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Chicopee River Reach 1

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Last Updated: 6/2017
Three Rivers Put-In/Take-Out to Red Bridge Pool Dam

Description
         This paddle is actually my favorite on the Chicopee River.  The reason is that there are ruins to explore and woods dominate both sides of the river.  Wildlife is a plenty!

       You can either paddle through if you arrive at Three Rivers via the Quaboag, Swift, or Ware Rivers - OR - You can launch where Nick Lavoilette Field meets Main Street Bridge over the Quaboag River.
    Have your PFD on when you launch as you will quickly be in Class 2 or 3 rapids.  If you didn't get your wake up from morning coffee then the adrenaline rush will get you wide awake!
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STATISTICS

Skill Level:            Class 2 and 3 then Class 0
Estimated Time: 
   1 hours
Distance:
              3.0 miles
USGS Map:
 Palmer, MA (7.5’x15’)


SPECIAL NOTE:
If you wish to launch and recover from the same location then use the Red Bridge Pool Boat Launch.  A round trip is about 6.5 miles.  See a complete description by clicking below: 

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Red Bridge Pool - Hampden County
[1] Three Rivers Put-In / Take-Out - Mile 18.0
Position: 42-10.81 N 72-21.85 W
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Boat Launch:
Where Nick Lavoilette Field meets Main Street Bridge over the Quaboag River
Nearest Launch Address:
2019 Main St Palmer, MA 01080

Put-In/Take-Out Directions (3.2 miles, 7 minutes)
From Exit 8 Palmer of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1.  At the end of the ramp, at the stop light, turn right onto Thorndike Street.
  2. Make the first right just after the gas station onto Lawrence Street.
  3. At mile 0.3, at stop sign, turn left onto Shearer Street.
  4. At mile 1.0, turn right onto Route181 North/North Main Street.
  5. At mile 2.2, turn left onto Bourne Street.
  6. At mile 2.9, turn left onto Main Street in Three Rivers.
  7. At mile 3.2, turn left into a parking area just before the bridge over the Quaboag River.
  8. Go to the recreation area and park.  Find small trail to river.
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This recreational field is easy to find.
Carry your boat into the field and then dow this tiny trail to the river.
Chicopee River History
[3] Red Bridge Dam Portage - Mile 15.2 to 15.0
Position Above Dam: 42-10.63 N 72-24.46 W
Position Below Dam: 42-10.46 N 72-24.61 W 
Upper Altitude: 272 feet
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Boat Launch:
There is parking for about 6 vehicles.  Follow the portage trail about 0.1 miles into the woods to a small pool where the Dam water and Power Plant water meet.  You cannot driver from Red Bridge Pool Boat launch because the bridge is closed to vehicle traffic.  You must drive around several miles.
Portage
     After climbing the boat ramp, walk along the road and over the bridge below the dam.  The bridge has been closed to traffic for some time.  It is available to foot traffic and boats are easily carried.  Walk past the power plant on your left and continue to a small parking area.  Follow the portage trail into the woods for about 0.1 miles.  Launch for Reach 2 in a small pool where water meets from over the dam and the power plant.

Lower Nearest Launch Address: 
            1600 East Street, Ludlow, MA 01056

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Pass over the power plant canal.
Pass by the Power Plant on your left.
Mile 17.8 to Mile 17.6 - Rapids
     These rapids should be scouted before you run it when you are unfamiliar with this section.  This is a short and relatively safe run.  Follow the center of the water flow which is left of center on the river.  Be careful not to get pushed up against the building on left.
        As you come out the rapid the river becomes calm and lake-like.  The rest of the reach is placid.  See the Red Bridge Pool that has a full description below.

Mile 17.4 - Upper Ruins - This is the relocated dam site (see below) of the abandon site failure.  This dam, its four-turbine chambers and brick power plant provided electric power up until the late 1930's when the Otis Co. went bankrupt. 

Mile 17.0 - Lower Ruins - The Otis Company was a large cotton canvas company located in Three Rivers. When electric motors became available in the early 1900's, an electric generating power dam was proposed. Water elevations from the Ludlow dam would have flooded the Otis Co. turbine gates.  A lawsuit entailed, but Otis Co. lost its claim and had to abandon their partially built dam.  

Mile 15.5 - River Right (North Side) passage under a footbridge to side basin.
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[4] Red Bridge Put-In below Dam - Mile 15.0
Position: 42-10.46 N 72-24.61 W 
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Boat Launch:
There is parking for about 6 vehicles.  Follow the portage trail about 0.1 miles into the woods to a small pool where the Dam water and Power Plant water meet.  You cannot driver from Red Bridge Pool Boat launch because the bridge is closed to vehicle traffic.  You must drive around several miles.
Nearest Launch Address: 1600 East Street, Ludlow, MA 01056

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Enter the woods at the lower parking area and follow the trail to the end.
Launch your cartop boat at a small beach used by locals.
[2] Red Bridge Pool Boat Launch - Mile 15.2
Position: 42-10.63 N 72-24.46 W
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Boat Launch:
A steep, paved launch ramp suitable for trailers and including a parking area for approximately 10 cars is provided.   Car top boats are easiest launch by placing your boat off to the dam side of the launch where the bottom gets deep gradually.
Nearest Launch Address:
2 Red Bridge Road, Wilbraham, MA 01095

Put-In/Take-Out Directions: 4.3 miles, 9 min.
From US Route 90 (Mass. Turnpike) take Exit 7:
  1. At the end of the ramp turn right on Route 21 North
  2. At mile 0.5, turn right at stoplight onto Chapin Street.
  3. At mile 1.6, turn left on East Street.
  4. At mile 4.1, the road becomes Red Bridge Road just before pass over the Chicopee River below the Red Bridge Dam.
  5. At mile 4.3, turn left into the boat launch area.

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Plenty of parking
A paved boat ramp for all types of boats.