Watershed Projects :: Water Trails
Welcome to the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Water Trail System!
What is a water trail? It is a combination of a river with paddle routes and segments that are clearly described in maps and guides, with partnerships to expand public shoreline access, and stewardship projects to reduce erosion and protect water quality - the very resources paddlers come here to enjoy.
A Water Trails Steering Committee meets monthly to plan and implement water trail improvement projects. Please join us! Volunteers from the Water Trails Steering Committee are currently working on comprehensive Access Site Assessments for every car-top boat launch in the watershed, new paddle guides, new informational kiosks, stream gauge installation, and launch maintenance and improvements. For more information about the Water Trails Steering Committee, email:Lois@tlgv.org.
Upcoming Paddles - There's a lot to do on The Last Green Valley's waterways - click here for a list of Spring 2014 paddles and events. Some paddles require registration, while others are "show and go." Be sure to check with paddle organizers for last minute updates and changes.
National Recognition for the Willimantic and Quinebaug River Water Trails! -21 miles of the Willimantice River Water Trail and 45 miles of the Quinebaug River Water Trail have been designated as National Recreation Trails.
Updated Willimantic River Paddle Guide - Click here for a pdf version of the updated 2013 Willimantic River Water Trail Paddle Guide. (It's a big file, so please be patient). Or call the TLGV office at 860-774-3300 to request a paper copy.
New Quinebaug River Paddle Guide - Click here for a pdf version of the new, 2012 Quinebaug River Paddle Guide. (It's a big file, so please be patient). Or call the TLGV office at 860-774-3300 to request a paper copy.
Newsletter - Click to view the latest edition of Currents from Source to Sea , The Last Green Valley's Watershed E-newsletter.
Paddling the Quinebaug River Water Trail
The Quinebaug River Water Trail offers 45 miles of paddling within an hour’s drive of three of New England’s largest urban regions. Many of the segments provide an opportunity for family-friendly, close-to-home outdoor adventures with a surprisingly remote feel; wildlife is abundant and the only traces of civilization are the remnants of old mills.
Six water trail segments on the Quinebaug River provide almost 45 miles of paddling; all are designated as National Recreation Trails (NRT):
1) Holland Pond (Lake Siog) in Holland, MA, to East Brimfield Lake, E. Brimfield, MA (4.6 miles);
2) Paper Mill Pond in Dudley, MA, to Fabyan, West Thompson, CT (5.5 miles);
3) Fabyan in West Thompson, CT to West Thompson Lake, W. Thompson, CT (6.3 miles);
4) Simonzi Park in Putnam, CT, to Route 101 in Pomfret, CT (6.5 miles);
5) Brooklyn Riverside Park in Brooklyn, CT, upriver to Rogers Dam (4.8 miles); and
6) Wayne R Lafreniere Canoe Launch in Killingly, CT, to the CT DEEP Fish Hatchery in Plainfield, CT, Robert Manship Park in Canterbury, CT, and Butts Bridge in Canterbury, CT (15.5 miles).
Click here for a pdf version of the new, 2012 Quinebaug River Paddle Guide. (It's a big file, so please be patient). Or call the TLGV office at 860-774-3300 to request a paper copy.
Paddling the Willimantic River Water Trail
The Willimantic River Water Trail, a National Recreation Trail, provides more than 21 miles of paddling enjoyment and challenges, with only one short portage. There are three major segments, from the rapids and quickwater of the narrow upper section, to the impoundment above Eagleville Lake Dam and then downstream below the dam on slow-moving current or flat water to Route 66, just upstream of Willimantic.
More Paddling Locations
Check out these great places to paddle in The Last Green Valley:
Oxford, MA - Paddle a scenic 3.3 mile stretch of the French River, from Greenbriar Park to Hodges Village Dam. This stretch of the French River has only one established kayak/canoe launch and the trip down to the Bailey Bridge take-out area is not an easy paddle. Boaters must portage around at least two formidable beaver dams and can count on tree snags occurring here and there along the way. But what makes it worth the effort is the abundance of wildlife seen, particularly in the open marsh areas. Since public access is limited and paddlers few, wildlife viewing is great. Click here for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Guide to the French River Canoe Trail. Click here for the accompanying map.
Killingly, CT - An informal group of paddlers is meeting once a week during the summer to explore Killingly's waterways. Check out their website - Paddle Killingly - for details and a schedule. The Conservation Commission's website has descriptions of the public boat launches in town. Click here to access the Commission's Boating and Fishing web page.
Poquetanuck Cove - Poquetanuck Cove is a 2 mile long tidal estuary located between the towns of Ledyard and Preston, CT. The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection experts describe the cove as the largest and highest quality brackish water meadow and cattail marsh on the Thames River. Click here for the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Poquetanuck Cove Canoe and Kayak Trail Guide.
Check out our new interactive map for other paddling locations.
Paddle Smart - Paddle Safe!
We want you to have fun on the water and enjoy The Last Green Valley's natural beauty. But you need to recognize that paddling can be hazardous and you must be prepared.
You are ultimately responsible for your own safety!
Before signing up for a paddle, please read the description carefully and evaluate whether you have the experience, skills, and equipment necessary to enjoy the trip safely. Most of the paddles will not include paddling instruction. All participants will be required to sign registration forms and liability waivers.
Hazards that can lead to severe injury or death include: Cold water, rocks, man-made and natural obstructions, strainers (anything that blocks passage, like a downed tree, but allows water to flow through), heavy currents, dams (including low-head dams), lightning, bad weather, bugs, other boats, and human error.
Properly fitting life jackets must be worn at all times on the water. Please discuss your equipment with the trip leader to be sure your boat is suitable for the segment. We recommend that each boat carry a spare paddle and throw line (rescue throw bag). Personal gear should include clothing suitable for the weather, a properly fitting life jacket, a whistle, sunscreen, bug repellant, drinks/snacks, and small waterproof bag to carry extras like cameras or binoculars. Additional gear such as helmets or specialized boats may be required for whitewater and coastal segments.
All paddles require pre-registration. If you must cancel after registering, please be courteous and let the trip leader know so that someone on the waiting list can take your place.