Happy mid-summer to you all, and, yes, we are also bewildered by the surfeit of stones and dearth of water in our beloved Mill River. Yet the rain gods have come and we, who follow in the footsteps of the Nonotuck – the People In the Midst of the River – will husband our resources and prepare for late summer’s bounty
Unlike the frantic pace of outdoor activities last year, especially the monthly riverwalks, this summer has been one of gathering up and preparing for the fall. We have been busy, but it’s been like organizing the plumbing and electric in the house that you can’t see happening.
So let’s get on with it. Here’s what is, in fact, happening:
- After the publication of our collaborative invasive/native plants guide with Smith College, we received lots of requests for hard copies, and then the Hampshire Gazette covered the story in mid-July: http://www.gazettenet.com/Mill-River-Greenway-Initiative-seeks-to-remove-Invasive-plants-3187059. You can find the digital copy of “Making Room for Native Plants and Wildlife” on the MRGI website here: http://millrivergreenway.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Smith-College-invasive-guide-booklet.pdf.
- We are in the process of completing a new historic riverwalk brochure, once again in collaboration with Smith College. “Florence: Riverside Drive to Meadow St. Bridge,” will be available in September, and we’ll inaugurate the brochure with a guided tour in October led by Wendy Sinton of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, who managed the project. This brochure features the Northampton Association of Arts and Education and the silk and plastics industries in the life of the Mill River.
- The Burgy Mill River Greenway Committee is working with the Williamsburg Highway Department to alleviate erosion problems and make rough improvements to the trail link (aka the Goat Path) at the Northampton/Haydenville boundary on the rail trail. This fall the town of Williamsburg will be improving sidewalks and signage on South Main Street in Haydenville to provide safer passage for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles.
- In collaboration with the Northampton Office of Planning and Sustainability (thank you, Wayne Feiden!), we are producing handsome new trail markers for the Mill River Greenway. You’ll begin to see them in the Leeds-Haydenville area this fall. Here’s what they’ll look like: http://millrivergreenway.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/MIL-trail-markers-03-1.pdf
- Conway School students Margot Halpin and Armi Macaballug, class of ’16, compiled reams of GIS data for us on the Mill River watershed. The emerging “Master Map of the Mill River Greenway” will be housed at Smith College’s Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (aka CEEDS) under the able stewardship of Smith’s Spatial Analysis Lab. Digital or hard copies of Margot and Armi’s report, “Building a Strategic Plan for the Mill River Greenway,” are available from the Conway School: http://www.csld.edu/contact-us/ Unfortunately, since the digital copy is 63 megabytes, we at MRGI aren’t capable of providing the direct link. Thanks again to our members for funding this project!
- We are delighted to welcome intern Silke Hensteback, a UMass Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning undergraduate, who will be studying options and supporting planning/organizing for the Bay State section of the Greenway, a trail from Smith College (Paradise Pond), along the base of Hospital and Yankee Hills and close to the Clement St. Bridge
As always, let us know your thoughts, keep in touch, keep cool, and keep loving our river!
Gaby, John, and Neal