Recreational Guide: The Deerfield River

By: Ryan Hutchings
Deerfield River GeographyThe Deerfield River is located in Vermont and Massachusetts on the East Coast of the United States.?? The Deerfield River starts in Vermont, where it then flows through the state into Massachusetts, eventually joining with the Connecticut River.? In all, the Deerfield River flows for 73 miles (649.7 total miles including streams of its complete watershed) from its head source in Vermont until it meets with the Connecticut.? During this route, it drops about 2000 feet, starting at about 2800 feet above sea level all the way down to about 120 feet above sea level.One of the most distinguishing facts of the Deerfield River is the many dams throughout the 73 mile length of the river.? On average, there is a dam about every 7 miles on the river, making the Deerfield one of the most heavily used rivers (for electrical power purposes) in the nation.? There are 10 dams in total on the Deerfield River, and they are all owned by three different utility companies.? All the dams are primarily used for generating hydroelectric power that many of the towns and cities in the surrounding areas rely on for power.? The natural river flow of the Deerfield has therefore been changed since the introduction of all of the dams.? The dams help control foods in the basin regions and augment flow in the Deerfield River during low-flow periods.? Many Deerfield River rafting outfitters and recreational facilities rely on a constant flow of water for their business survival.? Even with all the dams and use of the river, 78% of the basin is still forested, and only about 3% is urbanized.The watershed for the Deerfield river ranges from Stratton Mountain in Southern Vermont all the way to Greenfield in Massachusetts.? In total, the drainage area for the Deerfield and its streams is about 655 square miles.? There fore 49 lakes the come from the Deerfield watershed, and 649.7 river and stream miles in total from the river.?? The major tributaries of the Deerfield are the North, South East and West Branches in Vermont, the Cold, Checkley, Bear, South and Green Rivers in Massachusetts.

The river is home to native and stocked trout and also Atlantic salmon. Deerfield River HistoryThe Deerfield River was named after the town Deerfield, MA in Franklin County.?? Originally, the area was inhabited by the Pocumtuck nation, with a village by the same name as the town.? European colonists settled the town in 1673 and later named it Deerfield, incorporating the town in 1677.? Disputes between the local natives, revolutionary war and other problems lasted through the next time period, eventually calming down and becoming a popular town for incoming immigrants.The first dam was built on the river in 1910 when the New England Power Company formed to acquire the water rights to the Deerfield River.? The largest dam on the whole river was built not too long after, in 1920.? Since then, a total of 19 dams have been built on the river.?? The last dam was finished in the 1970’s.? Since then, the dams have controlled the flow of the water through the whole river, making the river a very popular destination for tourists and wildlife enthusiasts.Deerfield River Rafting and RecreationThe most popular activities on the Deerfield River are whitewater rafting, camping and hiking.?? Because of the steep descent of the river, there are plenty of short tributaries and sections of the river the offer excellent class IV – V whitewater Vermont rafting trips.? Kayaking is also popular on the sections of the Deerfield River as well as the many side tributaries and large streams that stem from the river.? Since the river stretches into both Vermont and Massachusetts, rafting participants come from many different locations.Fishing is also another recreational activityPsychology Articles, with great trout and fly fishing opportunities.? Atlantic salmon is also found in parts of the river.

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