- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Announces Redesign of Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams
Ilyse Wolberg, DCR Press Secretary
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced that the agency will begin construction this spring at Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams as part of a redesign plan that will span several years.
The project is expected to begin this month and will take place over three phases with the initial work focusing on the removal of existing infrastructure, including structures on and over the chasm, to address safety concerns. The next phases will include designing, planning, and installation of new infrastructure that meets current safety requirements. The design and planning phases of the project will include a process for engaging with the public and stakeholders. This project will improve safety and accessibility to enhance visitor experiences and make better use of the many natural and cultural features of the park.
“Natural Bridge State Park is a great example of the beautiful natural resources the Commonwealth has to offer,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “The construction starting this spring will ensure that DCR can provide visitors to Natural Bridge State Park with a safe and fun experience.”
Natural Bridge State Park’s namesake natural white arch is made of 550-million-year-old bedrock marble that was carved into shape by the forces of glacial melt over 13,000 years ago. The bridge spans the bubbling Hudson Brook as it runs through a steep 60-foot gorge, one of the best demonstrations of glacial erosion in New England. Natural Bridge State Park contains a marble quarry, glacial “potholes,” and North America’s only white marble dam, built in 1838. This dam was first used to supply water to an industrial quarry mill that operated from 1810 to 1947 when the mill was destroyed in a fire.
From 1950 to 1983 the site of the park was privately owned and operated as a tourist attraction off the Mohawk Trail. During this time, boardwalks allowed visitors to view the chasm. In 1985 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the property to create a state park now known as Natural Bridge State Park, after the main natural feature of the area.
“I am most pleased that DCR is making this investment to supplement the earmark that I secured in last year's budget to revitalize and preserve this natural treasure,” said Rep. John Barrett III (D-Berkshire).
“The redesign of Natural Bridge State Park to modernize and improve infrastructure will allow more people to enjoy this wonderful natural resource for many years to come,” said Senator Paul Mark (D-Berkshire). “Every investment that is made to attract people to visit the Berkshires pays back dividends tenfold over time and also allows for our local residents to enjoy the beauty of this region we love so much. I am grateful to DCR and the Healey-Driscoll Administration for their partnership in stewardship of our local state parks."
Due to safety concerns, in the spring of 2022 DCR restricted access to older, hazardous structures from the chasm area, which will be fully removed this spring. Natural Bridge State Park will remain open to the public seasonally, from May to October, throughout the duration of the construction work. Access to certain areas of the park may be limited where construction will be taking place. The pedestrian bridge over the chasm with a view of the marble dam is accessible, as well as other areas with views of blast rock, marble quarry, and other natural and cultural features. Additionally, walking trails, the Visitor’s Center, and picnic areas will remain open.