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birdhouse Nature Trails, Science Centers and Environmental Facilities
Located at or near FirstLight Power Resources' facilities are numerous opportunities for the general public and school groups to enjoy nature and learn about their environment. These include nature trails, information and science centers, and recreational facilities in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Connecticut - Tours, Science & Recreational Centers

Nature Trails
Nature Trails and Shepaug Eagle Viewing Area Along the Housatonic River. Discover the natural and cultural history along the Housatonic River at our nature trails.

Housatonic River Nature Trails/Shepaug Eagle Viewing Facility
Falls Village Nature Trail
Falls Village, CT

The People Shaping the Landscape Trail is located in Falls Village, Connecticut, and meanders through forests and fields and traces the story of a land rich in history from the Native Americans' use of the Housatonic River for food and transportation to the glorious vision and instant failure of an industrial canal system. Across the river is a second nature trail, the Falls Village Historical Trail, which describes the old industrial uses of the land including a Civil War cannon factory and a railroad repair shop.

Falls Village Station Nature Trail
Route 7, Falls Village, CT

The 3/4-mile loop in the beautiful northwest corner of Connecticut meanders through the forest and fields. Along the way, post markers and a trail guide point out how the landscape changed from virgin oak, pine, and hemlock to logged-over land where a booming iron industry arose in the 18th century, requiring huge amounts of wood to make charcoal for smelters and forges. The stone ruins of a never-used dike and canal system from that era can also be seen, as well as signs of reforestation once previous land uses were abandoned.
Directions: From Route 7 South turn right at the blinking light at the junction of Route 126 North.
From Route 7 North turn left at the blinking light at the junction of Route 126 North. Proceed straight on Route 126 for 1/2 mile and turn left at the stop sign. Bear right immediately onto Water Street. The parking lot is on the left.

Contact: Gary Smolen, FirstLight Power Resources

Nature Trail

Candlewood Lake Nature Trail
New Milford, CT

The Lakeside Trail traces changes in the lake and forest around Candlewood Lake. From the geologic history of the rocks to the creation of the beautiful lake, change is an integral part of Dike Point. This one-mile self-guiding trail will introduce you to the ecology of a forest and lake and is open from 8 a.m. to sunset from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Candlewood Lake Nature Trail Dike Point
Route 7, New Milford, CT

Candlewood Lake, the largest man-made lake in Connecticut, covers eight square miles and is the reservoir for the Rocky River hydroelectric station in New Milford. Dike Point Recreation Area, located on Candlewood Lake, offers canoe and small boat access, a picnic area, and a nature trail along the lake. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

A 3/4-mile loop, this lakeside trail meanders along the eastern shoreline of Candlewood Lake and returns through the cool, shaded forest. The trail emphasizes change over time and examines the picturesque landscape of the area: its geology, the succession of vegetation covers, the creation of soil and altered environment due to the creation of a man-made lake. Recent evidence of people living along the shore is also examined.

Directions:
From Route 7 North, 3.8 miles north of the junction of Route 25 South, turn left at the stoplight onto Sullivan Road.
From Route 7 South, 2.8 miles south of the junction of Route 202, turn right at stoplight onto Sullivan Road. Take an immediate right after .1 mile onto Old Town Park Road and proceed straight for .7 mile. The parking lot is on the left.

Contact: Gary Smolen, FirstLight Power Resources

Shepaug Dam Eagle Viewing Facility
River Road, Southbury, CT

The environment in the vicinity of this station, the largest hydroelectric station in Connecticut, provides a unique habitat for wildlife and is an important winter (December through March) feeding site for bald eagles. The movement of water below the dam prevents it from freezing and provides an abundance of fish upon which the eagles may feed. Reservations for an opportunity to visit the Eagle Observation Area must be made by calling (800) 368-8954. There are restrictions placed on the number of visitors allowed at one time. This area is only open on specific dates from December to March. Call the reservation number for details.

For more information:
Shepaug Hydroelectric Station
River Road, Southbury, CT

Eagle Viewing Facility: Winter - The environment in the vicinity of this station, the largest hydroelectric station in Connecticut, provides a unique habitat for wildlife and is an important winter (December through March) feeding site for bald eagles. The movement of water below the dam prevents ice from forming so there's always access to an abundance of fish upon which the eagles may feed. Reservations for a visit to the controlled Eagle Observation Area are required; call 1-800-368-8954. There are restrictions placed on the number of visitors allowed at one time. This area is open only on specific dates from December to March. Tours of the station are available year-round for people 12 and older by prior arrangement. Call 1-800-286-5000 and ask for Norwalk extension 3463.

Directions: From Westbound I-84, take Exit 14 (Route 172). Turn right off exit ramp and left at stoplight. Proceed straight for 1 mile, turn left over high and immediately right onto Fish Rock Road for .6 mile. From Eastbound I-84, take Exit 13 (River Road). Turn right off exit ramp. Both routes now merge, and you should keep right on River Road and continue for 3.2 miles to the Shepaug Recreation Area. The river will be on your left.
Nature Trail

Shepaug Dam Nature Trail: The area is open for summer picnicing and fishing from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and a nature trail with the theme Wildlife and Woodlore is available.

For more information:
Shepaug Hydroelectric Station
River Road, Southbury, CT

Nature Trail: Summer - This same area during the summer offers picnicing, fishing access, and a nature trail. It is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Directions: From Westbound I-84, take Exit 14 (Route 172). Turn right off exit ramp and left at stoplight. Proceed straight for 1 mile, turn left over high and immediately right onto Fish Rock Road for .6 mile. From Eastbound I-84, take Exit 13 (River Road). Turn right off exit ramp. Both routes now merge, and you should keep right on River Road and continue for 3.2 miles to the Shepaug Recreation Area. The river will be on your left.


Massachusetts - Tours, Science & Recreational Centers

Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center
99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA 01360
1-800-859-2960 or 413-659-3714

Environmental programs and recreation programs, guided nature walks, cross-country skiing and lessons, narrated interpretative riverboat tours, canoeing, camping, hiking and more.

Turners Falls Fishway
Turners Falls, MA

Fishways

Open Wednesday through Sunday,
9:00 am 5:00 pm from mid-May to June.

Free admission, no reservations required.

For school program reservations,
call 413-659-3714 or 1-800-859-2960.


Underwater viewing windows offer visitors of all ages a chance to see American shad, sea lamprey and other migratory fish during their upriver spring journey to spawn.

Directions:

Traveling south or north on Rte. 91, take exit 27 for Rte. 2 east (Greenfield/Boston). Take a right at the second light and go over the bridge. Turn left onto First Street. The fishway is on your left.

Traveling west on Rte. 2, travel 9 miles beyond Erving Center and turn left at the first light. Go over the bridge and turn left onto First Street. The fishway is on your left.

Please see the fishways brochure  (PDF: 134KB) for more information on spring viewing of migrating fish at FirstLight Power's Turners Falls Fishway in Turners Falls, and Holyoke Gas and Electric's Robert E. Barrett Fishway in Holyoke.

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