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Housatonic River Reach 11

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Last Updated: 9/2017
STATISTICS
 
Skill Level:            Class 1 (& 2 in spring flood)
Estimated Time:    2.3 hours
Distance:               6.4 miles
USGS Map: Great Barrington, MA  and Ashley Falls, MA (7.5’x15’)
Bridge Street Bridge to Sheffield Covered Bridge
 
Description 
             Remember to steer clear of any blow down trees as they can pin you and drag you under if you are not careful. 
 
Bridge Street Bridge to Brookside Road Bridge (mile 101.8)
             The river travels straight passing homes and buildings on the left side.  This gives way to trees along grassy fields with an occasional dead end side passage in the river.
              There are blow down trees and near the fairgrounds there where a large jam is still visible.  Take this jam wide and be very careful not to get pinned against it.  It could drag a person under if the boat capsizes.  Most of this area was hit by the Memorial Day Tornado of 1995.  If you look up at the mountains to the east you can see a large area that is rock and open.  See below for details.
          At Brookside Road Bridge, there is a Canoe Access point set up by the state.  This is an alternate put-in/take-out.
 
Tornado in Great Barrington, MA
​May 29, 1995
       Violent (F4 and F5) tornadoes are relatively rare in the northeast United States, but they do occur. The most recent occurred last Memorial Day when an F2 tornado ripped across Columbia County, New York. The tornado lifted as it approached the Massachusetts border. A short while later, an F3 to F4 tornado caused major damage across southern Berkshire County, Massachusetts. (From Albany News Report) 
       A strong tornado (with a damage classification of F3-F4) touched down near Prospect Lake in North Egremont at 7:06 PM and moved east at 40 mph, crossing into Great Barrington, then Monterey. The last damage occurred near Morley Hill in Sandisfield at 7:24 PM. Officially, the track was from 1 mile SE of North Egremont to 1.5 miles SW of West Otis.
        Three people were killed as their car was lifted several hundred feet in the air, then dropped into a wooded hillside. Twenty-four people were injured, many from flying glass. Approximately 75 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Estimated damage figures were about $25 million. The local fairgrounds and a gas station were destroyed. A truck smashed into a supermarket causing a large hole in the building. A nursing home lost its roof. Debris was carried more than 45 miles to the northeast in Belchertown, where a fairgrounds racing ticket was found, along with white corrugated plastic roofing material.
     The Doppler radar in Taunton clearly detected this strong tornado circulation from more than 105 miles away! Incidentally, ANOTHER tornado was occurring in Connecticut at the same time as the one in Great Barrington. It moved across South Britain and Southbury from 7:23-7:35 PM. Its damage classification was F1 and costs were estimated at $10,000. (from NOAA news report)
Read More!
Early American History
A Little Great Barrington History at Bridge Street

     Talcott and his troops were the first Europeans in this part of the country. In actuality, they had had chased 200 Indians from Westfield to this spot. Talcott and his men killed 20 and imprisoned another 25 more.
Read a more complete history in the book:
Henry Knox and the Revolutionary War Trail in Western Massachusetts
By Bernard A. Drew
Bridge Street Bridge - Mile 107.9
Position: 42-15.00 N 73-21.82 W
Boat Launch:
This put-in take-out is roadside next to the old Searles Middle School.
Nearest Launch Address: 
115 Bridge St, Great Barrington, MA 01230
Take-Out Directions (12.1 miles, 20 minutes)
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. After the tollbooths, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 4.7, turn left on Route 7 South with the Red Lion Inn on the corner.
  3. Pass Mounument Mountain Regional High School on your left.  Continue downhill south on Route 7 South past shopping plaza on left and many other stores.  
  4. At mile 11.3, Route 7 South crosses the river and turns left at a stop light onto Main Street.
  5. At mile 11.9, turn left onto Bridge Street.
  6. At mile 12.1, the put-in is on your left just before the steel bridge that crosses the river. The brick building is the old Searles Middle School.
A small trail leads from the parking area along the river.
Brookside Road Bridge to Kellogg Road Bridge (mile 99.9)
        This 1.9 mile stretch is a easy paddle.  You might see occasional traffic on East Sheffield Road will be on your left.  The Appalachian Trail crosses the Kellog Road Bridge on its way to Maine.  It is possible to use this as a take-out area but it is not as convient as the other access points.
 
Kellogg Road Bridge to Sheffield Covered Bridge (97.2)
        This last stretch of 2.7 miles is also an easy paddle.  At mile 97.9 there is a rest area with picnic tables on Route 7 that can be accessed from the river through some brush.
           When you see the the gray covered bridge, keep to the right so you are ready for the take-out.
Sheffield Covered Bridge - 97.2
Position: 42-07.41 N 73-21.29 W 
Boat Launch:
There is parking for at least 10 vehicles.  Only car top launch.
Nearest Launch Address:
Covered Bridge Ln, Sheffield, MA 01257
Put-In Directions (17.1 miles, 26 minutes):
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. After the tollbooths, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. In the middle of Stockbridge, at mile 4.7, turn left on Route 7 South with the Red Lion Inn on the corner.
  3. Pass Mounument Mountain Regional High School on your left.  Continue downhill south on Route 7.
  4. At mile 11.3, Route 7 South crosses the river and turns left at a stop light onto Main Street.
  5. Follow Route 7 South through Great Barrington and south into Sheffield.
  6. At mile 16.9, turn left onto Covered Bridge Lane. Just before this turn is The Bridge restaurant on your left.
  7. At mile 17.1, turn right into the gravel parking area just before the gray covered bridge.
Sheffield Covered Bridge
A stairway leads from the parking to the Put-In/Take-Out
Plenty of Parking available
Brookside Road Bridge - Mile 101.8 (Alternate Put-In Take-Out)
Position: 42-10.57 N 73-21.55 W
Boat Launch:
Just before the steel bridge on your left is a Canoe Access sign.  Pull in there to a gravel parking area for about 6 vehicles.  Car top only launch.
Nearest Launch Address: 
130 Brookside Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230
Take-Out Directions (13.3 miles, 23 minutes)
From Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. After the tollbooths, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 20 West then left again onto Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.​​
  2. At mile 4.7, turn left on Route 7 South with the Red Lion Inn on the corner.
  3. Pass Mounument Mountain Regional High School on your left.  Continue downhill south on Route 7 South past shopping plaza on left and many other stores.  
  4. At mile 11.3, Route 7 South crosses the river and turns left at a stop light onto Main Street.
  5. At mile 13.2, turn left onto Brookside Rd.
  6. At mile 13.3, the put-in is on your left just before the steel bridge that crosses the river. There is a Canoe Access sign.

The gravel entrance off Brookside Road
Park and take the small trail to the Put-In/Take-Out