Millers River

Last Updated: 2/2018
General Description
         The Millers River is a 50.5-mile-long river in northern Massachusetts, originating in Ashburnham and joining the Connecticut River just downstream from Millers Falls, Massachusetts. The river was formerly known as Paquag or Baquag, a Nipmuc word meaning "clear water".

The last 9.2 miles from the center of the town of Erving to the Connecticut River are used for whitewater rafting and kayaking.
A section up river known as Millers River Blue Trail is popular with flatwater racers.


Total Length: 50.5 miles 
         The miles are numbered from the mouth of the river where it meets the Connecticuit River to headwaters at Wallace Pond.  You may find several other values given for the length of the Millers River but know that we carefully measured and re-measured the length of the river using the USGS Map tool TOPO developed by National Geographic and found the a length of the river exactly as reported above.  
      The upper branches are not easily paddled and have not been described below.  Anyone wanting to contribute or comment on this can use our contact page.

Access Points
        We have carefully cataloged each access point and significant location.  There are many more locations that can be used but the list matchs up with the usable reaches described below.
Millers River Dams
          There are 11 dams on the Millers River, owned by ???


 Wallace Pond Dam
 Lake Watatic Dam
 Lower Naukeag Lake Dam
 Whitney Pond Dam
 Tannery Pond Dam
 Old Winchendon Dam
 Birch Hill Dam, Royalston
  Old Dam, Athol
 Cresent Street, Athol
 South Main Street, Orange
 Erving Paper Diversion

Access Points
2018 River Rat Race
        We have broken down the river into 7 reaches numbered from the headwaters to the mouth.  Each reach has a map with put-in and take-out positions, description, length, difficulty, and information as appropriate.
Rindge State Road, Ashburnham to   Lake Watatic Dam, Ashburnham
Lake Watatic Dam, Ashburnham  to   Tannery Pond Dam, Winchendon
Tannery Pond Dam, Winchendon to   Birch Hill Dam, Royalston
Birch Hill Dam, Royalston               to   Cresent Street Dam, Athol
Cresent Street Dam, Athol              to   South Main Street Dam, Orange
South Main Street Dam, Orange   to   Arch Street Bridge, Erving
Arch Street Bridge, Erving               to   the Mouth of the River, Millers Falls
Athol to Orange River Rat Race
      This is a flatwater race with canoes only.  Below are some of the rules:
  1. Canoes must be of a conventional type open construction design with no coverings from front to rear and in good shape. No sculls, Kayaks or Olympic type racing canoes are allowed. canoes must not be over 18 feet in length.
  2. Front and back of canoes must be higher than the middle. Canoes shall be .14375 Xlength, which shall equal the minimum width 4" above the keel at the canoe's maximum width. Canoes must not be over 18 feet in length. Center depth shall not be less than 11 1/2". No canoes over 18 feet will be allowed.
  3. Life jackets must be worn. (as designed) during actual race and practice runs No Co2 vests or belts allowed.
  4. Canoes must have sufficient flotation and safety lines. (6-8 feet long) must be attached to and stored in both bow and stern to aid in recovery.
  5. Canoes must be propelled by single blade paddles only, no motorized or battery operated bailing devices allowed.
  6. Canoes No portages allowed. Contestants must follow natural flow of river.
  7. The Official Judges reserve the right to make all final decisions in regard to any part of the race.
  8. 8. Anyone under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian to enter and as their partner.

        To learn more go to the official website of the annual Athol to Orange River Rat Race by clicking below:
River Rat Race
Millers River Watershed Council
         Since its beginnings in the 1960s, MRWC has served as “the eyes and ears” of the watershed. MRWC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the lands and waters of the watershed for the benefit of all its inhabitants, human  and wild. MRWC educates area residents about local watershed issues and works in all areas and tributaries within the basin.
      MRWC organizes a variety of volunteer activities to engage the public in stewardship, monitoring, and river protection. MRWC also sponsors river discovery through paddling trips and Blue Trails.
       MRWC works collaboratively with state, federal, municipal , local business, and conservation groups to formulate and implement watershed friendly policies.
      MRWC has the goal of helping people discover what makes the Millers River and its tributaries a natural treasure, one you can enjoy and help protect. MRWC welcomes your input.  For more information click below:
Millers River Watershed Council
         A blue trail (also known as blueway or water trail) is a dedicated stretch of river that enjoys special clean water safeguards and is a destination for fishing, boating and other recreation. Just as hiking trails are designed to help people explore the land, blue trails help people discover rivers. Blue trails provide a fun, exciting way to get kids outdoors, connect communities to treasured landscapes, and are economic drivers benefiting local businesses and quality of life.
      In the summer of 2011, MRWC inaugurated the first segment of the Millers River Blue Trail (MRBT), which runs between Cass Meadow in Athol and River Front Park in Orange. A Blue Trail Guide with map and information on points of interest was created. This six-mile Blue Trail offers a relaxed paddling opportunity on flatwater–great for families and people of all ages.
           SEE REACH #5 BELOW 
For more information click below: