Come celebrate another year of inspiring activity on the Mill River with us at our annual spring celebration. The party will take place on Friday April 26th, from 5 to 7 PM at the home of MRGI co-moderator Neal Bastek, 3 Village Hill Avenue, in Williamsburg.
An advance copy of our first self-guided Mill River Walk brochure will be available at the party. The tour explores the changes to the river’s flow as a result of Northampton’s growth as an industrial center in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The walk follows the Mill River between Paradise Pond and South Street, Northampton, revealing the ‘hidden’ clues to the original river bed and the many diversions that once flowed through what is now downtown Northampton. Free copies will be distributed to the public in May. We’ll also share a presentation to introduce our vision of a Mill River Greenway that Sophia Geller, a Smith senior, developed.
We’re looking to grow our membership base this year so please consider bringing a friend of the river along and introducing them to our work. Please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org
1700 Northampton according to Cestre. Courtesy of Forbes Library
This month we are introducing our Mill River History, beginning with the river’s re-emergence from under glaciers after the last Ice Age.
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Introduction and Geological History
We will introduce you to the Mill River and its major features as it brings life to the valley. You will then discover its recent geological history since the disappearance of the last glaciers and the post-glacial landscape of Lake Hitchcock. Much of the credit for this account goes to Dr. John Brady, Professor of Geology at Smith College, although the author of the account remains responsible for its writing.
Devil’s Den in December. Photo: John Sinton
While snow has blanketed us these past two months, we’ve been beavering away on several projects:
1. The Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee is making steady progress on a feasibility study for a connecting corridor along the river between Burgy and Haydenville centers. The report is set to be delivered to the Board of Selectmen in late June. There will be a chance for public input later this spring, Williamsburg residents stay tuned. (Full disclosure: MRGI co-moderator, Neal Bastek, is a member of the committee.)
2. Save the date: We will hold our annual spring friendraiser party on Friday, April 26th in Williamsburg. We’d love for you to join us.
3. Beginning in March, co-moderator John Sinton will introduce A History of the Mill River in installments, starting with the river’s geological history, then continuing with the First People, the First Settlers, and on to the end of the 19th century. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.
4. A self-guided tour brochure of the lower river from Paradise Pond to South Street in Northampton will be available in April. Guided tours will begin in spring. The brochure is the product of MRGI and Smith College (Reid Bertone-Johnson and his students). Damia Cavallari of Transit Authority Figures designed the brochure.
5. MRGI co-moderators Neal and John co-authored a paper on MRGI that Smith College instructor Reid Bertone-Johnson and Smith student Sophia Geller (class of ’13) will present in April at the Fabos Greenway Conference at UMass. The paper will be available on this site in March.
- Paradise Pond Drawdown #1 Oct. 2012
Paradise Pond Drawdown 2
- Paradise Pond Drawdown #2 Oct. 2012
Paradise Pond Drawdown 1
- Paradise Pond Dam Face #1 Oct. 2012
Paradise Pond Dam 2
- Paradise Pond Dam Face Oct. 2012 #2
Paradise Pond Dam 1
Several people have asked, “What’s happening at Smith College’s Paradise Pond?” Here is the answer from our most knowledgeable source, Gary Hartwell, Smith College’s Project Manager.
The Pond has been “partially” drawn down to repair the earthen portion of the dam which runs from the spillway upstream 800′ to the throwing field. There will be no dredging at this time, but we have just started planning for the next dredging project. We’re anticipating permits in summer 2014.
Work specifications: Approx. 300′ (in the middle, on the curve) will be excavated down 12′ and replaced with engineered soils. The entire length will be re-shaped and armored with 1.5′ crushed stone to about 18″ above normal pool.
Elevations in feet above sea level:
top of flashboards – 135.7 (normal pool)
top of earthen dam – 141.5 to 143 (Irene crest 140.5)
depth of excavation – 131
top of new dam – 143
current dam slope (Pond side) – 1:1 and steeper
dam slope after repair – 3:1
bottom of new stone armor 130.7
top of new stone armor 137.0
Apologies for our absence this past summer, we were outside having fun, we hope you were too. Fall is here and we’re rarin’ to go. Here’s a little Mill River Greenway news to take the chill of the first frost away:
We have posted a short history of the Mill River Watershed here. A longer history is in preparation as a web-based book. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council is looking for volunteers to monitor water quality on the Mill River off of Maines Field in Florence/Bay State. Water samples are needed weekly from May 31 to October 4 and would be taken every Thursday morning. Training for volunteers will be on Monday May 14, 6 PM to 7:30 in Greenfield.
Please contact Andrea Donlon at 413 772-2020 ext. 205 or email@example.com
Thursday, May 10th 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Craig Della Penna’s Pedal to Properties, 14 Strong Ave., Northampton
Well, folks, it’s time for our annual spring bash. One and all are welcome, members and non members. We’ll be unveiling the results of the Mill River charrette, a set of design ideas for a Mill River Greenway that local professional landscape architects will have completed (see our April 15th post on the charrette).
We’ll have maps and digital displays up and running. Come join the discussion. Have a beer, a soft drink, or a glass of wine and some snacks. There’s lots to talk about, so we’ll see you there!
We’ve changed our name. We’re now the MILL RIVER GREENWAY INITIATIVE. We did this simply to distinguish our group from others whose name bears the title Mill River Greenway. We hope you’ll find it easy to change our abbreviation from MRG to MRGI, Margie for short.
What’s a charrette? A charrette is a way for design professionals to get together to come up with solutions to a problem, such as “What might a Mill River Greenway look like?” It’s a collaborative process in which landscape architects work together in a short time frame to present ideas.
On the evening of April 18th, a group of landscape architects from the Western Massachusetts Section of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects will gather in Florence with a small group of local citizens to develop ideas for different parts of the Mill River from Williamsburg to downtown Northampton. The results will be presented in Williamsburg the first week of May and in Northampton at the Mill River Greenway Initiative party on May 10th from 5:00-7:00 at Pedal to Properties on Strong Street.
For a full description of the charrette, go to Mill River Charrette.