Last spring, Hilltown Land Trust protected the popular Historic Dam Trail in Williamsburg! This 1.5-mile wooded trail ends at the ruins of the dam whose breach on May 16, 1874 caused the Mill River Flood disaster.
This trail was established in 2016 by Williamsburg Woodland Trails (WWT), but had no formal protection until now. The easement, held by HLT, protects this trail for public recreation for the next 10 years.
Trailside signs installed by the WWT tell the story of the building and breaching of the dam, and of the disaster that followed, claiming 139 lives and destroying many buildings in the towns and villages along the Mill River. The informative signs allow visitors to take a self-guided history walk as they enjoy the woodland trail. A small parking area is located at the trailhead on the east side of Ashfield Road, just south of Judd Lane.
HLT conserved the trail with a trail easement as part of the Voluntary Public Access Program, an initiative which seeks to create more publicly-accessible areas on privately-held land. HLT previously protected the Big View Trail as part of the same program.
We were very excited to work with our partners Franklin Land Trust and the WWT as well as landowners Bethany and Will Ouimet, Lorraine Barrack, and the Northampton Water Department to protect this historic trail for public enjoyment.
To learn more about the trail and view a map, please visit the Historic Dam Trail page on this website. If you visit the trail, or any of our properties, we would love to hear about your experience! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.