- Department of Fish and Game
- Office of Fishing and Boating Access
Media Contact for Connecticut River Boat Access Facilities to Reopen After Floods
Danielle Burney, Deputy Communications Director
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game today announced that six of the seven state boat access facilities on the Connecticut River are now open to the public. The facilities were closed on July 12 due to extremely high-water levels and unsafe conditions on the river caused by flooding and subsequent large rainstorms in the following weeks.
“The Connecticut River is a fantastic natural and recreational resource, and we are happy that recreational boaters, anglers, and others can get back on the water during the height of the fishing and boating season,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Tom O’Shea. “Providing safe and equitable public access is a priority for us. We remind boaters to be especially careful on the Connecticut River as the recent flooding has considerably changed the conditions of the river.”
“Flooding in the Connecticut River in July has significantly increased hazards in the river, including trash and other debris, trees, docks, submerged vessels, rocks, and sand bars,” said Massachusetts Environmental Police Colonel Shaun Santos. “While the boating access facilities are now safe to reopen, we still advise mariners to be extremely cautious on the water, as there are also significant changes to channels, landmarks, river currents, and bank erosion.”
Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) advise mariners of significant changes to navigable waters, channels, landmarks, ramps, and marinas. Boaters should use extreme caution and safe operational speeds while relearning the navigable waters of the Connecticut River. Boat operators should also be aware of vessel and debris salvage operations that may affect navigation. Please use particular caution when navigating around the Norwottuck Rail Trail Bridge due to strong currents and large amounts of debris collected at the base of the bridge.
MEP and other members of the Connecticut River Task Force—including state police, local police, and the Coast Guard—will be on the river to enforce boating safety rules and help ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience for the public.
DFG’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) manages boat access areas on the Connecticut River in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and local municipalities. The City of Chicopee manages the Medina Street access site, and the Town of Sunderland manages the facility in Sunderland. Facilities in Northfield, Gill, Hatfield, Easthampton, and the Syrek Street boat access in Chicopee are managed by DCR. The Northfield facility will remain closed until more cleanup of sediment and debris is completed.
FBA removed trees and other obstructions from all sites and has temporarily stockpiled sediment in parking areas with erosion control barriers in place. The sediment will need to be tested for contaminants prior to off-site disposal in the coming weeks.
“The flooding of the river brought significant sediment buildup, downed trees, and other debris to the boat ramps and parking lots,” said DFG Office of Fishing and Boating Access Director Doug Cameron. “The series of rainstorms in the weeks following the initial flooding contributed to continued high water at the boat ramps that made it impossible to fully assess facility conditions and substantially complete cleanup until last week.”
FBA manages more than 300 boat ramps, cartop access areas, recreational sportfishing piers, and shore fishing areas in Massachusetts. See here for a map of all sites and directions.
The Department of Fish and Game 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.