As a result of the imminent bridge replacement on Depot Street in Monroe Bridge, it will not be possible to cross the bridge to access the Dryway put-in on the Rowe side, either by vehicle or on foot, during this summer boating season. We can continue to access the put-in from the Rowe side, however, there is a long shuttle around past Zoar Gap to reach the Dunbar Brook picnic area.
We have been reaching out to TransCanada, MassDOT, Monroe and Rowe to find the best solution to the problem, and we are asking for your help in order to avoid what could be a potentially chaotic situation this year. For those who plan to access the put-in from the Rowe side, Mass DOT has assured us that there will still be access to the stairs during each of the release days. We are asking boaters to avoid speeding through the settlements on the way.
For those who plan to access the river from the Monroe side, we have worked out another solution for the construction period with the help of TransCanada. We are asking boaters, for this season, to use the old put-in that we used during the original construction of the dam. This is a trail that begins across the street from where the canal first appears, just south of the town of Monroe. It follows the underground penstock for a couple hundred yards to another trail that drops down to the river. It worked well previously. While we’ll miss the first rapid, it will save a long shuttle run. Boaters should exercise care in using this trail. Please avoid using other access points in Monroe.
The challenge with the old put-in is parking. We are asking that boaters use the put-in mainly for boat drop-off, as parking will be very limited. Signs will be posted directing boaters to park only below the trail access point, avoiding parking on the private property north of the trail access (closer to Monroe). Please drop off your boats then use the Dunbar Brook parking area to change clothes. We can then car-pool back to the put-in. The trailhead will be marked for drop-off only, although a few cars can be parked south of the trailhead on TransCanada land. TransCanada has agreed to place a portable toilet at this access point, and we are asking boaters to use designated facilities, either there or at the Dunbar Brook Picnic Area.
We are urging the boating community to be respectful of the people of Monroe, Rowe, Charlemont and Florida. Residents do not appreciate boaters speeding through their communities, obstructing traffic, littering, and relieving themselves in public. Maintaining good relationships with these communities is essential to maintain our access to whitewater rivers, both on the Deerfield and elsewhere in the region. We each need to take responsibility for ourselves and our fellow boaters, on the roads, at the access points, as well as on and along the river.
Thank you for your help.
Tom Christopher, New England FLOW
Bob Nasdor, American Whitewater
Julia Khorana, Appalachian Mountain Club