A more lovely stream than this,
for a mile above its junction
with the Concord,
has never flowed on earth.
Famous poets and authors have doted on the Assabet
River's beauty and charm. But the river coexists quietly with suburban
life in Eastern Massachusetts in its slow and steady 31-mile fall
A Historic River
The Assabet has carved its niche in American history
as villages and industry have thrived on
its abundant resources.
Several dams obstruct the river's course
in a testament to Bay Staters' commitment to the vitality of their
neighborhoods and economy. Once the most productive mills in America,
some of the Assabet's brick neighbors now host the high technology
companies of the modern era.
A Wild River
To paddle along most sections of the Assabet is to
immerse oneself in the stark contrast of wilderness with the
surrounding urban centers. This has made the Assabet Valley one of
the country's first vacation spots and a favorite stomping ground of
the Concord literary elite. This natural beauty has remained
to this day.
The Assabet's banks are hidden behind lunch forest
- several miles of which have the privilege of governmental
protection. Walden Pond? A visit to the Assabet River promises
to be a stunning and tranquil alternative.
|Photo by Alice Moulton.
The Best River?
almost as much pride in the Assabet's aesthetic and recreational
value as it takes in the improving quality of the Assabet's water.
While the Assabet is a natural treasure, a history marked with industrial and municipal pollution
has left the Assabet with an abundance of
nutrients that cause excessive plant growth in the river during
the summer months. This damages the river's habitat and recreational
value, causing it to fall short of its potential as a haven for
fish and other wildlife.
that potential that makes the Assabet worth the efforts of OAR members
and staffers. It's the feeling that after 250-plus years of human
use and abuse of the Assabet River, it's time to make sure its beauty
and vitality will be enjoyed by generations to come.
In 1997, Robert Hass, then poet laureate of the
United States, observed, “Thoreau read Wordsworth, Muir read
Thoreau, Teddy Roosevelt read Muir, and you got national parks. It
took a century for this to happen, for artistic values to percolate
down to where honoring the relation of people’s imagination to the
land, or beauty, or to wild things, was issued in legislation.”
Like ripples in a pool, the actions that we take to protect the
Assabet and its watershed today will spread beyond the river's banks
and into our future.
Please use the links at the
top left to read about the issues facing the Assabet, recreational
opportunities presented by the river, and pictures of the Assabet.