If you've noticed more activity on the pond this summer, it's not an accident. Valley Paddlers, a brand new Easthampton business, opened this spring on Nashawannuck Pond. The boat rental company is owned by Melanie Salvaggio and Katie MacCallum and offers visitors several options to enjoy the pond -- a four person pedal boat, single or tandem kayak, or a canoe.
Business has been brisk and it's not unusual to see several boaters on the water who are out for a leisurely paddle, spending a quiet hour or two enjoying nature. If you follow Nashawannuck Pond on Facebook, you will often see photos of great herons, turtles, ducks, cormorants, etc. that have been seen while exploring the pond.
Nashawannuck Pond is man-made, created in 1847 by the Williston - Knight Button Company to answer the need for an abundant, steady water source by area industrial mills. As you view the pond standing on the boardwalk, you can see the widest portion of the pond.
When you begin your paddle, you will pass the White Brook tributary which is at the end of a cove on your right. The brook enters the pond through a culvert under the entrance to Nonotuck Park. On the other side of the culvert is a Gabion Weir which was installed to prevent silt from running into the pond. At the end of the navigable portion of the pond is the Broad Brook tributary. If you walk along the Toteman Trail in Nonotuck Park which runs along the pond, you will eventually come to a siltation basin. The Gabion Weir and siltation basin have performed well over the years, but are full of silt which needs to be removed. Both these projects are expensive but critical to keeping the pond stable. The pond committee has established permitting for the Gabion Weir project to move forward. Fundraising efforts are underway for both projects as well as ongoing weed control.
On your return trip, you will pass Boathouse Beach and the new boat ramp. The ramp was installed by Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife through the efforts of the pond committee.