Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year From The Heritage Corridor!

All of us at the Corridor, commissioners and staff, want to wish our friends, partners and volunteers, a very Happy New Year!   This past year was full of excitement, much of it associated with an all-out effort to get a new National Park created. It almost made it in 2011. Although the park legislation was ultimately not included in the omnibus spending bill Congress passed in mid-December, that is not the end of it. Already, the sponsors of the legislation have vowed to continue the effort and succeed, however long it may take. So please stay engaged, and continue to share your views about a new park with the decision-makers! And don't forget to thank your Senators and Representatives for doing their best.

But, as important as the work related to a new park is, it should not keep us from recognizing all the work that still goes on, every day, throughout the Blackstone Valley: keeping historic sites and museums open even when times are tough and budgets keep shrinking; working with school kids and young adults to spread our story and develop new stewards; pulling out ever bigger tires from the river; still pushing for the WHOLE bike path to be completed; still pushing for a visitor center to be built in Worcester; and still getting more and more people out on the river, the bike path and the trails for some healthy outdoor recreation. We really do not just talk about history, we keep making it.

Thank you for all you do. We look forward to working together with you in 2012.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Volunteers-In-Parks Recognized At Heritage Corridor Event

More than 60 volunteers and their guests gathered at The Pines in North Smithfield, RI recently where they were recognized for their contributions to the Heritage Corridor. Ranger Peter Coffin talked to the group about the role volunteers have played since the Corridor was established in 1986.  “This place was built on volunteers 25 years ago and it will go forward with volunteers to the next 25 years.”  Ranger Chuck Arning added, “We couldn’t do it without you.  You are out there cleaning the river, talking to our visitors, and taking care of this important place day in and day out.”  Volunteer Coordinator Valerie Paul described the contribution of volunteers in dollars and cents.  “You contributed the equivalent of more that $1 million dollars in volunteer labor last year.  You are an amazing group of people.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Heritage Corridor!

The Heritage Corridor celebrated its 25th birthday in style recently with an old fashioned rally at the Corridor Commission offices in Woonsocket.  A variety of speakers, led off by Congressman David Cicilline of RI, talked about the past and the future of the Blackstone Valley Corridor.

Participants celebrated with cake and mini flags sporting the Corridor logo.  A new video about the Heritage Corridor was shown along with a slide show giving a retrospective look at the people and partners who have worked together over the last 25 years. 

The Extraordinary Rendition Band rocked the house as they led attendees on a mini-parade around the Depot.  The evening closed with a moving patriotic medley sung by local singer Dominique Doiran.

It was a great way to celebrate 25 years!

Check out the pictures on Facebook.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Important River Conference Coming Up

Blackstone River Revival Conference
Wednesday November 16
3:00PM - 8:00PM
Northbridge, MA Town Hall and Alternatives Unlimited on the Mumford River

A major watershed-wide bi-state conference to return life to the Blackstone River Watershed. Come help identify next steps for river restoration, water quality improvements and increased recreation. Let's really make the Blackstone River ~ Clean by 2015!

This conference is appropriate for river advocates; local, state and federal agencies; and all who care about the river.

More information at

New Video Explores Heritage Corridor's 25 Year History

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Breaking News: Bills Introduced In House & Senate For A New Park

Senator Jack Reed, D-RI, introduced legislation on October 13 to create the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.  The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Senator John Kerry, D-MA, and Senator Scott Brown, R-MA.  Senator Reed's office made the announcement on Thursday. "This new national park would provide opportunities for work, opportunities for recreation, and it will be a way to forever memorialize the history of this unique national treasure,” said Senator Reed.

A bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives on October 13.  U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), along with co-sponsors Richard E. Neal (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), and James Langevin (D-RI), introduced legislation to create the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.

"I am proud to introduce legislation that will create a new national park unit within the Blackstone River Valley, ensuring the protection and promotion of this vital historical, environmental, and educational resource – all while helping to promote our local economies,” said Rep. Cicilline.

A copy of the press release from Senator Reed's office may be found here.  A copy of the release from Representative Cicilline's office may be found here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

'Valley Boys' pull biggest, baddest tire from Lonsdale Marsh:

By ETHAN SHOREY, Valley Breeze Staff Writer (Click on the link below for the full article)
Valley Breeze Article from Shorey,EFrank Matta, left, and John Marsland, of the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone, show off the 600-pound aviation tire they helped pull from the Lonsdale Marsh last month. The tire is the last one known to be in the marsh. 
 CUMBERLAND - The Valley Boys saved their most stubborn haul for last. At 600 pounds, the passenger jet tire was such a beast it had to be fished out by six men and a loader. It is thought that the giant aviation tire had been lodged for more than 30 years in the Lonsdale Marsh, a once-polluted zone first targeted for cleanup all the way back in 1972. Several of those who helped hoist it out this summer recalled seeing it as children... FULL STORY
Shorey, E. (2011, August 3)). 'Valley Boys' pull biggest, baddest tire from Lonsdale Marsh. Valley Breeze. Retrieved August 10, 2011, from

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What A Wonderful Time Of Year To Be In the Valley!

October and November are busy months here in the Blackstone Valley.  Whether you are looking for something to do with children, a visit to a historic site, a conference relating to the Valley, or a night out, the Heritage Corridor and our partners have a lot in store for you this fall.  Check out our event listing for festivals, conferences, tours, walks, benefit nights, and so much more!

Of special note this season are the following conferences related to topics of importance to us.

Bi-State Blackstone Bikeway Summit
Wednesday, October 26, 9:30am to Noon
Corridor Commission Offices, Woonsocket, RI
For more information or to RSVP, contact Jonathan O'Rourke at Jonathan_O' or by phone at 401-762-0250 ext. 32.
Sponsored by Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

Sustainable Tourism Conference - Why The National Park Service Is Your New Tourism Partner
Tuesday, October 18, 8:00am
Slater Mill
Sponsored by Sustainable Tourism Lab

Bi-State Conference - Blackstone River Revival
Wednesday, November 16, 3:00pm
Northbridge Town Hall and Alternatives Unlimited
Open to all. RSVP to
Sponsored by the Blackstone River Coalition

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unibank Greenway Challenge Completes its 11th Season

On September 24th, over 400 local athletes once again ran, paddled and cycled through one of the most beautiful and historic sections of New England - the Blackstone River Valley - for the UniBank Blackstone River Valley Greenway Challenge. The Challenge promotes the recreational quality of life in the Blackstone River Valley while celebrating cultural and historic gems along the race route. The Corridor, and its partners, host the UniBank Greenway Challenge annually to help support clean water campaigns, hiking and biking trails, wildlife projects, environmental education and development of waterway access throughout the Valley.

Each year, the Finish Line Celebration provides an opportunity of athletes, volunteers, and spectators alike to share food, music, photos, and a lot of stories about the day's adventures. The Celebration started at noon, with about 1000 participants, onlookers, and volunteers gathered to celebrate.