CRC along with the Deerfield River Watershed Association (DRWA) and the Towns of Buckland and Shelburne, submitted comments on revisions to the recreation plan for Gardners Falls, a hydropower dam located on the Deerfield River and owned by Central Rivers Power. Gardners Falls operates under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license and so, as a private entity harness public water resources, has obligations to mitigate its environmental impact by providing meaningful recreational amenities on the Deerfield River. These amenities help mitigate the environmental impact of dams by enhancing public access to waterways and promoting enjoyment of natural landscapes.
In recent years, the Deerfield River has become a highly sought after recreational area; however, the scarcity of public access to the River has driven an increase of recreation at sites that have already established access. It is therefore incredibly important that these sites be maintained and improved to meet demand. While the recreation plan that Central River Power proposed includes some much-needed maintenance activities, the company has yet to fulfil obligations of the original recreation agreement set forth in 2001. The company’s plan also proposes to reduce parking, eliminates a loop trail in favor of two short, dead-end trails and does not do enough to address washouts at Wilcox Hollow.
We are concerned that the proposed revised plan falls short of achieving compliance with the requirements of the 2001 recreation plan and the proposed updates reduce the availability of recreational amenities at the Gardners Falls site, on both sides of the river. Our comments enumerated several revisions to the plan to bring the company into compliance with its FERC obligations while also providing a meaningful and safe recreation site along the Deerfield River. You can read our entire comment below.
Read the full comment.