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Deerfield River Watershed Association

What's fun in the watershed?

RECREATION

Boating
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beach ball Whether you live in the Deerfield River watershed or just come to visit, check this page for the best places to swim, hang out, eat, or enjoy a show


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Help Vermonters! We really need more information on your side of the watershed

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Also check the Deerfield River Watershed Almanac for today's conditions and events
Camping
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Hiking and Biking
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Swimming
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Tourist Attractions
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Boating

Where to put in and out for canoeing/kayaking: here is some good information written by a friend at Zoar Outdoor, a rafting company in Charlemont. You may want to contact them about shuttles: they may provide this service for a fee. If they don't, check Crabapple Whitewater and there's a third rafting outfit: North American Whitewater 800-727-4379

"The Deerfield River, besides being an excellent river for recreation, was a unique setting for building Hydro power Dams. The river valley was steep and narrow. The 5 dams control water flow and divide the Deerfield River into distinctly different areas.

The best thing is take a look at some maps of the area. Unfortunately, there is not a guide book for the Deerfield River so the descriptions below are just to give you some landmarks to find on a map. I figured for you to get a good picture of the river I could start at the VT border.

The Deerfield River, as it travels south, becomes less difficult. In Monroe Bridge, MA #5 station dam releases water into a section known at "The Dryway". It is a classic class III-IV section of whitewater, ideal for the experienced whitewater paddler. Average releases range from 900 - 1100 cfs. This section is about 3 1/2 miles long and dumps into the Bear Swamp reservoir.

The next dam is the Fife Brook Dam, which is the starting point for many paddlers. This is also an ideal section for flyfishing so be aware of the other users on the river. From the dam to Zoar gap you could travel 5 miles on class I - II whitewater and take out before (or after if you are experienced) the Zoar Gap which is a class III.

Another trip is to put in below the Zoar Gap (another section of class I-II water) and travel to Shunpike Rest Area which is a trip of 4 miles. Shunpike is on Rt 2 just west of the town of Charlemont. This section is runable when they release at least 700 cfs. It takes 2 hours for the water to go from the Dam to the Gap and another 2 hours to Shunpike.

The third trip on this section is to put in at Shunpike Rest Area and travel to the the Boat ramp in Buckland just up stream of the #4 station dam. If you travel along Rt 2 and look for the Big Indian Shop the boat ramp is across the street and west. This trip is about 8 miles and takes most people about 2 hours to paddle. The water is mostly class I with some class II.

The section below the #4 station dam only runs in high water and is a class II plus section of river.

The next dam is #3 station which is in the center of Shelburne Falls also known as the "Potholes". Most people do not paddle this 1 mile section below the dam because of the access and that the next dam at Gardner Falls is not that far away. I have heard some people put in at Wilcox Hollow and paddle down to the #2 dam but there is a portage that would require ropes to go around the Gardner Falls Dam.

Below Gardner Falls Dam is #2 station dam. Most people put in at Bardwell Ferry Bridge which is 3 miles below the power house. You can get to Bardswell Ferry Rd off of Shelburne Center Rd. The trip can end 4 miles down stream at Stillwater Bridge or Cheapside Bridge in the Greenfield/Deerfield area. The minimum amount of water which is boatable is 400 cfs. It takes 2 hours after the release to have the water fill in this section of river.

If you are wondering, there is not a #1 station dam. It was planned for the Stillwater area but never built.

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Unscheduled Releases:

24-hr flow forecasts based upon predictions of load demand, and available supply to the New England region are available and Transcanada is providing near real-time flow data for all its Deerfield facilities at an online web page and through a new toll-free telephone number. Both services are provided by Waterline through its "FlowCast" program.

Flow information can be found online at "FlowCast" page link, then click on the sites you're interested in or see table below for direct links.

Flow information is also available by dialing Waterline's free National telephone hotlines:

1-800-452-1742 for the Angler's Edition;
1-800-452-1737 for the Boater's Edition.

For each line, at the prompt, dial-in a six-digit site code for the specific river reach of interest. Site codes can be found on both the Flowcast page or you may proceed and select (and click) from the following site menu. Please make a note of the six-digit number so you can have it when subsequently dialing the new FlowCast telephone number.

SITE CODES FOR DEERFIELD RIVER SITES:
505124 Somerset Dam Somerset, VT
505125 Searsburg Dam Searsburg , VT
505126 Harriman Dam Readsboro , VT
255121 Sherman Dam Rowe, MA
255122 No. 5 Dam Monroe Bridge, MA
255123 Fife Brook Dam Florida, MA
255124 No. 4 Dam Shelburne Falls, MA
255125 No. 3 Dam Shelburne Falls, MA
255126 No. 2 Dam Buckland, MA

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Camping
Dining

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Entertainment
Fishing

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Hiking and Biking

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Lodging
Shopping
Skiing

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Swimming
Tourist Attractions

Take virtual driving tours of some towns in the watershed:

Do you have suggestions or would like to contribute content to this page? Please contact drwa@deerfieldriver.org

This web site made possible in part by the Valley Charitable Trust Fund administered by Fleet National Bank, and by the Community Foundation for Western Massachusetts
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Updated 11/17/11 by MF Walk DRWA HOME