Directions to Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

At summer’s end, we’re looking back on a wonderful series of walks and some great news that we’ll be sharing with you in the next couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, what remains?  Well, here are directions to Todd Lynch’s fantastic “Flotsam Weirs,” which you might have seen in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  Take time to visit it, especially now that the leaves are falling.  (The bird’s nest, by the way, was placed there by an unnamed visitor.  You’re welcome to add your flotsam to the weirs.  Until soon, your co-moderators Gaby, Neal, and John.

Directions to Todd Lynch's Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

Directions to Todd Lynch’s Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

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Welcome Back to a Busy September

Welcome back from a cool, wet, lovely summer.  We’ve got a busy fall planned for the Mill River, starting with 3 (count ‘em — three) walks in September alone.  Here’s what’s coming your way:

Saturday, September 6, Riverwalk in Leeds, a wonderful historic village in Northampton, near the Northampton/Williamsburg town line, which dates back to the 18th century.  Heidi Stevens and Jason Johnson, founders of the Mill River Greenway Committee of the Leeds Civic Association, will lead us on a tour that will focus on the heyday of Leeds during the first three-quarters of the 19th century, with stops at the Old Nonotuck Woolen Mill and 3 other mill sites, the old post office and train depot, the Dimock mansion, the Hotel Bridge, and the memorial to the 1874 Flood that devastated Leeds.  There are very few places left for this walk, so please write us at if you’d like too participate or to get on the waiting list.  If there is sufficient interest, Heidi and Jason will organize a repeat of this walk later in the fall.

Saturday, September 13th Todd Lynch’s Art Installation, “Flotsam Weirs,” in Williamsburg.  See below, posts on Aug. 5 and 6, for details.  You do not need to sign up for this walk to participate.

Saturday, September 20th, Florence II Riverwalk — Crimson & Clover Farm to Meadow St. Bridge.
        This walk from Crimson & Clover Farm on Spring St. to the Meadow St. Bridge combines historic and ecological information.  Laurie Sanders will talk about Mill River ecology as we travel along the river corridor, and Elizabeth Sharpe (In the Shadow of the Dam) will discuss the dramatic results of the 1874 Flood, which ended at what is now the farm and recreational fields in Florence.  There are very few places left for this walk, so please  please write us at if you’d like to participate or to get on the waiting list.

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Todd Lynch 9/13 Updated Link

Here’s a link to Todd Lynch’s blog that gives you a hint of this exciting adventure next month.  Note the nest (probably a Carolina wren) a bird couple already built in the photo in the second row, far right.

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Sept. 13th New River Walk and Art Installation in Williamsburg

MRGI is proud and excited to support Todd Lynch’s art installation, lecture, and walk on the Mill River in Williamsburg on Saturday Sept. 13th.  Todd is a landscape architect and artist who’s been a long-time friend of the Mill River.  He will be creating a series of “flotsam weirs,” or interwoven nets of Mill River flotsam that will lead the walker down through the peninsula created by the East and West Branch of the Mill at their confluence in Williamsburg.

Meeting details: Meet at 10:00 at Meekins Library in Williamsburg, then a 5-minute walk to the site of the installation where Todd will lead a tour and discussion of his work.

Here is Todd’s proposal for his work sponsored by the Williamsburg Cultural Council: Todd’s proposal Todd Lynch weir proposal


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Leeds Riverwalk on Sept. 6

Just to clarify the Riverwalk Schedule: the riverwalk in Leeds is still scheduled for Saturday, September 6.

We’re excited  about this new riverwalk, which will be led by residents of Leeds, so all of us will be able to get some real insider information.  The historic place of Leeds in the river’s history is key to our understanding our whole river system.  Furthermore, the extension of the rail trail between Leeds and Haydenville is a particularly hot topic of discussion.

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August Change of Date and July 12th Riverwalk

The August 9th Riverwalk has been rescheduled for September 20th

The riverwalk from Crimson & Clover Farm to the Meadow St. Bridge, originally scheduled for August 9, has been rescheduled for SEPTEMBER 20TH so that both Laurie Sanders and Elizabeth Sharpe will be able to co-lead it.  If you have already signed up for the August 9 date and can still make the Sept. 20th date, you will have priority.  Please let us know if you can make it by contacting us at

July 12th Riverwalk

There are still several spots open for the first Florence riverwalk on Saturday morning, July 12th, led by Wendy Sinton, long-time member of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee.  The walk will focus on the importance of the Mill River in the growth of Florence, as well as the role of abolitionists and the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in the 19th century.  Reserve your spot at

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Rail Trail Extension Community Meeting March 25

Tuesday, March 25th, 7:00-9:00 PM at Leeds School Cafeteria

Come gain more information and offer your input on the extension of the Bike Path/Rail Trail from Grove Ave. in Leeds to South Main St. in Haydenville coming this spring and summer.  Wayne Feiden, Northampton Director of Planning and Sustainability, will share plans for the extension and request your input.  Please come and share your ideas.  For more info call Alisa Klein at 586-9123 (email or


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March 2014 Newsletter — Get Ready for Some Riverwalks!

MRGI Newsletter

March 2014


Dear Friends of the Mill River,

        Yes, trust but verify that spring will arrive this year, and prepare yourselves for a great 2014 with the Mill River Greenway Initiative.

 ·      We have a fantastic series of 9 riverwalks and 1 paddle this year from April to December.  Check it out at the end of this newsletter.

 ·      We are currently working on 2 new neighborhood Mill River working groups to follow the lead of the Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee, one in Bay State and one in Leeds.  If you’re interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please let us know at

 ·      …speaking of which, please let us know the village you live in.  We’d like to include that in our membership data so that we can better target our messages to particular localities.

 ·      Williamsburg and Northampton collaborated this winter on a grant proposal to the Recreational Trails Program of the MA DCR.   The grant would cover preliminary drainage and grading work on the existing unimproved rail trail along the Mill River from the Williamsburg-Northampton town line out to the foot of South Main Street, Haydenville, and pedestrian/bicycle improvements along the length of South Main.

 ·      Williamsburg is launching a Brassworks Area subcommittee to consider the unique opportunities and challenges posed by the historic Brassworks mill site and its role in the larger Greenway project.

 ·      We are working on a long-term plan to link Haydenville and Williamsburg Center with a dedicated Greenway lane along the river side of Route 9.  The Mass. Dept. of Transportation will be re-building Route 9 sometime in the next decade, and we are already partners in helping design that roadway. 

 ·      In addition to the main Greenway corridor on the Route 9 road bed, the Williamsburg MRGC is considering the possibility of developing small-scale walking trails along the river where conditions permit.

2014 Riverwalks

SPACE IS LIMITED!  Please email to reserve your spot.   Only pre-registered participants will receive information on the time and meeting place plus other important details.  Thanks for your understanding.

           We’re excited about taking folks out to explore the Mill River from River’s End at Arcadia Refuge to the site of the dam that gave way, causing the disastrous 1874 flood.  We’re limiting these walks to 20 participants, so reserve your space.  At least one of our co-moderators (Gaby, John, or Neal) will accompany the walks, along with local experts in the history and ecology of the river.

Mill Riverwalk Schedule 2014

Sponsored by the Mill River Greenway Initiative, Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways and Smith College CEEDS (Center for the Environment, Ecological Design & Sustainability)

April 5            Downtown Northampton I:  Paradise Pond to Old South Street

April 26          River’s End:  Spring Paddle in the Floodplain Forest, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary

May 10           Downtown Northampton II: Old South Street to Hockanum Road

June 14            Bay State Village:  Paradise Pond to the Cutlery Building

July 12             Florence I:  Nonotuck Dam to Meadow Street

Sept. 6             Leeds: Cook’s Dam to River Road

Sept. 20          Florence II:  Crimson & Clover/Northampton Community Farm

Oct. 4              Leeds to Haydenville:  River Road to South Main Street

Nov. 1             Williamsburg, East Branch: Meekins Library to Old Dam Site

Dec. 6              Haydenville to Williamsburg:  Brassworks to Skinnerville



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Hidden Mill Riverwalk — Paradise Pond to Old South St.

The Mill River Greenway Initiative is sponsoring a guided tour with John Sinton from the historic dam site at Paradise Pond to downtown Northampton where the river used to run.  Easy 1.25 mile walk. SATURDAY, Nov. 16, 10:00-11:30 AM. Meet at Smith College botanic garden.  Contact

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Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee Report

The Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Committee is pleased to provide you with a link to our recently-completed report on the feasibility of establishing a Greenway along the Mill River between Haydenville and Williamsburg centers.

The report provides a thorough, thoughtful evaluation of the many variables in creating a Greenway, including the technical, environmental, financial, historical, commercial, and social aspects of such a project.  It includes maps, concept sketches, community feedback, and next steps for further action.

We’re sending you our report because we hope for and need your continued input and energy to move this exciting project forward.  It will take the power of many citizens, organizations, town government, and state/federal granting agencies to make the dream of a Mill River Greenway come to fruition.

Please take some time to flip through this informative and enjoyable report, and forward this email to others who would be interested.

Williamsburg Mill River Greenway Feasibility Report


gaby (on behalf of the Williamsburg MRGC)

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