Leeds Rail Trail Closing in July

Construction of the MassCentral Rail Trail extension will begin in Leeds in the middle of July, precise date to be determined. During much of the construction, the existing and new section of the trail north of Florence Street/Mulberry Street and Grove Avenue will be closed.

This is one of the projects that the CPC and your donations to the City of Northampton and Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways have supported over the years. Thank you.

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New T-Shirts and MRGI in the News

First, check out these fabulous MRGI t-shirts designed by the extraordinary Rob Stewart and Damia Cavallari of Transit Authority Figures.  They come in black or green, sizes small to extra large, and you can buy one for $20 at any MRGI event.  Sorry, no mail sales, but if you contact us, we might be able to meet you somewhere in the Mill River watershed.

Second, see how fine these t-shirts look on Gaby and John, who were thrilled on May 13th to receive the Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways 2015 Trail Neighbor Award.  Thanks to all our supportive members who made this special accolade possible!

Third, Gaby and John had a great time with Jim Madigan on WGBY’s Connecting Point this month when Jim interviewed us about MRGI’s work.  It’s a fun 6 minutes, so check it out — hit the link and scroll down to the Mill River Greenway segment.

Finally, we still have some room left on the summer riverwalks, so please sign up to assure yourselves places.


Gaby and John with the new MRGI t-shirt 5.13.15

Gaby and John with the new MRGI t-shirt 5.13.15

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Riverwalks 2015 July-September

Hello Friends!

We’re delighted to announce the next set of Mill River walks for 2015.  Please email us at info@millrivergreenway.org to reserve your spots.  Every walk so far has been full with a waiting list, so register early!

All walks will take place from 10am – noon.   Details on the meet-up location will be sent to registered participants as the dates approach.

Sunday July 19, Leeds Village (hosted by the Leeds Civic Association Mill River Greenway Committee with Sue Carbin, Penny Geis, Heidi Stevens, and Jason Johnson)

Saturday August 15, Florence I:  downtown Florence/Arts & Industry (John and Wendy Sinton)

Saturday, September 26, Florence II: Broughton’s Meadow/GFN Farm (Laurie Sanders and Betty Sharpe)

And don’t forget your passports!    Our gorgeous new MRGI t-shirt will make its debut soon as your prize for completing all ten Mill River walks.

See you soon!
Gaby and John

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A Glorious Paddle at Arcadia

Thanks to Dave McLean, Jonah Keane and all the folks at MassAudubon’s Arcadia Refuge, the MRGI folks had a wonderful Sunday morning exploring the floodplain forest.  How lucky we are to have such natural beauty and expert guides so close to home!
…and what luck to have had our great videographer John Body along.  Here’s a quick taste of a couple of highlights.  Dave sighted a great horned owl flying, then its nest, then its 2 owlets, the older sibling sitting on a branch near the water and the younger, less fledged, still in the nest.  (John Body photos)Great Horned Owl 6 Body.jpg
Great Horned Owl 5 Body.jpgArcadia paddle 2 4.15 Body.jpg


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Two April Opportunities

Here are two imminent April events!

April 18 Bay State Sustainability Fair 1:00-4:00 with a pair of riverwalks on Mill River historic sites. BSVA_SustainabilityFairFlyerPE

April 27th at 7:30 P.M.: A UMass Amherst project for an outdoor exhibit in Florence at the Northamtpon Community Farm/Florence Recreation Fields site.  Check it out:  UMass Outdoor Exhibit




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Spring 2015 Riverwalks and Paddle

Dear Friends of the Mill River,

With ice finally melting, and rain in the forecast, spring has arrived!  We’re delighted to announce the first batch of Mill River Walks for 2015.

Sunday, April 19 — Floodplain Forest paddle, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton (canoes provided!)  Dave McLain, leader.

Thursday, April 23 — Hidden Mill, downtown Northampton I.  John Sinton, leader.

Saturday, May 9 — Skinnerville/Haydenville.  Ralmon Black, leader.

Sunday, June 7 — Leeds to Haydenville.  Gaby Immerman, leader.

Please email info@millrivergreenway.org to reserve your spot. More information about time and meeting place will be provided when you register.  Space is limited!  If you were on a waiting list last year, you will be given priority in registering for the same walk this year.

Don’t forget your passports!  We look forward to seeing you out on the river this year.

Gaby and John

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1780-1850 History Available

John has put the next installments of a Mill River History up for your review and comments.  Here are Part 7A: Introduction7B — Industrial Development: Dams & Mills, and 7C: Floods.  This is pretty amazing stuff, so please feast your eyes and give me some feedback.  We’ll need some serious help on the history of the river from Florence upstream through Williamsburg.

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1700-1780 History Available

John has put the next installments of a Mill River History up for your review and comments.  Here are Part 6A: Introduction and Part 6B: Dams, Mills, Floods and the Fishery. 

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2015 Plans for MRGI

Happy New Year!

We three co-moderators at the Mill River Greenway Initiative — Gaby, Neal, and John — wish you all the very best for what we expect to be a really exciting 2015. So let’s get to our plans for this coming year.

  1. Having completed a successful series of riverwalks in 2014, we plan to do it all again in 2015 and will have a schedule available in March.
  2. The Leeds Greenway Committee of the Leeds Civic Association will lead the way by publishing the 2nd in our series of self-guided tours when they publish a Leeds riverwalk with the help of Smith College students.
  3. The Bay State Greenway Committee of the Bay State Neighborhood Association will continue its work on options for a path along the river and for National Historic Site status for the Clement St. Bridge.
  4. Burgy’s official Mill River Greenway Committee will continue its trailblazing work linking the Leeds section of the rail trail out to South Main Street in Haydenville and, eventually, across the Brassworks area and all the way to Williamsburg town center.
  5. We’re helping to organize public and private landowners including Smith College, Grow Food Northampton, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, and the City of Northampton, to work together in combating the spread of invasive plant species all along the river.
  6. We are beginning a new initiative to feature art and music on the Mill River through a program called ArtShed, the brainchild of Williamsburg resident and MRGI member Todd Lynch, who is a landscape designer and artist. This will be a series of juried art, music, and installation competitions open to artists/musicians/designers/architects at selected sites along the Mill River. A MRGI committee will be planning these events and seeking funding for presentation in spring 2016.
  7. With the lead help of MRGI member Alexander Papouchis, we will launch a program to develop curricular materials for K-12 about the natural and cultural history of the Mill River.
  8. We plan to have a multi-media presentation on the Mill River ready to provide at public occasions by June of 2015.
  9. UMass history professor David Glassberg will have students in his public history seminar prepare presentations on the Mill River for Northampton and Williamsburg audiences. The seminar will focus on interpretive materials for Mill River locations.
  10. MRGI members will be working on materials for an information kiosk that the City of Northampton will install at the new Florence Fields recreation site.

We look forward to working many of you in 2015. Please let us know if you are interested in contributing to any of the above projects! We are all volunteers are welcome your energy, ideas, and support. It looks like it’ll be a year full of fun.

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Todd Lynch’s Flotsam Weirs Video

Hey, folks, here’s Burgy’s own Todd Lynch in his video about the inimitable Flotsam Weirs at the junction of the Mill’s West and East Branches.  Check it out.  We’ll also put a link on the website under Art and Music.

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