, the Chicopee River flows some 17 miles and drops some 250 feet till it meets the Connecticut River in the City of Chicopee. The river delivers an average flow of 909 cfs to the larger river. The Chicopee is the Connecticut’s largest tributary. Named from an Algonquian/Nipmuc term meaning “place of violent waters”, likely referring to the many waterfalls in the lower river, the Chicopee River was a lifeline for the many local native Americans. Later, these many waterfalls would be replaced by some 7 dams along the river’s length and power the area’s local industrial growth. People then moved away from the river as its water quality suffered, but in the past 35 years, environmental protections have gradually improved the river and offered people the opportunity to return and enjoy its beauty.
The Chicopee River Blue Trail is a great way to explore this hidden treasure. See the trail map under our Blue Trail page
The Quaboag River
Though relatively short at roughly 25-miles in length, the main stem Quaboag River is
one of the most interesting and important waterways in Massachusetts. Originating from tributaries that flow from Paxton and Oakham that meet at Quaboag Pond, the Quaboag flows west, slowly at first as it winds its way through the plains of Brookfield, but quickly gains current and turbulence as it passes through the Quaboag Narrows in West Warren on its way to form the Chicopee River at its merge with the Ware and Swift Rivers (in Three Rivers). The height of its watershed’s elevation is nearly 1200 ft, its low point about 290 ft. It averages about 250 cfs flow.
Named from an Algonquian term meaning “beyond the pond”, likely referring to Quaboag Pond, the Quaboag River was a central focus for the Quaboag Indians; one of the three local tribes of Central Massachusetts. . In 1660 the Quaboag Plantation was settled by a small group of Essex County families. The 18th and 19th Centuries in the Quaboag Valley witnessed the apex of pre-mechanized farming, while the Quaboag River itself fueled the local peak of the Industrial Revolution through the mid-20th Century as dams and mills grew to define the towns Warren and Palmer. While all of these human occupancies and uses have come and gone, it is the River that has remained constant. Today the Quaboag River flows relatively quiet again, and the majority of human interaction with the River involves canoes and kayaks.
The Quaboag has wonderful recreational opportunities, see the C4R Blue Trail guide map under our Blue Trail page. Paddling, bird watching, fishing and more can be enjoyed at many locations along the river.
WRBT plans – C4R has also begun to prepare a new Blue Trail – on the Ware River! We hope to have things well laid out this year for final completion in 2021. If you wish to help, let us know. Thanks.
May – Care 4Rivers Challenge!
Since we cannot yet gather, what’s the next best thing? Solo service or Safe Space river stewardship. What’s this? C4R has a number of river access locations along our first Blue Trails, they might need a spring cleaning. So if and when (in May) you can, bring a trash bag, stop by a site, BE SAFE, and pick up any trash you see, throw it in your trash at home. If there is a serious piece of debris, let us know and we will see what we can do about it. Whatever little we can do individually, helps a bunch! Share any photos with us!! contact us.
Sites: Indian Orchard/Water St, Putts Bridge/River Rd, Collins Portage, Red Bridge lower, Stevens Rd/E Brookfield, Quaboag Pond launch, Rt 67/9 rest area, Lucy Stone Park. Where else?
C4R Events Schedule
we are tracking present conditions and will plan accordingly…
Details Coming Soon!
Clean ups (see May C4R challenge),
Paddles ( June? or July), New Trail-WRBT!
We are also planning our 2020 Bacteria sampling program to begin in July (due to present conditions).
Bacteria Report 2019
C4R continued to monitor the health and quality of our local rivers, see the link below for results on the 2019 season. We will be gearing up for 2020, seeking renewed funding, new funding, and volunteers!
Rivers enliven us!
Help C4R make 2020 another banner year!
Join us, support us, we need you to help make things happen in Caring 4 Rivers!
2019 was another productive year for C4R.
Here’s what we got done:
–Finished our first trail grant.
–Completed Quaboag & Chicopee River Blue Trails
–Sampled 15 river sites for bacteria
–Received an award for a Ware River Blue Trail grant
–Helped on invasive water chestnut removal @ Oxford Marsh
Thanks for those who helped on these.
- In 2020, we will :
–-hold opening day paddles on our first two trails
–begin work on the Ware River trail
–continued invasive plant projects
–and hopefully expand our efforts
But doing more needs more resources.
Consider a financial gift to C4R!
Donate via: https://c4rivers.org/membership-join-c4r/
online or mail in a check!
We can do great things together!
thanks, see you on a river in 2020!
Chicopee River Blue Trail ready! We’ll plan a big opening day in 2020!
Signage and portage elements are in place, maps are back from printers! firstname.lastname@example.org
See C4R sampling results: https://connecticutriver.us
C4R sites are to the right of Quabbin Reservoir.
C4R Summer of 2019
Poems, Prose, Pictures
As we get out on and around our local rivers, write your poems & prose, take pictures of your favorite river places. Submissions extended thru end of 2019…
Share your rivers!
Details – C4R 2019 P-P-P Contest
C4R Receives RTP/DCR Trails Grant to establish Ware River Blue Trail!
C4R was granted funds to construct access points and create a Blue Trail map for a Ware River Blue Trail, in 2 sections, starting in Hardwick and running through Ware to Palmer. The Project will be in partnership with each of the noted communities. Stay tuned!
C4R shares this special Event with AMC
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Easy paddle on flatwater to pull invasive water chestnut, a plant that impairs wildlife habitat and could easily take over our waters, making boating, swimming and fishing nearly impossible. Great strides have already been made at keeping this plant in check. Fun paddle afterwards – Join in!
contact: Cynthia Boettner – email@example.com
June 22 SATURDAY: Solstice evening paddle-GREAT FUN!
A great evening out on the Ware River…..
**Review Draft Chicopee River Blue Trail Maps – Blue Trails offer comments…. comment by June 11.
Kingfisher Newsletter – V2 #1 Preview
our spring newsletter can be seen here: Kingfisher-2019-V2#1-Final
River Action-Events for 2019
C4R is laying out plans for 2019, want to join the team? We welcome committed folks to join our steering team. Interested in Blue Trails? Water Quality monitoring? Clean ups or paddles? Send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org OR support us by becoming a member: Join C4R. An initial slate of events and activities is noted below:
- April 11, THU – C4R night at the Iron Duke — Thanks to all who came by!
- April 20th Chicopee River Blue Trail clean up, 9-12 AM-POSTPONED
- April 27th Three Rivers-river clean up, 9-12 AM. Thanks to all!
- May 4, 3R TRACK Arts Fest, come visit C4R 11-3.
- May 4, W Brookfield, 67/9 QRBT access clean up, 9-12 (part of town wide event)
- May 11 C4R paddling event-QRBT-see events
- June – Bacteria sampling begins 6/13
- Oxford Marsh-Chicopee River Water chestnut pull
- Solstice paddle June 22
- July 7 Chicopee Water Chestnut Pull & Paddle
Details on these: See Events.
C4R night at Iron Duke, Thursday April 11
C4R presented our plans for the Chicopee River Blue Trail – a paddling trail ON the river, shared a draft trail map, upcoming event information, and more! Folks discovered how they can connect with our local rivers. All enjoyed a local brew along our local river.
100 State St #122 Ludlow, behind the Ludlow Mills, near the river walk.
Fresh off the presses!!!
Thanks to support from QQLA, LWPA, Towns of Warren, Palmer, Wilbraham, Ware, City of Springfield, and Country Bank.
2018 was another productive year for the 4 Rivers group, we continued to advance our goals of reconnecting local folk to their local rivers. This has happened because more local folk have begun to work with C4R. It’s been a slow process, but it has begun to spread. We hope though, to engage more people to Care 4 Rivers. Join us!
In 2018 we:
Monitored river health at 11 recreational sites (bacteria)
We brought 2 Blue Trails to near completion
Over 40 volunteers got involved! Thanks.
C4R hosted paddling events and clean ups
We were out in communities for informational events
Began membership Drive
In 2019 we intend to:
Complete and inaugurate the Quaboag & Chicopee Blue Trails
Hold opening Day events for each trail
Expand our monitoring, education programs
Paddles on each river, Clean ups
Grow membership, donations
Begin trail plans for Ware & Swift Rivers
All this can continue if more people get involved and/or support our efforts. Please consider a donation to C4R to help us make 2019 productive and strong. Go to: https://c4rivers.org/membership-join-c4r/
C4R annual meeting November 4: a success.
Fine turnout @ Palmer Historical Cultural Center in Three Rivers/Palmer.
Theme: Many hands, together, make a difference!
C4R shared updates on Blue Trails, water quality monitoring, recognized our volunteers, presented future plans, and more. 2018 was another productive year, but there is more to do! Join C4R and BE 1 of a 1000!
The next step in protecting the health of our local rivers…
Quaboag Blue Trail closer to completion!
Road signage installed: Brookfield to Warren! Trail Maps ready too! Trail map on our Blue Trails page.
C4R – connecting you to your local rivers…
Draft Chicopee Blue Trail Map ready for review comments!
Take a look, let us know… Thanks. Link: Chicopee-10-31-18
2019 Trail opening.
C4R has completed our 2018 Monitoring season. We sampled for bacteria along our Blue Trails. Results are posted on line @ www.connecticutriver.us
Full report later this Fall. C4RWC 2018 Bac-T data sum
Join C4R, Be a member!
C4R continues our 2018 member/supporter drive. Our goal is to welcome 100+ members! See the charter member perks!
Seeking better river access? Want clean healthy rivers? Join C4R.
C4R has been busy improving river access and monitoring the health of our 4Rivers. Now we need people to step up and help us to continue to move forward and do even more good work. Be a part of Caring 4Rivers – C4R…
With C4R’s RTP-DCR grant, we are moving forward to make both the Quaboag and Chicopee River Blue Trails a reality. We have begun fieldwork with more to come. If you want to help, let us know!
C4R held a number of OUTREACH sessions to engage local folks to help us prepare final efforts.
C4R has shared on a draft trail map and seeks input on refinements. We are implementing the trail infrastructure and continue to seek volunteers to helps us make all this happen. Please review draft maps and send in input ASAP, see our Blue Trail page for drafts. Send in feedback ASAP!
C4R = Care 4 Rivers