Thursday, September 11, 2008

Autumn Walks Along the Housatonic River

I invite you all to explore the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area during the seventh annual Heritage Walks program. The Crane Museum of Papermaking will be open special hours Sunday, Sept. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. for program participants.

The Heritage Walks program will feature short walks as well as longer hikes, walking tours of towns and historical buildings, nature and birding walks, tours of industrial site ruins, and, a canoe/kayak trip on the river. Historians, naturalists, and environmentalists will help participants explore the Housatonic River, the history of the villages and towns in the region as expressed in archaeological and industrial sites, architecture, bridges, and monuments, as well as both prominent and unsung geological, ornithological and horticultural resources, and
splendid autumn foliage scenic vistas.

For more information please visit the Heritage Walks website .

I took a stroll along a short stretch of the Housatonic the other day, and it brought back some very fond memories.

Back in 2000, a ceremony was held where Zenas Crane built his first dam in 1801. The ceremony was attended by folks from Crane, local dignitaries and quite a few state officials.

The occasion was not to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the dam, but to remove the last stone in that 200-year-old dam that would restore more than a mile of the Housatonic to its free-flowing state.

Crane was the first company to decommission a dam under the Massachusetts Riverways Program, and it was a very expensive proposition. Crane wasn't forced to take down the dam; there were no regulations on the horizon that would require them to do so.

It was just the right thing to do. Here's the before and after:

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