Blackstone River Bikeway Blasts, May 9

The ride started out gray , overcast and dreary – wasn’t looking too great for a bike ride . However, as the afternoon went on the sun eventually came out just in time to warm us a bit on our bikes and provide a spectacular pink and gold sunset after the bike ride.  Wildlife abounded, muskrats, mallards and a blue heron – Oh My!  We also learned many interesting things from Mark Dennen , especially about the rock formations along the way.

Woonsocket is the start of next week’s Bikeway Patrol ride. As you pull in to the driveway for the bikeway, notice the veteran’s monument and the old smokestack from the Glendale Mill. The land once owned by them has been repurposed into soccer fields and a mini golf course. We will be riding to Manville where you can find a kayak/canoe launch to the Blackstone River at Sycamore landing. Friends of the Blackstone claim this as their landing spot and will be having a monthly meeting at the environmental center there.  Come join us as we explore the history and current events happening in this vibrant wooded corridor!

BHC Gears Up to Celebrate National Bike Month in May

Press Release
Contact: Megan DiPrete,

Executive Director
BHC Gears Up to Celebrate National Bike Month in May
Festivities Include Bike Rack and Repair Station Installations and Launch of Bikeway Patrol Rides

Whitinsville, MA (May 12, 2017) – Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) is celebrating National Bike Month in May with a series of bike rack and repair station installations and the launch of its Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol, which offers group rides with the public as well as information and assistance along the Bikeway.
Beginning this month, a total of 58 bicycle racks will be installed in the Massachusetts communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Leicester, Millville, Upton and Uxbridge. In addition, Fix It bicycle repair stations will be installed in Auburn, Grafton and Leicester. These racks and repair stations were made available through a state grant. Douglas is the first community to report having them installed in downtown areas, near the Library, near the town offices and at local recreation fields.

A special cycling repair station and exhibit in Worcester will be unveiled at a public event on Tuesday, May 30 at 11:00 a.m. along the Blackstone River Bikeway in Worcester in the parking lot across from 1265 Millbury Street. This location is near the future site of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center @ Worcester (scheduled to open late summer, 2018).
According to Devon Kurtz, Director of Audience Engagement at BHC, the cycling repair station provides basic tools, a tire pump and advice on prepping your bike for a safe ride. This special exhibit and repair station is supported in part by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the National Park Service.
“The colorful exhibit is created from 2-inch COR-TEN steel and uses evocative images to explore the history of biking in the Worcester area since the late 1800s,” Kurtz noted. “The coolest feature is a life-size silhouette of a cyclist on a high wheel bike who may spring to life during the unveiling!”
Meanwhile, BHC’s Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol kicked off its riding season earlier this month riding the new Blackstone River Greenway, a 3.7 mile paved trail from Blackstone to S. Uxbridge, MA. The volunteer group will host weekly public rides on Wednesday evenings on bike trails throughout the National Heritage Corridor, departing at 6:30 p.m. from each location. Upcoming rides include May 17 at the Blackstone River Bikeway, riding from Woonsocket, RI, to Manville (Lincoln), RI; May 24 at the Burrillville Bike Path in Burrillville, RI, and May 31 at the Blackstone River Bikeway, riding from Millbury, MA, to Worcester, MA. In June, the Wednesday rides are scheduled for June 7 at the Blackstone River Bikeway, riding from Lonsdale (Lincoln), RI, to Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI; June 14 riding from Slater Mill to Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI. On June 21, the group ride will be along the Ten Mile River Greenway from Pawtucket, RI, to East Providence, RI, and on June 28 the ride will be along the Blackstone River Greenway from S. Uxbridge, MA, to Blackstone, MA. All rides are round-trip and helmets are required. For specific details and future dates, visit BHC’s website at or contact Suzanne Buchanan, BHC’s Volunteer Coordinator, at
About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.:
An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. partners with organizations, local communities, businesses and residents to ensure the long term vitality of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Learn more at

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Celebrates Its Volunteers

Contact: Megan DiPrete, Executive Director
Blackstone Heritage Corridor Celebrates Its Volunteers
Southwick’s Zoo Hosts Behind-the-Scenes Experience for BHC’s Volunteers-in-Parks


Whitinsville, MA (May 10, 2017)- Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) celebrated National Volunteer Week with its volunteers at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA, with a behind-the-scenes tour led by Betsey Brewer Bethel, executive director of Earth Limited at the zoo.
BHC manages the Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) program for the National Park Service and currently has 197 active volunteers. Over the past year, a total of 1,274 volunteers participated in the program, including single-day service events. In fiscal year 2016, volunteers served a total of 13,431 hours contributing a value of $316,440 in volunteer services to the organization. Since moving its office to Whitinsville, MA, from Woonsocket, RI, one year ago, BHC’s Volunteers-in-
Parks program has grown considerably, both in number of volunteers and new programs led by those volunteers.
One of the new volunteer-led programs is the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Trail Ambassadors. According to BHC’s Volunteer Coordinator, Suzanne Buchanan, this new program complements the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club, now in its 17th season, and the Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol, now in its sixth season. “We have had the good fortune of providing volunteer programs offering recreation on our rivers and our bikeways, and now we have one for our beautiful trails,” explained Buchanan. More than a dozen people responded to Buchanan’s call for interested VIP’s. A schedule of more than a dozen hikes, walks and events through the end of 2017 is still growing and is posted on the events page of BHC’s website.
Meanwhile, BHC’s Birding on the Blackstone series has expanded this year. First introduced by VIP Rosanne Sherry in 2016, the program grew once she met Beth and Paul Milke on one of her walks. Now the trio have worked out a schedule offering bird walks throughout the Corridor through June 4. Other new volunteers have come forward offering their skills in photography, graphic design, assisting with BHC’s Trash Responsibly™ program, and much more.
“Volunteers are the backbone of stewardship throughout the National Heritage Corridor and it’s a pleasure to watch BHC’s volunteer program grow and flourish,” noted Megan DiPrete, BHC’s new Executive Director. “There is certainly a range of new energy being directed in many exciting directions.”
The volunteer appreciation event also served as a time to recognize the VIPs for some milestones for their years of service in the program. Recognized for five years: Mark Dennen of Lincoln, RI, who volunteers with the Blackstone River Bikeway Patrol and is also certified to teach CPR and First Aid to BHC’s volunteers. Recognized for serving 15 years: Julie Riendeau of Harrisville, RI, who volunteers with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club and also brings the Junior Ranger program to area schools. Also serving 15 years, and with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club are Steve Riendeau of Harrisville, RI, Ben Thompson and Cheryl Thompson, both of N. Scituate, RI; Lee Parham of Norton, MA, and Robert Martin of Cumberland, RI. Keith Hainley of
Woonsocket, RI, and Judy Hadley of Lincoln, RI, have both served 15 years as members of the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone. Hainley serves as its environmental coordinator, leading cleanups along the Blackstone and the Rhode Island section of the Blackstone River watershed and Hadley serves on its board and creates public programming for the organization. Nancy Weigmont of Woonsocket, RI, and Robert Taylor, of N. Attleboro, MA, both reached their 15 year milestone and both volunteer at the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, RI. Kent Cameron of Warwick, RI, was also recognized for his 15 year volunteer milestone.
During BHC’s National Volunteer Week celebration, those recognized for volunteering for 20 years including Ethel Halsey of Harrisville, RI, Irene Blais of Woonsocket, RI, and Robert Charpentier of Harrisville, RI. Blais volunteers regularly at the Museum of Work and Culture and is president of the Woonsocket Historical Society and Charpentier has been a fixture with the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone and serves on its board.
To learn more about BHC’s volunteer program, attend the next Volunteer Open House on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Work and Culture, 42 S. Main Street, Woonsocket, RI, or call Suzanne Buchanan at (508) 234-4242. To learn more about BHC visit
About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.:
An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. partners with organizations, local communities, businesses and residents to ensure the long term vitality of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Learn more at

Request for Qualifications – Design of Exhibits for Worcester Visitor Center

Request for Qualifications – Design of Exhibits  – Click for Proposal PDF

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center at Worcester
May 2, 2017
BHC seeks qualifications from companies interested in developing content, fabricating and
installing exhibits for the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center @ Worcester, under
construction off McKeon Road, Worcester, MA.
Review Process:
BHC anticipates a swift review process. It is anticipated that contractors will be prequalified
by May 19, 2017 or sooner, that bidding will follow immediately thereafter, that a
bid will be accepted and a contract executed by approximately June 30, 2017.
Qualifications must be submitted in a single PDF document less than 5 MB. Submit
qualifications by email to Proposals are due no
later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday, May 15, 2017 All submissions will receive
an acknowledgement of submittal, generally within 24 hours, sent via “reply” to the

Uxbridge to Kick Off Blackstone Heritage Corridor Cleanup Season

Whitinsville, MA (March 13, 2017) – In preparation for the annual spring cleanup season, Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) reached out to each community within the National Heritage Corridor and has a couple of exciting new additions this year. For starters, the Town of Uxbridge is kicking off the 2017 cleanup season with a town-wide cleanup on Saturday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to Noon.

“The Uxbridge community came together very quickly on this one,” noted Bonnie Combs, Marketing Director at BHC, who also manages its Trash Responsibly™ program. “The Board of Health and DPW were very supportive, as well as Boy Scout Troop 25, Koopman Lumber, Premeer Real Estate, and First Night Uxbridge, Inc., which is providing free hot dogs to all volunteers. Premeer Real Estate is providing music and entertainment and is debuting its new Green Team, and Koopman Lumber has donated trash bags. The celebration starts and ends on the Town Common, in the heart of Uxbridge. Volunteers can register in advance and select a street at”

In preparation for its 350th Anniversary this year, the town of Mendon, MA, is hosting its community cleanup on Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to Noon, meeting at the Clough School. Volunteers will be treated to a free lunch, compliments of the Mendon Lions Club, and Southwick’s Zoo is giving volunteers a coupon for a free admission to the zoo. “The momentum is building in Mendon after last year’s cleanup where over 75 volunteers came out,” noted Combs. “We’re pleased to see such enthusiasm from the community to keep it clean.” Volunteers can register and select a street at

April 8 is also a busy day in Worcester, MA, where the Regional Environmental Council hosts its 28th Annual Earth Day Cleanup from 8 a.m. to Noon. According to organizers, this is a city-wide cleanup of parks, gardens, and neighborhoods involving more than 1,000 volunteers who will pick up more than 50 tons of trash at more than 60 locations throughout Worcester. The same day, the Ten Mile River Watershed Council is hosting its Earth Day Cleanup at Slater Park in Pawtucket, RI. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. and will disperse along the Ten Mile River. April 8 is also “Yellow Bag Day” in the Town of Cumberland, RI, and is presented by The Valley Breeze. Residents can pick up yellow trash bags ahead of time from The Valley Breeze office in Lincoln and the town collects the bags the following Monday… Click Here to continue reading full press release.

Little Red Shop Museum Completes Historical Archive

Press Release
Contact: Charlene Perkins Cutler, Executive Director

Hopedale Historical Commission Benefits from BHC Partnership Grant
Little Red Shop Museum Completes Historical Archive

Whitinsville, MA (March 8, 2017) – Important historical documents and artifacts in Hopedale, MA, have been successfully archived thanks to a Partnership Grant from Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC). The Grant was awarded to the Hopedale Historical Commission and allowed the Little Red Shop Museum to properly preserve a collection of artifacts, documents and photos.
“The proper cataloging and display of these important materials will help us to better tell Hopedale’s story,” explained Sue Ciaramicoli, curator at The Little Red Shop Museum. “This includes Hopedale’s role in the industrialization of America, and the town’s rich history told through the public lives of a number of prominent Hopedale families whose impact was felt far beyond Hopedale.”

An added benefit of the grant, Ciaramicoli noted, is that it helped create interest in the project from the community. “Many new partners and volunteers came forward which made a significant impact,” Ciaramicoli added. “We grew from a team of four to a team of 12 volunteers, and even more continue to join us.”

BHC provided $3,725 in grant funds and was matched by cash, in-kind donations and volunteer time. Funds from the BHC portion allowed for the purchase of archiving equipment and the storage of a loom which was removed from the Museum to allow more space for the cataloging project. The Grant helped cover storage fees until the loom could reach its final destination at the Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation (NCCHP) in Granville, MA. Local companies including Howe’s Welding and G&U Logistix helped with the trucking and logistics in addition to NCCHP.

According to Ciaramicoli, the temporary storage of the loom prevented it from being scrapped. “Now it is safely housed at NCCHP with the other six Draper power looms that were moved there in 2015. Collectively, they can continue to tell the story and link back to Hopedale.”
In addition to the need to scan photos and documents and catalogue them, a bookcase was needed to allow the Museum to properly store showcase important artifacts. E.W. Tarca Construction built and donated a custom bookcase.

“This grant was a catalyst,” Ciaramicoli remarked. “It brought life back to this museum and revitalized its mission. We are better able to tell the important story of Hopedale, which is why it was included in the new National Historical Park.”
The Hopedale Village Historic District was identified as one of the “nodes” of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. Established in 2014, the new Park will help preserve, protect and interpret the nationally significant resources that exemplify the industrial heritage of the Blackstone River Valley.

BHC Executive Director Charlene Perkins Cutler applauded the work. “While there is much work to do before the vision of the Park comes to life, BHC was pleased to provide Partnership Grant funding to the Hopedale Historical Commission to accomplish their important work, and assist Hopedale as it becomes part of the new National Historical Park.”
About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.:

An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. partners with organizations, local communities, businesses and residents to ensure the long term vitality of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Learn more at

Birding on the Blackstone

Press Release
Contact: Charlene Perkins Cutler, Executive Director

BHC Announces Bi-State “Birding on the Blackstone” Program

Volunteers will lead spring bird walks in MA and RI parks of the National Heritage Corridor
A flock of volunteers will lead a “Birding on the Blackstone” program this spring in parks in both the Massachusetts and Rhode Island portions of the National Heritage Corridor. Pictured here (left to right) are Paul Milke, Beth Milke and Rosanne Sherry.
Whitinsville, MA (March 8, 2017) – Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) announces a spring birding program that will take curious birders to parks in the National Heritage Corridor during the height of migration season.

The weekend bird walks will fall on Saturdays and Sundays between April 23 and June 4 and will run from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. The walks are led by BHC’s Volunteers-in-Parks program members Rosanne Sherry of N. Smithfield, RI, and Beth and Paul Milke of Uxbridge, MA. The three of them met during a bird walk program last fall and are collaborating on this new program and other events throughout the year.

Birding on the Blackstone kicks off on Sunday, April 23 along the Blackstone River Bikeway in Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, RI. The walk begins at the I-295 Visitors
Center in Lincoln and is led by Rosanne Sherry. Participants will watch for territorial activity and early nest building. On Saturday, April 29, Beth & Paul Milke lead a bird walk at River Bend Farm at the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA. The Milkes will take birders along the field and woodland edges of the farm looking for bird species that usually arrive in early spring such as Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Towhee and possibly Yellow-Rumped Warbler. On Sunday, April 30, Rosanne returns to the Blackstone River Bikeway in Lincoln, RI, when she expects migration and nesting will be in full swing. “Baltimore Orioles and Rose-Breasted Grosebeaks may be in the area,” she predicts. “We’ll likely see Red-Winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles fighting for territory in the marsh area under Route 295.”

On Sunday, May 7, Rosanne, Beth and Paul join together at the new Blackstone River Greenway, meeting at the Blackstone, MA, parking lot on Canal Street. This is the first official bird walk on the newly completed section of the Greenway. The trio will lead walkers to search for Bald Eagles, water birds, and song birds. On Sunday, May 21, Rosanne travels to a new location at the Ten Mile River Greenway in Pawtucket, RI, where birders will meet her at the parking lot by the Loof Carousel in Slater Park. According to Rosanne, the river is calm in this location and birders may see many Warblers and other land birds in the woodland and marshes. “We’ll look and listen for Common Yellowthroat, Carolina Wren and Eastern Bluebirds,” she notes. On Saturday, May 27, Rosanne, Beth and Paul meet up at River Bend Farm again in Uxbridge, MA, to take birders out to the fields where the trio expects participants will view Orioles, Flycatchers, Grosbeaks and Warblers. “There’s a chance we’ll also hear and see Black-billed Cuckoo and Indigo Bunting, too!” they announced.

On Saturday, June 3, the Milkes will take birders to West Hill Dam and Park in Uxbridge (518 E. Hartford Ave.). “The West Hill Park walk will take us from the top of the dam, over the river and through the woods to survey birds on the park’s reclaimed grassland,” Beth notes. “We’ll hope to find Prairie Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Towhee, and Field Sparrow. Warbling Vireos should be calling near the marsh where we’ll look for Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons.” The spring birding series concludes on Sunday, June 4, at the Blackstone River Bikeway in Lincoln, RI, with Rosanne, who predicts the walk may be quiet as birds nest or feed their young, but that the group will look for signs of productivity. “We will follow up on the Eastern Phoebe and the Northern Rough-Wing Swallow who nest near the foot bridges,” she points out. “American Robin and Gray Catbird nests may be spotted, and we may even see who is fishing in the river.”
According to Suzanne Buchanan, Volunteer Coordinator at BHC, this program speaks volumes about the possibilities for volunteers who join the program. “Rosanne came forward over a year ago, expressing interest in offering bird walks to share her knowledge and passion for birding,” she explains. “After her first series in Rhode Island along the Blackstone River Bikeway, she created one at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA, that fall and that is where she met Beth and Paul Milke. It was kismet. The three have become great friends and plan programs together. Whatever skill or interest you have, chances are we can find an opportunity for you to share that through our Volunteers-in-Parks program.”

To participate in one of the scheduled bird walks in Rhode Island, register at or call BHC at 508-234-4242. To register for one of the bird walks in Massachusetts, email or call River Bend Farm at 508-278-7604. Further directions will be sent upon registration. If there is rain at the time of the program, it is canceled. Binoculars and field guides are suggested. Children 12 years and older are welcome on all programs. A complimentary Blackstone Valley Adventure Pack will be given to those who pre-register, while supplies last. All walks are listed on BHC’s events page at

The Birding the Blackstone program is presented by BHC in partnership with the National Park Service Volunteers-in-Parks, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM), and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR).

Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Construction Services

Kelly House Replica Barn BHC seeks qualifications from companies interested in constructing a replica barn at the site of the Captain Wilbur Kelly House and Transportation Museum located off Lower River Road in the Blackstone River State Park, Lincoln, RI.

Click Here for Full Details

Please note:

Qualifications must be submitted in a single PDF document less than 5 MB. Submit qualifications by email to Proposals are due no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 10, 2017. All submissions will receive an acknowledgement of submittal, generally within 24 hours, sent via “reply” to the submission.

Frozen Fish

Where do the fish go in the winter?  Do they hibernate?  Do they bury themselves in the bottom of the rivers and ponds somehow?  The fresh waters of Blackstone Valley have two types of fish:  warm water and cold water varieties.

During the cold months, warm water varieties such as bass and sunfish slow down and lower their metabolism.  They can go for long periods of time without eating, a good thing considering their food supply is extremely limited in the winter months.

Other fish such as the three Ps (pickerel, perch and pike) are still active in cold water.  That means they are hungry and will go after bait.  This works out well for the ice fisherman, not so well for the pickerel, perch and pike.  Trout are the exception:  they slow down in winter waters but can still be enticed to go for the bait of fishermen.

There is a scientific explanation.  Fish are poikilothermous (cold-blooded); their body temperature follows that of the environment.  While they are regulated by nutrition, photoperiod (daily length of light exposure) and water temperature, the reduction of temperature is what causes their metabolisms to slow, some species more than others.  In fact, some species actually experience brief superficial freezing or super cooling (without freezing) and remain alive.  Fish that are active or semi active in the winter usually seek areas of deeper water where only the top layer freezes into ice.

Come to think of it, one usually sees ice fishermen on ponds and lakes, never on a shallow stream.

Historic Snow Storms

Ever since New England was colonized in the early 17th century, dealing with the frigid conditions of winter has been a challenge.  It was a startling change for settlers recently arrived from England to realize that their new home had more snow than they were used to but also much colder temperatures.

In February and March of 1717, “The Great Snow” covered southern New England in a series of four storms.  It deposited nearly 4 feet on the ground and drifts were reported as high as 25 feet.  Roads were impassable, communities were isolated and supplies did not move overland or along the coastal waterways.  The only successful post runner from New York to Boston made the trip on snowshoes.

In November of 1798, the region was hit with “The Long Storm;” from Maryland to Maine nearly continuous snow fell between the 17th and 21st.  Another notable storm in December of 1811, “The Cold Storm” of 1857 and the “Blizzard of ‘88” all made the record books.

Snow and how to handle it became a focus of communities large and small.  In the rural towns, early snow removal depended on shoveling the white stuff out of the road.  While it was not until the 1840s that the first patents were issued on snow plows, New Englanders came up with an earlier invention – the snow roller.  It was a large wooden cylinder drawn by horses over roads to compact the surface and make the snow more or less uniform.  It allowed sleds to proceed with fewer ruts and it was also safer for horses and riders.

But I’ll take the orange trucks any day!