Williamsburg Woodland Trails
The Woodland Trails Committee has an exciting new project coming up this year. On May 16, 1874, The Mill River Flood disaster claimed 139 lives and devastated the villages of Williamsburg, Skinnnerville, Haydenville and Leeds. The flood resulted from the failure of a dam which had been constructed by local mill owners three miles north of the Village of Williamsburg. The 600 million gallons of water that burst from the dam destroyed dozens of mills and houses and changed the appearance and the course of our town's history forever.
The ruins of the dam still exist today in the woods north of Williamsburg, but there has been no access to the site for the general public. Now, adjacent landowners and the Northampton Water Department (which owns the site of the ruins) are collaborating with the Trails Committee to develop a new pedestrian trail from Ashfield Road to the Dam ruins. The trail will tell the story of the Flood and also the 250 year history of family farm and forest management in the Hilltowns.
We have a mile of new trail to clear and construct, along with numerous footbridges, boardwalks, kiosks, interpretive signs, benches, erosion control measures and so on. The Trails Committee is hoping that the work can be done almost exclusively by volunteers from the community. The cost of materials will be covered by grants, vendor donations, a town meeting request, and contributions from local businesses and individuals.
We are very enthused about this project, and feel it will be a great addition to the Town’s cultural, historic and recreational assets. Thank you!
Thanks to all the hard working volunteers who have helped so far with invasives control, bridge construction and trail building! Visit our Flickr site for photographs.