For Immediate Release - April 29, 2011

Celebrate Wetlands and Rivers Months with Events Across Massachusetts in May and June

BOSTON - April 29, 2011 - As warmer spring weather draws outdoor enthusiasts to the Commonwealth's waterways, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) today announced its springtime calendar marking May and June as "Massachusetts Rivers and Wetlands Months" with outdoor events across the state.

The 2011 Massachusetts Rivers and Wetlands Months Calendar contains detailed information and links to more than 180 events in, along or about the rivers and wetlands of Massachusetts. Upcoming events include kayaking trips, riverside picnics, canoe races, birding in salt marshes, fly fishing instruction, river cleanups, overnight camping trips, and nature hikes.

"Now is the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy activities like bird watching, fishing and hiking along Massachusetts' many scenic inland and coastal marshes, rivers, and streams," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

"This calendar provides one-stop shopping for interesting and fun outdoor events to celebrate and protect wetlands and rivers throughout the Commonwealth," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "Wetlands and rivers are extremely important to Massachusetts' environment and economy, and we encourage people to get out and enjoy our spectacular natural resources and to take part in conserving and restoring them."

The DFG's Division of Ecological Restoration first published the calendar in 1988 to honor state and national recognition of May as Wetlands Month and June as Rivers Month. The events listed are designed to appeal to everyone from families with small children to adult whitewater enthusiasts. A sampling of activities and locations covered in the calendar, scheduled through July 4, include:

  • urban whitewater rafting on the Concord River in Lowell;
  • paddle trips on coastal creeks such as the Westport River in Westport, where changing tides enable boaters to paddle with the current in both directions;
  • whitewater and flatwater paddling, including Chinese-style Dragon Boat Races on the Charles River;
  • family-friendly river festivals along the Deerfield River in Charlemont, the Merrimack River in Lawrence and in the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord Rivers watershed;
  • hikes along rivers and streams to see Native American hunting sites in Andover or migrating birds in Saugus or Milton; and
  • moonlight paddles and overnight camping trips along the Connecticut, Town, and Charles Rivers and on Sengekontacket Pond on Martha's Vineyard.

"We're happy to highlight the great work our partners are doing to raise public awareness about why rivers and wetlands are a cherished piece of Massachusetts' environment," said DER's Acting Director Tim Purinton. "We encourage the public to invite their friends and family to clean up, paddle, protect, and enjoy our rivers, streams, and wetlands."

The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration is to restore and protect the health and integrity of the Commonwealth's rivers, wetlands, and watersheds for the benefit of people, fish, and wildlife.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.