Photo: Millers River
Popular for boating, fly fishing, and hiking. Flatwater in places, moving water elsewhere.
From its source in southern New Hampshire, the Millers River flows south and west, collecting streams from each of its 17 Massachusetts watershed towns. The main stem of the river emerges from a pond in Winchendon to follow a serpentine 35-mile course from through Royalston, Athol, Orange, Erving, Wendell, and Montague, where it flows into the Connecticut River. Once intensely polluted, the river today is relatively clean. Regulations and river advocates act together to protect and improve its practical, aesthetic, and wildlife value.
The Millers River Watershed Council, with headquarters at the Millers River Environmental Center, oversees the health of the river.
Hikers and birders explore the river’s environs at the Birch Hill Dam in South Royalston, the Bearsden Conservation Area in Athol, and wildlife management areas in Athol/Royalston/Phillipston and Wendell. Canoeists paddle the easy sections from Winchendon to South Royalston and from Athol to Orange, and in April, hundreds compete in the River Rat Race. The river has native and stocked fish, and anglers ply their sport from car-top boats or from many points along the banks. (The state, however, still issues advisories about eating the fish.) Fishing enthusiasts can get more information from the Millers River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
To Winchendon launch site: From Rte. 2, take Exit 19 and follow Rte. 202 north to Mill Glen Rd. on left. Bear right onto New Boston Rd. and continue to launch site, on left.
To Athol launch site: From Main St., go north on Mt. Pleasant St., bear right, and go a short distance to launch.
To Orange launch site: From Rte. 2, take Exit 16 and go north toward Athol. Turn left onto East St. (which becomes River St.) and continue 2 miles to launch site on right.
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