Schoolhouse Reservoir

Washington, Massachusetts

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Some lakes and ponds, such as Richmond Pond and Stockbridge Bowl, have been around since the end of the last ice age. Other bodies of water are of more recent vintage. Before the mid-1990s the shallow valley that would become Schoolhouse Reservoir was a forested declivity of woods and wetlands that sheltered Washington Mountain Brook. Add a dam and a little landscaping, and you have a new lake as well as the beginnings of a new ecosystem. Since its creation Schoolhouse Reservoir has been a classroom for ecologists and others to observe the evolution of forest to shoreline and the accompanying shift of plant and animal communities in the water as well as the land. The roads that lead through October Mountain State Forest are rough but passable by automobile, and a carry of about 100 yards from the parking area to the water is required. It seems a lot of work just to paddle a little man-made lake. Perhaps it is, but that’s why you’ll probably have the entire lake all to yourself.
Water Trails of Western Massachusetts

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Water Trails of Western Massachusetts

by Charles W. G. Smith (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

Some lakes and ponds, such as Richmond Pond and Stockbridge Bowl, have been around since the end of the last ice age. Other bodies of water are of more recent vintage. Before the mid-1990s the shallow valley that would become Schoolhouse Reservoir was a forested declivity of woods and wetlands that sheltered Washington Mountain Brook. Add a dam and a little landscaping, and you have a new lake as well as the beginnings of a new ecosystem. Since its creation Schoolhouse Reservoir has been a classroom for ecologists and others to observe the evolution of forest to shoreline and the accompanying shift of plant and animal communities in the water as well as the land.

The roads that lead through October Mountain State Forest are rough but passable by automobile, and a carry of about 100 yards from the parking area to the water is required. It seems a lot of work just to paddle a little man-made lake. Perhaps it is, but that’s why you’ll probably have the entire lake all to yourself.

©  Charles W. G. Smith/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Washington
Distance: 0.8
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: Day use, camping available
Class: Class I
Season: Best spring through fall
Local Contacts: October Mountain State Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to Schoolhouse Reservoir

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Apr 2018