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Gate 31: Fishing Area II

Gate 31, otherwise known as Fishing Area 2, requires a fee and is one of only 3 places you must pay to park in the Quabbin. Should you resolve to go boating in the Quabbin, this is, in my opinion, the best of the three sanctioned launch areas. 1) because it allows a “top-to-bottom” method for exploration and, 2) because it also offers the option of launching a boat either directly into the Quabbin or in an adjacent lake section of the Quabbin.

Should you decide to delve into the Reservoir itself, you will either have to have a certificate from an authorized agent stating that your boat has been cleaned in accordance with Massachusetts State Law and DCR guidelines due to invasive Zebra Mollusks, or you will have to rent a motor boat from the DCR. In either case you will need, at a minimum, a one-day fishing license, a fishing pole, and a motorboat, as they are the ONLY authorized mode of transport permissible in the Quabbin (Pontoons not allowed) and children under 12 must wear life vests. If kayak or canoe are your choice, the adjacent pond I mentioned will be your venue. Otherwise there are rates for a half-day of boating as well as a full day and parking with a boat trailer will cost more. Boating season varies from year to year as does the launch and return times within each season. It’s best to contact the DCR directly to view schedules.
If you wanted to circumvent the parking fee, you could park outside the gate along the main road, but there may be laws against that and you could be subject to a fine. I only mention it because I see people doing that frequently. However, should you do so, be sure to bring a stroller or a wagon if you have small children. The walk to the parking area is not far for an adult, but kids will fritter the better half of their energy reserves just getting to the first waypoint along this journey, and certainly won’t be in any frame of mind or body to walk back when the fun is over.
Gate 31 can be found not far down the road on Route 122 in New Salem after turning where Route 202 (Daniel Shays Highway) splits from 122 at the flashing, yellow light. You will first catch sight of a giant sign that reads, “Fishing Area 2.” When you take the right turn into the driveway, you are immediately under a canopy of trees on a paved road that leads you through the gate and past a small utility shed on the left. After a bend to the right you are directed to turn left, toward the parking lot, at which time you can catch your initial glimpse of the water that makes the Quabbin a reservoir. Be sure to stop at the stop sign by the cabin and let them know whether your purpose is to go boating or just park and walk around. On my first outing they actually let me park for free since I told them I wouldn’t be long and they weren’t exactly short on residual parking spaces.
If you’re looking to hear about the boating experience and see the superlative views from the water, then you’ll have to come back and read “Quabbin Waters” followed by the gate from which I launched. This spot references the grounds immediately contiguous the Gate 31 area.
FYI prior to entering the parking area, there’s a nice bike trail to the end of the driveway on the left side, which allows you to continue on to the Fairview Hill area and beyond.
When you have parked your car, you will be able to navigate in 4 different directions around the parking area. The first is back to the bike trail I mentioned. Second, the boat launch area. Third, the pond situated across from the parking lot and down the road. And fourth, through the gate to the old main road, which leads northward to Spriggy Brook and then west to Millington (presently New Salem).

 

Looking into the water beyond the boat launch area, you see what you would expect from the Quabbin with blue waters and green trees. Directly across the water is Bassett Island, a lush, green, dense bouquet of trees hovering over the water. A narrow channel goes left (east) around the isle and a larger body of water travels around its north side to carry you into the northern-most parts of the Quabbin.
The total quantity of time you could spend in this first fragment of Gate 31 is perhaps no more than 15 minutes, as there is not much to see or do. I also prefer secluded locations, sparsely occupied by visitors and, depending on the day and time, Gate 31 normally has more visitor traffic than most places. If nothing else, they have 2 employees in the shed or working at any given time. There are restrooms on the hill here, too, in case you find the need.
If you travel across the street in the direction of the pond, you’ll see racks with canoes by the water that you can also lease from the DCR in the shed. Heading out to this inlet of water offers some analogous views to what’s on the other side, but appears to be less maintained and traversed. Lilly pads blanket the right side toward the shore, and arbitrary pond debris trails outward into the depths. Still, amid these innate interruptions, the lively content of the milieu capture your imagination with stalwart blues and effervescent greens. The tranquility of this nestle is shocking considering just a stone’s-throw away are the sights and sounds of steady sportsmen traffic and government toil.
The fourth area of Gate 31 takes you down a very lengthy road that, technically, doesn’t end until you get to Moosehorn Brook in New Salem. My journey took me only to just a little farther than Horseshoe Dam, just before the paved road turns to soil.
And speaking of paved roads- this old, main road is stroller-friendly, though you will hit a couple of patches of dirt that will compel either momentum or muscle to get through. The rolling hills of this road wind in archetypal, New England fashion, offering brilliant vistas left and right at every turn. Horseshoe Dam is one of the first, interesting sites along this road. It’s a pockmark, for lack of a better term, that allows water to drain and siphon away. It’s abutted to its upper side by two tangential pylons, which join in the center and shoot outward in order to partition the two boating areas. As you are on a viaduct in front of Horseshoe Dam, you can turn 180º to see another stunning sight in and around the waters. To me, this bridge by Horseshoe Dam is a “pivotal” one. It is here that you can view both boating areas in the Quabbin at the same time. Here, disparate to Bassett Island, the trees are recessed so as to impart a narrow, rock-strewn beach afore the trees, extricating the green from the blue.
As you continue your walk along the old, main road, you see more of the same, striking vegetation crowding both sides of this meandering, bouncy lane. Where the pavement ends, having been stroller-bound, I decided to turn around and head back. When I did, I realized that the “back-view” actually made the walk look completely different. I can ascribe this to the offset and waxing and waning of protruding vegetation along the road. They say that when you’re in the desert, you should look behind you every so often as you walk, so that on the way back you won’t get lost as easily. The same is true for any environment, really, as this day proved. If there were not one road the entire way, I just might have taken a wrong turn.

Green arrow indicates launch site for DCR rental boats, yellow will be discussed in “Quabbin Waters: Gate 31.” Above launch site shows path to pond and road to Horseshoe Dam.

Bicycle paths are normally marked on the trails, but it’s always best to check the DCR website for the latest information.

Bassett Island as seen from the boat launch


Boat launch


Kayak/canoe pond


Horseshoe Dam


Pivoting from Horseshoe Dam to the Reservoir


The road as seen from Horseshoe Dam back to the boat launch

Soapstone Hill

Soapstone Hill is accessed through Gate 36 in the East Quabbin, off of Route 122 in Petersham, Massachusetts. The turn is across from the Federated Women’s State Forest, marked by a sign that indicates it breaches the road to where you’re going as well. It’s an unusually lengthy driveway off the main road, which twists and turns down a hill. At the end, there will be a “T,” before which you can park on the right.

Once parked, go to the “T” in the road and go right. You will immediately see a gate, not necessarily the gate (Gate 36), and beyond it is the one and only campground in all of the Quabbin Reservoir.

Walking down the discontinued road is emblematic of most other roads in the Quabbin; charming, picturesque, silent, justifiably pretentious.

After only minutes of walking, you come to the first landmark. A divide in the road subsists along this path that holds at its forward crest a stone wall, extricating roadway from private property. The forward-most stone has a serration where a directional plaque once sat, directing travelers along their respective avenues.

Remain on course to the left fork and it will take you to the only campground in the Quabbin. As you drift down this road, you will look left and right to see inimitable sites every 100 feet or so. In due course, you will come to a clearing on the left with several picnic tables and paths shooting out in various directions. Continuing onward will take you up a sizeable hill.

The hill leads to the Gate; Gate 36. At this mark, the campsite ends and the excursion truly begins.

Passing through this gate is like traveling through a portico. Where you were once traveling along a thoroughfare that is unmistakably still traversed by automobiles, now you are on a footpath, scarcely broad enough to be considered negotiable at some points. The invasive shrubs taunt you as you pass, audaciously interfering with your ability to hike, yet modest and receding enough to entice you to continue.

After just a few minutes, begin looking left for even narrower paths. You can take almost any of them, but some are, of course, easier to engage than others. However, as you might expect, every avenue of approach to Soapstone Hill holds comparative beauty to another.

One path I’m principally fond of, has a small meadow of pines emerging through the compost of leaves left behind by generations of trees above them. It also has a woodland canal, carving its way through the dense forest and zigzags left and right, edging the ebb and flow of this gauntlet.

When the path narrows and straightens, you will be guided up a hill to the right. When atop its rise, you wax and wane left and right across a plateau, followed by unassuming elevations and depressions. Finally, you will encounter the only remaining rise and loop back to the right.

Once this trail concludes, you will finally be atop. Soapstone Hill is, in point of fact, the single-most, consummate and exceptionally superior, innate vista in the entire Quabbin Reservoir. It allows you to see clearly for miles. Hills, mountains, islands, water, foliage, wildlife, canyons, draws, spurs, and incalculable other Quabbin wonders. Soapstone Hill grants to the common traveler, a sense and capacity of celestial synopsis.  At 891 feet at its highest point, it falls just 264 feet short of the highest point in the Quabbin Reservoir, located on Prescott Peninsula, and 209 feet more shallow than the highest non-restricted hills, found in several locations. However, none of those 1100 foot summits or the hill on Prescott provide a greater view.

Soapstone Hill is not too dissimilar from the rest of the Quabbin when you consider the truth that it’s a striking venue no matter the season, but is a multiplicity of other adjectives such as matchless, exceptional, fastidious, and breathtaking when you account for the characteristics conducive to the panorama, separating it from any other place.

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View of The Pass from atop Soapstone

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The walkway leading to the fork.

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A close-up of the fork. Look closely and you can see the middle stone where the directional plaque used to be.

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A standard sight in the Quabbin. A cellar hole, reminding us of a once-inhabited section of land. Above this site was once someone’s home with walls that, if they were able, would speak of memories.

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The woodland canal leading to the summit of Soapstone Hill.

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At the bottom of this hill is the clearing (right, in this photo) where the campground is.

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Shown here is a close-up of “The Pass” from the Petersham side. Mt. Zion is on the left, Mt L on the right.

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An image of Soapstone hill’s spectacular view.

Gate 35: The Short Haul

Gate 35 can be found on Old North Dana Road, in the East Quabbin (New Salem) just off of Route 122. If traveling south on 122, go past North and South Spectacle Ponds, and then look for the 45˚ turn to the right where you’ll see a sign for a local lumber company (Old North Dana Road). If traveling north, you will pass the Federated Women’s Club State Forest on your left, then cross into New Salem from Petersham and look for the 45˚ turn to the left which is Old Petersham Road. When you get to the “T,” you are at Old North Dana Road, where you would go left. Once on Old North Dana Road, follow it straight past the lumber mill entrance, and you’ll see the shiny, yellow gate labeled “35.”

So what’s today’s fun-fact for Gate 35, as I enjoy sharing (it seems) in almost every entry? Gate 35 is the shortest walk from parking to reservoir water anywhere in the North Quabbin, making it my choice setting for brisk walks with the kids.

Gate 35 is also one of those select locations that is aesthetically enjoyable regardless of season. While some places look better in summer or winter, and while others only look nice in this season or that, Gate 35 is a dazzling site any time of year.

After parking, you’ll walk through the gate and instantly be greeted with a choice of left or straight, accompanied by a DCR sign displaying relative information to the Quabbin and the Gate 35 borough.

Forking left will take you on an adventure of remarkable scope, meandering through the entire northern segment of the East Quabbin, connecting to the southern portion of the East Quabbin as well. It edges along the water for a few miles, offering stunning glimpses of the water and its radiant islands. Options to traverse east into the nadir peek at you with lavish regularity. The roadway at long last comes to a final turn at the edge of the North Dana Peninsula, across the water from Mt. L, and at the foot of Soapstone Hill, allowing you to skirt along its base.

Continuing straight, however, being the focus of this entry, will take you along a much shorter and family-friendly adventure that will surely goad as much enthusiasm and enjoyment in your children as would delving left, through the East Quabbin, would to any adult.

The long, spacious roads are moderately paved, with shifting asphalt here and there, but by no measure close to impossible to maneuver a stroller across. Along this trek you will see several character trees, assuming various shapes, twists, and growth patterns. The sunshade, at times, create wormhole-like tunnels in the distances, making it feel like you’re traveling through some sort of vegetative vortex.

After walking 2,000 feet (0.38 mile) you will have reached the Power Lines where you will see a road forking back to the right. This road is Blackington Road, leading back to Bassett Pond where you will also find Hackett’s Chimney. On the way, before you reach the chimney and, in fact, almost as soon as you re-enter the canopy, you will find an old tomb on the right. I forget the name of this location or the old cemetery that used to exist here, but this encapsulation was once used to store the recently deceased during the winter months so they could wait for the Spring thaw to bury them. The most I know is that the cemetery was located behind where this tomb presently exists.

However if, at this back-fork, you continue down the road, you will encounter a bend immediately at the end of which you will see the water to the Quabbin Reservoir, afore a seemingly small beach. From this point it is exactly half the distance to the water as you have, by this time, already walked. In other words, it’s 1,000 more feet to the beach and the water, marking this entire one-way journey as a 3,000-foot (0.57 mile) trip. The terrain is almost completely flat, with few subtle and virtually unnoticeable elevations and depressions along the way.

When you have finished this 1,000-foot stretch, you will be subject to an exquisite panorama. Emerging from the awning like a burrowing groundhog welcoming spring, the beach is reminiscent of a deserted island and beach lagoon, like on Gilligan’s Island.

In the spirit of what I had stated before, I’ve included photos of this area in a few different seasons, and at different times of day. Uprooted trees lay with roots extended in the air, reeds depose the foreground, and mist rises from the edges of the lagoon.

The beach offers fun for kids to play, being littered with rocks for skipping or tossing on the ice to see if it will break, while also offering a sense of relaxation for the adults to lay a blanket and have an afternoon picnic.

The sights out on the water include islands like Moore Island and Mt Russ, foliage here and there in all directions, and greenery lighting up the adjacent, sloping hills and mountains and islands!

In the winter you can hear the chiming of ice bumping into itself near the shoreline; in the summer you appreciate the calm, cool breeze shooting in from the water as if you were facing the Atlantic Ocean.

The residual life that persists rapidly gains a beauty of its own. It seems that each time I go to Gate 35, nothing ever looks the same, making it a dynamic site to visit with your family and friends frequently. As short of a walk as it is, it makes for an easy day out and a quick evening back to where you parked.

Rarely will you see more than one person at a time at this location. As I said, the terrain is very much stroller and kid-friendly, but if kids aren’t what you’re seeking to be around, and you want to simply enjoy the serenity of the Quabbin, remember that I’m the only person I know of who has ever brought kids out there, as I rarely see anyone at all.

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The pathway to the first opening

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The tomb

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Mt. Russ

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The Dana Town Common is almost certainly one of the most visited sites in the Quabbin Reservoir. It is the last standing testament and site dedicated to one of the 4 towns that were flooded in order to fill the reservoir.

The Common, in truth, consists of nothing more than a stone monument that states the term of incorporation and to whom it’s dedicated, as well as old cellar holes and pathways. However, it is an historic Quabbin venue nonetheless, and one that does sequester itself as the principal hub of the East Quabbin.

First, find Route 32A in either Ware, MA or Petersham, MA. If coming from the south (Ware), then you can access 32A from Route 9. If coming from the north (Petersham), you can access it from Route 122. Again, if traveling from Ware, follow Route 32 through Ware until it splits to 32A in Gilbertville. Then follow through Hardwick and then past the Hardwick-Petersham line. Soon after, you will pass Gate 41 on the left, then the East Branch of the Swift River, and then soon after, Gate 40 will be on your left. If you drive under high-tension power lines, you’ve gone too far.

Likewise, from the north, you turn south off of Route 122 onto 32A and follow the road south until you drive under those same power lines. Soon after, Gate 40 will be on the right. Look for the guardrail that has purple spray paint, displaying “G-40.” One indicator is that Gate 40 will appear to be at an intersection, so be sure to look for a road coming out directly across from Gate 40.

Once you’ve arrived, lock the doors and get started because you won’t be back for a while! It’s about 2 miles from where you park to the Common. Many people bring bikes because of this expanse. Furthermore, the Dana Town Common is only one location you can get to via Gate 40. There are some very bike-friendly trails forward of the Common, and the road from the parking lot to the common is almost completely asphalt which makes it bike-friendly as well.

So, needless to say, the road to Dana is long…long, but interesting! Along this road you will find several old cellar holes. The road itself is primarily under a canopy of trees, but breaks from time to time, showing lush, open fields. The entire road has only one diversion, which goes back to the left, leading to Pottapaug Pond.

When the road finally ends, you come to the Dana Town Common. Greeting you immediately over the rise in the road is a stone monument facing where the road forks. Both roads go around the center of the Common, and each side offers avenues for viewing the residual sights.

On the left there is a spot in the woods that offers a glimpse into an old cellar hole, the likes of which surpass intrinsic detail of any other I’ve seen in the Quabbin Reservoir. Not only is this foundation larger than most, but the walls of the cellar consist of symmetrically perfect balls of rock. The panorama of this historical remnant shows the precision of modern-day machinery, but with the hand crafted eminence of a day when people took their time, paid attention to detail, and took pride in the craftsmanship and consequence of their labor.

On the right there are no foundations to speak of, however there is a rock walkway that leads to where the old Town Hall used to be. Aside from that, there is a field left open to roam around.

The center, where the roads traverse, is also open with only a few, scattered trees encroaching on the landscape.

Alone, the Dana Town Common is a wonderful place to visit. It is largely a focal point of attraction to people who wish to visit the Quabbin and feel a sense of unanimity with its past. You will see more people along the road and at the Common than you would see in most places. Aside from Winsor Dam and the Visitor’s Center in the south, Dana Town Common is probably one of the most visited locations in the Quabbin.

However, once seen, there is little more to accomplish in this actual location. The real endeavor is to explore the trails and pathways aft the Common.

Furthermore, unless you have 12 hours per day for 4 or 5 days, you will need a bicycle in order to see the scope and detail of these trails and where they take you.

It’s a unique countenance to this part of the Quabbin, specific to the Gate 40 territory because in most other locations, you have the ability to enjoy a day by entering through one gate and, if necessary, exiting through another while being able to take pleasure in every aspect of your day-long journey devoid of the inhibition of time and being required to meet an exit deadline; that is to say, you don’t have to set a waypoint as a point of return in most places. You may survey and explore all day long and simply find another exit along the way.

Gate 40 is separated from all points south by Pottapaug Pond and the East Quabbin as a general rule possesses more depth than any other part of the Quabbin, making it considerably more difficult to be conjoined by other nearby entries.

The road to Dana is certainly a destination worth encountering to say the least; one that holds a sense of limitless adventure and exploration. At every intriguing curve in the road you will find yourself asking, “What’s next?

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Traveling south on Route 122, Gate 40 on the right

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Gate 40

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Distance from parking to divergence

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Total distance from parking to Common

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Dana Town Common

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Bicycle routes and restrictions

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Dana Town Common Monument

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The beautiful canopy that protects the road to Dana Town Common

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A foundation seen in the distance, quite a way from the road, with large levels of vegetative overgrowth.

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The road to Dana has larger numbers of larger sized cellars than most places you visit. This picture shows the exception to the Gate 40 rule.

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A unique looking foundation as it curves back to the left toward the rear wall

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Cellar hole on the road to Dana

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Exquisite craftsmanship shown here in the form of a cellar wall.

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The fine, pebblish foundation wall. Very pleasing to the eye.

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Dana Town Common. The road to Dana is off-camera to the right, just forward of where you see the monument.

Gate 54A is the first place in the Quabbin I ever visited, and so it is first in my priorities of dialogue. This gate is one of four gates that pilot directly into Quabbin Park, and is nearest to Winsor Dam. Being situated in the vicinity of DCR (Dept. of Conservation and Recreation) HQ, it is one of two central avenues to access the dam and Visitor’s Center (the other road is not actually a Quabbin gate, but only a road leading to a parking area). The focal attraction for this ingress, however, has less to do with tourism, and more to do with landmark and with the best man-made view in the Quabbin; a place I call Enfield Tower.

 

Enfield Tower is sometimes referred to as Lookout Tower or Quabbin Park Tower, but is not to be confused with Enfield Lookout, which is north of the tower, down the slope, and does not proffer quite the same viewing range as Enfield Tower.

 

Gate 54A is accessed through a driveway in the Quabbin Reservoir which draws from Route 9 in Ware. When you get toward the end of this driveway, there will be a pullover parking lot on the right, before the road forks. If you opt to fork left (which is more of a straight-ahead direction), then you’ll need to park in this side lot because there’s a locked gate, as driving by anyone other than DCR personnel is prohibited. Otherwise, as I did, you may fork right in your vehicle to continue along the road.

 

Immediately on your left as you make that right turn, you can glance down and see a small waterway. As you move further around the left bend, you lose sight of all water and become inundated with forest on both left and right.

 

Your next view of the water will be via a picturesque seascape on the left that allows you to pull in, pull over, or turn around. Whichever you select, you’re sure to enjoy the view.

 

In due course, you will come to a rotary at the top of the hill. When you do, you will need to go through the rotary and take the first right in order to set about the short driveway to the parking lot beneath Enfield Tower. But look fast; almost as soon as you commence your ascent from the rotary, you can look to the right and up the hill to catch your first foretaste of the tower in its gallantly unassailable view over the Quabbin Reservoir. Once upon the inner recesses of its top tier, you will be able to see out of its Air Traffic Control Tower-like windows all the way from Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire to Connecticut on a clear day.

 

Beneath the knoll to Enfield Tower is a sizeable plateau used for parking, and the driveway loops around the parking field along the ridge. However, you can park virtually anyplace except the length of the driveway to the tower itself; once again, prohibited except to DCR personnel vehicles. This open field/parking lot leaves copious room for vehicles to drive around the loop or park, while observing a comfortable yet proverbial bulwark between playing children and traffic. There are also a small number of footpaths available to the grown trailblazer in the Southeast corner.

 

The walk up the hill to the tower is indeed not for the indolent, however it’s effortlessly consummate by any person capable of walking by themselves. My kids, at the time ages 9, 4, and 3, were able to walk it, and I was able to push my 1 year-old in the stroller with no complications or real challenges.

 

Once at the pinnacle, I quickly understood why so many people get married there. The view from the ground alone was extraordinary. From that position, in front of the tower, you could see water below and mountains peeking through the vapor in the far west. The grounds are very well maintained and groomed. The vegetation is left to grow, uninhibited by man’s presence or persistent visitation.

 

Subsequent to climbing several flights of stairs, I made it to the crown of the tower and was able to look out and see much more illustrious views out of the large windows.

 

To the west is Belchertown, and to the north is Prescott Peninsula, now a part of New Salem. This view, which is almost all-inclusive of the Quabbin, should inspire at least a fleeting prologue of its history and purpose.

 

Now let’s back up to that fork in the road. After departing Enfield Tower and going back through the rotary and back down the hill to that parking area on the right as you come in on the entry road, I parked the car and then ventured back in the direction of the left fork in the road, but this time on foot.

 

To my children’s as well as my own excitement, we saw a family of wild turkeys itinerant in the tree line along the road to the gate. Wild turkeys are not an atypical scene in certain parts of the Quabbin, nor is it unheard of to bear witness to bobcats, beavers, deer, bears, moose, loons, and an innumerable host of other indigenous wildlife. The first we saw, however, was wild turkey!

 

Immediately upon crossing past the gate to Winsor Dam was a bridge that passed over The Gorge. At the time, the water level was relatively low, but an inspiring sight nonetheless. Soon after, the well-groomed grounds of Enfield Tower as well as the “remarkable” view of The Gorge became pale compared to the humbling majesty of Winsor Dam!

 

 

Your first glimpse of this Quabbin Wonder will be in the form of an enormous, pitched hill which is mowed from left to right, in aggregate, horizontal tread from top to bottom. A path on the left side of the road leads down to the base of the hill which snakes around through the backside of Quabbin Park. As you continue along the road, to your front and where the road ells to the left, you will see a pillared monument dedicated to the Engineer who designed the dam (and after whom the dam is named). As it states, the dam is 2,640 feet long and 170 feet high.

 

 

The high road, which spans athwart the top of the dam, begins by mirroring the snake-like course of the base path described a moment ago, but then straightens out across the overwhelming preponderance of the dam. On both sides are tremendous views; on the left –the sloping, grassy hill; on the right –the view of the water from its southern-most point.

 

 

As I trekked along, I encountered a Cedar Waxwing perched on the outcrop. Yet another wildlife encounter dissimilar to anything you might see in most other places.

 

I realize that birdwatchers and animal lovers will not see anything superficially exceptional with the wild turkeys and Cedar Waxwing, but understand that I am making known these sightings as a reference for perspective. We spent a sum of 2 or 3 hours in our first voyage to the Quabbin, and had seen 2 things that most of us had never seen before.

 

The Quabbin is an enchanting place. It lives up to its name as the Accidental Wilderness as well as the title of New England’s Best Kept Secret. Don’t consent to any of my diatribes filling your head with illusions of what the Quabbin is, because it’s something different to everyone, and each one sees every element of it in distinctive ways. Whether you are a lover of nature or not, an intrepid explorer or a couch potato, a hiker, a climber, a camper, fisherman, hunter, or computer geek, the Quabbin will leave a lasting impression for your entire life.

 

I would pioneer my life in the Quabbin with Gate 54A all over again. It’s a grand preliminary spot. The Visitor’s Center is in close proximity so you can get all the information the internet won’t provide and the view from Enfield Tower is genially teasing, as it allows you to see most of what there is to ascertain without being ensconced in its opulence. If nothing else, it’s a rousing venue to engage your senses and tempt a further, more intimate review of The Quabbin Reservoir in Central Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 

Below you will see a series of images with their descriptions for this Entry: Quabbin Waters. For those who are not familiar with this site, click HERE for photographs and a detailed account of this location.

 

 

Statistics:

 

Location:       Quabbin Reservoir, Quabbin Valley, Central Massachusetts

 

Latitude:        42.393361

Longitude:     72.298089

*LOCATION BASED ON MOST CENTRAL POINT, CURTIS HILL ISLAND

 

Overview:

As shown, the featured maps show an area of the Quabbin Valley located in Central Massachusetts known as the Quabbin Reservoir: water source for the city of Boston, Massachusetts and nearly 65 surrounding communities. The basic size and scope of the Quabbin Reservoir being so large that no hand-drawn map of noteworthy definition and scale is shown. Quabbin Waters are accessed through one of 3 gates: Fishing Area 1 (Gate 8), Fishing Area 2 (Gate 31), & Fishing Area 3 (Gate 43), encompassing 38.6 square miles of space, holding 412.24 billion gallons of water, spanning approximately 18 miles at its greatest length, and having an average depth of 51 feet with a max depth of 150 feet. It is fed by a sizeable number of small streams from the neighboring high grounds but yields its greatest flow from the 3 branches of the Swift River. It has 3,500 acres of land divided prejudicially among numerous islands, and Quabbin boasts an 11,000-acre cape as well as 118 miles of shoreline, 181 miles including all the islands. The 20 major featured islands are Bassett, Moore, Snell, Hamilton, Nelson, Mt Russ, Mt L, Leveau, Mt Zion, Carrick, Stevens, Southworth, Chapman, Curtis Hill (central location used for the purposes of this Segment), Parker Hill, Den Hill, Walker Hill, Mt Pomeroy, Mt Lizzie, and Little Quabbin Hill.

 

Descriptive Legend:

 

All maps shown are the work of other enterprises and are not to be misunderstood as the work of, but was only compiled by, The Quabbin Valley Chronicles© 2015

 

Some Quabbin Waters shown are restricted.

 

 

Shown Below:

1) An image of the Quabbin Reservoir in its entirety with surrounding areas.

2) Due Course image with yellow guide line, outlining one course taken leaving Gate 31 (Fishing Area 2) through the pivot zones in the north and heading southward to the channel west of Bassett Island and then along the east coast of Prescott Peninsula to the south limit and wrapping around to the east. From that southern limit, and moving northward at Baffle Dam and skirting along the west coast of Mt Zion, the yellow guide line moves through The Pass, between Mt Zion and Mt L to the eastern portion of Quabbin Waters. Then, circling around Stevens Island, the yellow guide line moves northward, along the west side of Leveau Island and to the uppermost basin in that region and returns to the channel south of the power lines, and end by maneuvering along the east side of Bassett Island and finishing at the boat launch.

3) An image of a boat running along the waters between Mt Russ and Prescott Peninsula.

4) An image of the greatest width of the Quabbin Reservoir, interrupted by Mt L, and showing a distance of 18,157.44 feet (3.438909 miles).

5) An image showing the greatest length of the West Finger of the Quabbin Reservoir, showing a distance of 61,657.79 feet (11.677612 miles).

6) An image of the greatest width of the West Finger of the Quabbin Reservoir, showing a distance of 5,823.29 feet (1.102896 miles).

 01.Full Unlabeled 02.Due Course 03.Boat 04.Reservoir Width 05.Length West Finger 06.Width West Finger

 

Shown Below:

  • An image of the Quabbin Reservoir as seen from a point above Leveau Island, looking southwesterly.
  • An image of the boat launch at Gate 31 (Fishing Area 2) (green arrow) and “Angel Island” (yellow arrow)
  • An image of Bassett, Moore, Snell, & Hamilton Islands, with callouts for Pittman & Rattlesnake (North) Hills, as seen from above the boat launch at Gate 31 (Fishing Area 2), looking southerly.
  • An image of Mt L & Mt Russ, the point where New Salem [previously] ends and [presently] Prescott Peninsula begins as well as orientation of Nelson Island location.
  • An image looking southerly from the southern point of the channel, showing Mts L & Zion and Carrick, Chapman, Parker Hill, & Curtis Islands, as well as Mt Russ.
  • An easterly image featuring The Pass, Leveau & Stevens Island, Mt. L to the left (North) and Mt Zion to the right (South).
  • An image looking southward, showing Chapman & Parker Hill Islands on the left (east), Mt Pomeroy at the farthest point south, and just north of it, Curtis Hill Island, positioning the southern location of Dugmar Clubhouse.
  • An image looking southward from the southern limit of where the restriction begins in Quabbin Waters East, Mts Pomeroy and Lizzie as well as Little Quabbin Hill Island.
  • 07.Leveau View 08.Launch & Island 09.Island Callout 10.Island Callout 11.Island Callout 12.Island Callout 13.Island Callout 14.Island Callout

 

 

 

Shown Below:         A series of lengths in the Quabbin Reservoir

 

  • Length measured from the boat launch at Gate 31 (Fishing Area 2) to the south limit in Quabbin Waters East, showing a total distance of 51,844.92 feet (9.819114 miles)
  • Length measured from the boat launch at Gate 31 (Fishing Area 2) to Angel Island in the Northern Pivot, showing a distance of 2,799.67 feet (0.530241 miles)
  • Length measured from the area on the water just south of the power lines to the open waters by Snell Island, showing a distance of 5,777.3 feet (1.094186 miles)
  • Length measured of Bassett Channel, showing a distance of 2,747.86 feet (0.520428 miles)
  • Length measured from the power lines to Prescott Peninsula, showing a distance of 8,768.17 feet (1.660638 miles)
  • Length measured of Bassett Island, showing a distance of 4,309.79 feet (0.816248 miles)
  • Length measured from the power lines to the inward sectional bay of the Prescott Peninsula-New Salem limits, showing a distance of 14,975.63 feet (2.836294 miles)
  • Length measured of Snell Island, showing a distance of 2,381.76 feet (0.451091 miles)
  • Length measured of Hamilton Island, showing a distance of 2,351.04 feet (0.445273 miles)
  • Length measured of Nelson Island, showing a distance of 1,809.88 feet (0.34278 miles)
  • Length measured of unlabeled island, showing a distance of 2,236.03 feet (0.423491 feet)
  • Length measured of Prescott Peninsula, measured across its span from northeast to southwest, showing a total greatest distance of 55,446.25 feet (10.501184 miles)
  • Length measured of Prescott Peninsula’s Holster region, showing a distance of 4,305.03 feet (0.815347 miles)
  • Length measured of Mt L, showing a distance of 9,789.1 feet (1.853996 miles)
  • Length measured of Mt Russ, showing a distance of 4,346.66 feet (0.823231 miles)
  • Length measured of Leveau Island, showing a distance of 3,966.52 feet (0.751235 miles)
  • Length measured of Mt Zion, largest island in the Quabbin Reservoir, showing a distance of 19,115.25 feet (3.620312 miles)
  • Length measured of Carrick Island, showing a distance of 807.8 feet (0.152992 miles)
  • Length measured of Chapman Island, showing a distance of 2,210.72 feet (0.418697 miles)
  • Length measured from iconic Soapstone Hill’s peak to Quabbin Waters, showing a total ground distance of 1,709.19 feet (0.32371 miles)
  • Length measured of the peak of iconic Soapstone Hill to The Pass, showing a total ground distance of 9,745.59 feet (1.845756 miles)
  • Length measured of The Pass from the north point of Mt Zion and measured to the south point of Mt L, showing a distance of 988.19 feet (0.187157 miles)
  • Length measured of Curtis Hill Island, home of Dugmar Clubhouse, showing a distance of 3,949.13 feet (0.747941 miles)
  • Length measured from Quabbin Waters to the site of Dugmar Clubhouse on Curtis Hill Island, showing a total ground distance of 178.05 feet (0.033722 miles)
  • Length measured of Parker Hill Island, showing a distance of 3,698.25 feet (0.700426 miles)
  • Length measured of an island south of Baffle Dam, showing a distance of 2,047.55 feet (0.387794 miles)
  • Length measured of Mt Pomeroy, showing a distance of 4,839.95 feet (0.916657 miles)
  • Length measured of Mt Lizzie, showing a distance of 3,459.43 feet (0.655195 miles)
  • Length measured of Little Quabbin Hill Island, showing a distance of 9,428.34 feet (1.78567 miles)
  • 15.Length Launch-to-South Limit 16.Length Launch-to-Island 17.Length Bassett Channel Wide 18.Length Bassett Channel 19.Length Bassett-to-Prescott21.Length Bassett-to-Prescott Inward20.Length Bassett Island  22.Length Snell 23.Length Hamilton 24.Length Nelson 25.Length Unlabeled 26.Length Prescott 27.Length Holster28.Length L28.Length Russ
  • 29.Length Leveau 30.Length Zion  31.Length Carrick 32.Length Chapman 33.Length Soapstone 34.Length Soapstone-to-The Pass 35.Length The Pass 36.Length Curtis 37.Length Water-to-Dugmar 38.Length Parker 39.Length Baffle Island 40.Length Pomeroy 41.Length Lizzie 42.Length LQHI

Below you will see a series of images with their descriptions for this Entry: Gate 29. For those who are not familiar with this site, click HERE for photographs and a detailed account of this location.

Statistics:

Location: New Salem, Massachusetts

Latitude: 42º 32’ 8.026”
Longitude: 72º 18’ 38.685”
Altitude: 570.8661417’

Overview:
As shown, the map below shows an area of the North Quabbin Reservoir region, in the Quabbin Valley of Massachusetts. This maps faces north and features boundaries beginning in the lower-left portion of the map at Shutesbury Road in New Salem, Massachusetts. Follow north along Route 202 to New Salem Center, and northwest along Wendell Road and Moosehorn Road, then reaching eastward, crossing Route 202 again and extending to an area east of Blackington Road, edged by North and South Spectacle Ponds in New Salem, Massachusetts. Moving south along the eastern portion of the East Quabbin Watershed, to the vicinity of Soapstone Hill and Gate 36 in the Quabbin Reservoir. This map features locations such as those mentioned already, in addition to Fishing Area 1 (FA1), several brooks, Gates 22-36, hills including Rattlesnake Hill [North], Pittman Hill, Adams Hill, and Harris Hill. Bassett, Moore, Snell, Hamilton, & Nelson Islands, and Bassett Pond also included. The feature for this Entry is Gate 29, located on Route 202 in New Salem, Massachusetts, along the extension of a road known as Elm Street, along which the Swift River Valley Historical Society is located outside of the reservoir.

image

PDF NOT AVAILABLE

Descriptive Legend:

Yellow lines indicate paved or frequently used roads open to the public. Some extensions of these roads may be blocked and/or restricted.

Red diagonal lines indicate restricted areas

Green, dotted lines indicate hiking pathways

Brown lines indicate roads once used before the flooding of the Reservoir.

Blue lines indicate brooks, streams, creeks, or other flowing waters. Any filled in blue shape indicates a body of water. Any blue outline of a shape indicates a bog, swamp, or other still/stagnant waters.

Any marks in pencil indicate a description of a location.

All Quabbin Waters shown are unrestricted.

Shown Below:
Southbound view of Route 202 near Gate 29. On the right is Elm Street, leading toward the Swift River Valley Historical Society. On the left is the parking lot and entrance to Gate 29.

image

Shown Below:
Inward Google Street view of Gate 29 and the parking area.

image

Shown Below:
Track View showing the course taken on most journeys. From the top (north), enter through Gate 29 and follow the road (yellow line) until the apparent “T.” Maintaining a straighter path (shown as left on map and indicated as “Route In”) brings the yellow line south and on the west side of Rattlesnake (North) until you reach the water. Coursing eastward through the forest extends the yellow line southward along the west side of Pittman Hill. A sharp northward and subsequent northeastern path along the yellow line indicates a direct hike through the middle of Pittman Hill to its peak (indicated as “Route Out”). Moving northwest from the top of Pittman Hill is the downslope followed by the upslope of Rattlesnake Hill (North). An incisive cut to the east shows a rapid descent off of Rattlesnake (North) and onto the east pathway that skirts Quabbin Waters, crossing under the power lines, and wrapping back to the west where the initial path meets. Total distance from Gate-Gate is 38,453.6 feet (7.28 miles).

image

Shown Below:
Key points & areas along the course. Beginning at Gate 29, the parking area and southward roadway still considered an extension of Elm Street in New Salem, MA until it meets with Orange-Millington Road entering through Gate 30 toward the east. From that intersection, Orange-Millington Road continues until it ends by the water, featuring such sites as the former location of Herrick’s Tavern and an old well near a cliff that offers a clear view of the water. Another road, Belden Hill Road, also falls along the way. From the southern-most tip and moving northward, Pittman and Rattlesnake Hills are featured along with Regulating Dam Road, leading out to Gate 31 (Fishing Area 2). Lengths of Red-Line Roads not calculated.

image

Shown Below:
Inclusive length of Elm Street and Orange-Millington Road (known also as only Millington Road), calculated from Gate 29 to the intersection of the two, and continuing onward to the southern base where it meets the water at Rattlesnake Hill (North). This course being the most frequently traveled at its distance of 13,604.33 feet (2.58 miles).

image

Shown Below:
An extension of that which was previously described to include the route eastward through the forest and then southward to the water by Pittman Hill; a distance total of 19,025.36 feet (3.60 miles).

image

Shown Below:
The course of Rattlesnake Hill (North) in the Quabbin Reservoir from southern base to northern base, measuring 3,356.68 (0.64 miles) map length, and 3,356.75 feet (0.64 miles) ground length. The location of the former site of Herrick’s Tavern also shown, painting a clearer picture of the “T” mentioned earlier.

image

Shown Below:
Elevation of Rattlesnake Hill (North) shown at 1,052.22 feet (0.20 miles) map length and 1,091.76 feet (0.21 miles) ground length.

image

Shown Below:
The course of Pittman Hill in the Quabbin Reservoir from southern base to northern base, measuring 3,742.21 feet (0.71 miles) map length, and 3,742.28 feet (0.71 miles) ground length.

image

Shown Below:
Elevation of Pittman Hill shown at 750.54 feet (0.14 miles) map length and 795.62 feet (0.15 miles) ground length.

image

Shown Below:
Elevation of cliff at the end of Gate 29, Orange-Millington Road measured at 78.56 feet (0.01 miles) map length, and 80.89 feet (0.02 miles) ground length.

image

Shown Below:
Topographic map of the areas surrounding the locations of Gates 29 & 30, as well as showing the locations of Rattlesnake & Pittman Hills.

image

Shown Below:
Topographic map of defined area and several broad views of surrounding communities and their respective elevations.

image

Shown Below:
Close-up Topographic map of Rattlesnake and Pittman Hills, displaying the contrast in differing composition; Rattlesnake being a more broadly based hill and Pittman being one of sharper elevation with a narrower ridgeline.

image

Shown Below:
Topographic map indicating the locations of Gates 29 & 30 with their visual elevations.

image

Shown Below:
Topographic map showing the elevation of Rattlesnake, Harris, Fairview, & Bassett Hills.

image

Shown Below:
Map showing bicycle access for the Gate 29 area, exemplifying how one could enter through Gate 29 and reach as far as the base of Soapstone Hill on Bicycle.

image

-Q

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