Blessed with two major recreational rivers, the Housatonic and the Farmington, and over 9,000 surface acres of lakes and spring-fed ponds, the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut are overflowing with spring fun on the water. Melting snow that makes rivers run high means prime time for whitewater challenge and sunny spring days are just right for a peaceful paddle on a sun-dappled river.
The Housatonic Valley Association has just published a free Connecticut Paddling Guide of nine navigable sections of the Housatonic River with 29 access sites starting from Ashley Falls, Mass. and going to Stratford, Connecticut.
The Guide provides detailed maps and easy to read directions. Descriptions of each section of the river include distance, the type of water flow, landmarks, and tributaries entering the section and warnings where necessary. Other sections of the guide have information on the river’s history, its health, and plant and wildlife species found along the river. The guide also includes tips on boating safety and guarding against spreading invasive aquatic species.
Notes on specific wildlife, recreational areas, historic sites, other pertinent information as well as photos and illustrations are sprinkled throughout the sections. It is printed on water-resistant paper in two colors with a full color cover and some full color spread throughout the pages.
The guides are available at HVA in Cornwall Bridge; Connecticut Outdoors, LLC, Oakville; Clarke Outdoors, West Cornwall; Main Stream Outfitters, Harwinton and The Trading Post, New Milford. The guide and the Berkshire version may also be downloaded at www.hvatoday.org. For area information visit www.litchfieldhills.com.
This free guide is made possible by generous grants from the Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, the Iroquois Gas Transmission System, Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, Connecticut Light and Power, Connecticut Community Foundation and Kent School.
About Housatonic Valley Association
HVA, a tri-state nonprofit citizen’s environmental group founded in 1941, works to conserve the natural character and environmental health of its communities by protecting and restoring the land and waters of the 2,000-square-mile Housatonic watershed from its source in the Pittsfield, Massachusetts area to Long Island Sound. HVA is monitoring water quality, adding sections to the Housatonic RiverBelt Greenway (linking preserved space along the Housatonic River with hiking and biking trails), and is using computer mapping to help towns measure the impact and benefits of land use and development. In addition to its Cornwall Bridge office, HVA has offices in South Lee, Massachusetts and Wassaic, New York.
More information and a copy of this guide can be obtained by contacting HVA at www.hvatoday.org.
About the Author: Janet Serra is the executive director of the Western CT Convention and Visitors Bureau.