The largest “lake” in Massachusetts, the Quabbin Reservoir was created in the 1930s by damming up the Swift River, thereby flooding the towns of Enfield, Prescott, Greenwich, and Dana, as well as parts of New Salem, whose residents were bought out. Today the reservoir provides fresh water for all of Boston and a large number of other eastern cities and towns.
It is also a premier wildlife habitat and human visitor haven—as one author called it, “the accidental wilderness,” 25,000 acres of water surrounded by 81,000 acres of beautiful, protected watershed lands with mementoes of the lost towns. It is also a birder’s paradise: Eagles were returned to the Quabbin in the 1980s, and today they and a myriad other birds live or stop by in the reservoir and its lands.
Directions are to one spot with a magnificent view of the reservoir and another with a boat launch; visitors are also encouraged to explore Quabbin Park and the Visitor Center on Rte. 9 in Belchertown and the various gates that allow public access. In the North Quabbin these include Gates 22-25, 28-30, 31, 36, and 40. (Regulations covering recreational use of Quabbin lands are complicated; consult published or online summaries.)
From Rte. 2, take Exit 16, Rte. 202 south. To viewing area: Continue to New Salem, and watch for "Wildlife Viewing Area" sign on left. To Gate 31 & boat launch area: Turn left onto Rte. 122 and continue to gate, on right.Contact: