Completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1941 in response to traumatic floods of the Millers River in 1936 and 1938, Birch Hill Dam proved its worth in 1987, when it prevented an estimated $9 million in damages from another flood.
Today, however, surrounded by 4,000 acres of federal land and abutting the state-owned Birch Hill Wildlife Management Area and Otter River State Forest, the area is also an aesthetic and recreational gem. It includes portions of the Millers River and Otter River, as well as numerous brooks and ponds. Over 50 miles of roads and trails meander through forests and open fields managed for wildlife habitat. As a dam publication says, “Birch Hill is a place where beaver work, mink scamper, warblers sing, and fox play.” Visitors can also find evidence of human history: stone walls, clusters of old apple trees, the foundations of homes and businesses and CCC camps.
Birch Hill Dam also encompasses the Lake Dennison Recreation Area, managed by the state park system for camping and other recreational opportunities.
From Rte. 2, take Exit 19 and turn left onto Rte. 2A/202. Take the first right onto Royalston Rd. Drive 4.3 miles to end, turn left onto Rte. 68, and go 0.1 mile into South Royalston center. Cross the bridge and turn right onto dam road.
Birch Hill Dam
68 Birch Hill Dam Rd.
Royalston, MA 01368