A blue trail (also known as blueway or water trail) is a dedicated stretch of river that enjoys special clean water safeguards and is a destination for fishing, boating and other recreation. Just as hiking trails are designed to help people explore the land, blue trails help people discover rivers. Blue trails provide a fun, exciting way to get kids outdoors, connect communities to treasured landscapes, and are economic drivers benefiting local businesses and quality of life.
In the summer of 2011, MRWC inaugurated the first segment of the Millers River Blue Trail (MRBT), which runs between Cass Meadow in Athol and River Front Park in Orange. A Blue Trail Guide with map and information on points of interest was created. This six-mile Blue Trail offers a relaxed paddling opportunity on flatwater–great for families and people of all ages. Where to get the Map: locations.
There are many things to discover along the Blue Trail:
Natural History – River terraces, ancient Lake Orange, oxbows…
Human History – Native Americans, riverfront fun parks, swinging footbridge…
Wildlife – Otter, Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies), birds, fish, tracking…
See what you can find!
River Flow information: USGS
MRWC has also posted trail signs and select “points of interest” markers along the trail to identify paddling launches, “paddle stops” and POI. Paddle Stops are locations where paddlers can pull up on shore and take a break, relax. Be sure to stay near the site and practice “leave no trace” principles. Points of Interest are noted on the map in yellow dots, these highlight places of historic or natural significance.
A primitive paddling launch has been established along Plant Rd, off Rt 101, in East Templeton. This will permit paddlers to go upstream, south, towards the Otter River Conservation Area in Gardner. This area is a rustic paddle through a marsh and is flat water. Be prepared to carry over beaver dams along the way. The paddle is a fine opportunity to do wildlife viewing. MRWC will be continuing to improve access in this area.
Plant Road paddlers access along the Otter River opened for 2014. Volunteers reinstalled the access ShoreMax mats at the Plant Rd put-in along the Otter River Blue Trail. The mats help paddlers put their boats in the water without “sinking” into the mud. Mats will be in place till the late fall of 2014.