Saturday, December 20, 2014

Coffee with Charlene!

You are invited to meet with Charlene Perkins Cutler, Executive Director for the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc.  Bring your questions or enjoy the conversation while sipping a warm cup of coffee.

Charlene is looking forward to meeting you at this monthly coffee hour.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
 4:00-5:00 pm


The January coffee hour is sponsored by BirchTree Bread Company.
For directions or more information about this artisinal bread company, visit their web site

Saturday, December 13, 2014

News Release December 12, 2014
Congressional Action Expands Blackstone Heritage Corridor

The U.S. Congress has passed legislation to expand the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.  The region of national significance will now include the town of Auburn, MA, and a larger portion of the city of Providence, RI.  The legislation also reauthorizes the Blackstone Heritage Corridor for six additional years of federal funding, a boost to its continuing work to tell the story of the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and restore the environment of the Blackstone River.

First designated as a National Heritage Corridor in 1986, the region was the first place to experience widespread use of water power in the United States and the first religiously and ethnically diverse area of New England.  The Blackstone Heritage Corridor will now link 25 communities within the Blackstone River watershed from Providence, RI, to Worcester, MA, an area exceeding 720 square miles.

“The Blackstone Valley is an interconnected system of waterways and wetlands that are being reclaimed for their natural beauty, wildlife and recreational opportunities,” commented Charlene Perkins Cutler, executive director of Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.  “It is also a remarkably intact landscape of industrial history, immigration and diversity.  Our organization is committed to the long term vitality of this special place.”

Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. is the nonprofit management entity for the National Heritage Corridor.  Its staff, volunteers and partners work together on regionally important projects, some of which include river restoration, the bi-state Blackstone River Valley Bikeway, historic preservation, way-finding and economic development. 

Donna Williams, the chairperson of Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. and a resident of Grafton, MA, noted that “the expansion of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor to include Auburn and more of Providence rightfully fills in the missing links in our boundary.  Both communities are vital parts of the watershed and of our history and they complete the story we have to tell.  We are truly grateful for Congress's vote of confidence in our work to reauthorize us to 2021. Now the sky's the limit as to what more we can accomplish with our valued partners throughout the Corridor.”

For more information or to volunteer and work on projects for the National Heritage Corridor, please call 401-762-0250, ext. 5101

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Winners of the Greenway Challenge Announced

Nearly 500 individuals and 91 teams competed in glorious fall weather last Saturday, September 27, for the 14th annual Greenway Challenge. The premier bi-state, 60-mile adventure race offered seven divisions of competition. The event was presented by Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc. The Greenway Challenge course consisted of alternating segments of street biking, river paddling, mountain biking and running.

Photo caption: The winning team for the Championship Division. Pictured left to right are members of Team AD HOC: Ernie Lozeau (Douglas, MA), Roland LaValle (Woonsocket, RI), Fabio Fuchian (Brookline, MA), and captain Ben Chokshi-Fox (Whitinsville, MA). Photo credit: Deb Uscilka.

Read more in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal: Winners of the Greenway Challenge Announced

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Greenway Challenge - It IS a Challenge!

Our volunteers are hard at work preparing for this year's adventure race on Saturday, September 27 (with a rain date of October 4).

The Steering and Logistics Committee plans, designs, administers and, promotes this premiere adventure race. They also tend to required maintenance of the river and trails, access points and transition sites. Some areas may be newly designed for the course, while others have not been used in years.

Clean up includes poison ivy removal, brush clearing, clearing the river of fallen trees, strainers and other debris. Such was the case on August 16 when six members of the committee entered the water in South Grafton and cleared the river for safe passage to Riverdale Mill. A land crew cleared the trail of overgrowth at the portage. The crew then headed down river to Plummer's Landing in Northbridge, MA where they continued their work removing trees, tires and other debris from the river.

Volunteers work to make our river safe for Greenway Challenge participants and other paddlers using the Blackstone River.

Interested in volunteering? Contact Barbara Dixon at 401-762-0250, ext 5503 or

Read more about the Greenway Challenge

Monday, August 25, 2014

Join Us for the Final Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, August 28: Rain Garden at Slatersville Public Library

A rain garden is a specialized garden that collects rainwater runoff from paved areas and other hard surfaces. Rain gardens soak up the stormwater, helping to reduce runoff into storm drains or nearby bodies of water, which can cause erosion and water pollution.

Join our partners from the Blackstone River Coalition to learn about some rain gardens they have built, some plans for a new garden in Slatersville, and pick up some tips on how you can make your own rain garden to help protect the Blackstone Watershed.

Parking: Parking is available at the North Smithfield Public Library parking lot at 20 Main Street, Slatersville, (North Smithfield), RI.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on August 21: Climate Change and the Blackstone Canal

Much has been said and written about our changing climate, but the actual visual impact of it is hard to see here. What can our historic structures tell us about our changing climate? What do we need to do to preserve them?

Get a better understanding of just what is happening to our climate and get a glimpse of what its impact will be to our historic landscape. 

Join Rangers Chuck Arning and Kevin Klyberg as they jointly explore the meaning of climate change and our historic structures along the Blackstone Canal towpath between River Bend Farm the Stanley Woolen Mill.

Parking: Parking is availble at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge MA.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on August 14 - Slatersville: America's First Mill Village

Join a National Park Service Ranger to explore America's first planned mill village.

Learn how John Slater came to this site along the Branch River to expand the Textile Empire that his brother Samuel had begun in Pawtucket in 1790.

Slatersville is not only the first planned mill village in America, it is one of the best preserved. Almost all of the elements of the original village, from the mill, to the worker housing, the church and the company stores still remain.

Parking: Parking is available at the North Smithfield Public Library parking lot at 20 Main Street, Slatersville, (North Smithfield), RI.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on August 7: Manville – A Mill Village on the Blackstone

Manville has been a manufacturing center since 1711 when Israel Wilkinson opened the Unity Furnace to produce iron. Later, it was briefly home to the largest cotton mill under one roof in America, and Manville village spanned both sides of the Blackstone River to house the 2,000 mill workers who toiled here.

Parking: The tour begins at the Manville Landing, at the foot of Manville Hill Road, Cumberland, RI, adjacent to the Blackstone River.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, July 31: The American Civil War & General Ambrose Burnside – A Misunderstood General, A Walking Tour of Burnside's Providence

General Ambrose Burnside was a very prominent Rhode Islander with a much maligned Civil War past. Yet, is what we know about General Burnside really true? Civic minded, an elected Governor and an entrepreneur, but the reputation as a very bad general. Is it true? Is it fair?

Join Ranger Chuck Arning and Greg Mierka, Civil War Historian, to learn more about this fascinating man.

Parking: This program will begin at the Roger Williams National Memorial at 282 North Main St., Providence. Use the Memorial's parking area (the entrance is at the corner of Canal Street and Smith Street). There is also parking along North Main Street.

View full Walkabout schedule (through August 28)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, July 24: H. P. Lovecraft Walk: A Writer in Providence

Famed horror writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) lived in Providence for most of his life, and he made the city the setting for some of his most popular works. Lovecraft also wrote thousands of letters, many of which have been published, which detail his love of his home city.

Join Sarah Zurier, a historian with the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission as she discusses H.P. Lovecraft's writings about Providence's rapidly changing cityscape and his attempts to make the case for preserving historic places.

Parking: This program will begin at 6:30 pm at the Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 North Main St., Providence. Use the Memorial's parking area (entrance at corner of Canal Street and Smith Street). Park is also available along North Main Street.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, July 17: The Story of William Blackstone: A Costumed Interpretation

The Reverend William Blackstone was the first permanent English settler of the River Valley that now bears his name.

Ranger John McNiff will appear at the Cumberland Library as the Reverend Blackstone in a costumed interpretation that will allow you to get a better understanding of the man known to some as the Sage of the Wilderness.

Parking: There is plenty of parking in the Cumberland Public Library parking lot, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Join Us for the Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, July 10: Nine Men's Misery: King Phillip's War & the Blackstone Valley

King Phillip's War (1675-76) was fought between the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Narragansett Nations against the recently arrived English settlers. This war stretched across the Blackstone Valley, much of southeastern New England, and up into New Hampshire.

Join the National Park Service to learn about this conflict, and visit the earliest veterans' memorial established in the United States. This program includes a trail walk, please wear sturdy walking shoes. Walk will begin at the gazebo behind the Cumberland Library.

Parking: Plenty of parking is available in the Cumberland Public Library parking lot, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI.

Ranger Walkabout schedule (through August 28)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Join Us for The Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, June 26: A Walking Tour of the Civilian Conservation Camp at Upton State Forest

walking tour of the civilian conservation corps camp
It was the "worse, hard time" ever - The Great Depression, thousands out of work and a nation in despair. Yet, America has always been a place where new ideas and new ways of thinking have gained traction. As a way to deal with the huge unemployment rolls and a despairing nation, Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, and it changed everything.

Join Ranger Chuck Arning and Ellen Arnold, Friends of Upton State Forest, for a tour of one of the few remaining CCC camp sites and learn how these young men put their mark on the America we know today.

Parking: Park right by the camp inside Upton State Forest. Take the Westboro Road off the Hopkinton Street by Pratt Pond. Follow Westboro Road to park on right.

Ranger Walkabout schedule (through August 28)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Join Us for The Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, June 19: A Village Walk and Eco-Machine

Fisherville was once home to a mighty textile mill. Today, it is home to the Eco-Machine, a water treatment system that uses water plants and mycelium to break down the oil, chemicals and nitrates that have polluted the Blackstone Canal.

Join our partners from the Blackstone River Coalition at Mill Villages Park to learn more about the history of Fisherville and this new way of helping to protect and preserve the Blackstone Watershed.

This free program begins as 6:30 pm at Mill Villages Park, 61 Main Street (Rt. 122 A) Grafton, MA.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Join us for the Ranger Walkabout on Thursday, June 12 for The Village of Rockdale: The Typical Mill Village

Rockdale Village

The walking tour of Rockdale offers the visitor a wonderful mill village experience because the pieces of the typical mill village are all still here. Symmetry. Balance. A photographers delight.

Join Ranger Chuck Arning as the group explores what the Rhode Island System of Manufacturing looked and felt like in your typical mill village.

Parking: We will utilize the large parking area by St. Peter's Church, 39 Church Street, just off Rt. 122, Rockdale, Northbridge, MA.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May is National Bike Month

Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling - and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.

Read more about the bikeway and National Bike Month: