Bob Evans, a Blackstone Heritage Corridor volunteer Photography Ambassador, shared this abstract photo from the Blackstone Gorge taken during the Winter Photography Walk last weekend. Below you'll find a video featuring photos from the participants.
Corridor News - February 7, 2024
Welcome, Kerri, to the BHC Team!
Join us in welcoming Kerri Arsenault to the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Team! Kerri is our new Office Manager. She brings with her years of experience in the recreation field, most recently as the office manager for the Grafton Recreation Department.
Kerri enjoys being a part of the local community and planning enriching activities for adults, families, and children. She grew up in the Blackstone Valley, picnicking along the Blackstone River and rollerblading along the Blackstone River Bikeway.
She is excited to be a part of the Corridor team and looks forward to meeting the volunteers and community partners. She enjoys going on adventures with her family, hiking, traveling, and spending time in the mountains. Look for her on some of the upcoming hikes. She can't wait to say hello!
Mr. Kurtz Goes to Washington
Blackstone Heritage Corridor's Executive Director is in Washington, DC, this week attending the Alliance of National Heritage Areas conference and meeting with Congressional Delegations. Joining him is Dennis Rice, Blackstone Heritage Corridor's volunteer Board Chair. Follow his adventures on our Facebook and Instagram channels or on our blog.
We are mourning the loss of former volunteer Carol Dandrade, who passed away at her home in Delaware on January 23rd.
Carol was an avid photographer, and prior to becoming a volunteer with us, she submitted her stunning images to our annual calendar photo contest. It was her passion for photography that inspired the creation of the Photography Ambassadors volunteer program. Carol quickly attracted members of her camera club to join her in visiting many of the historic sites in the Blackstone Valley and documenting them with photographs. She led several photography walks to bring people together to capture the beauty of the Blackstone Valley.
Her greatest achievement was curating images for a gallery show at the Museum of Work and Culture. The "Views From the Blackstone" show featured photos from the places they visited. These images are also included in our Field Trip Fridays virtual tour videos on YouTube.
Carol leaves behind her husband, Rob Dandrade, a former Blackstone Heritage Corridor Board Member, several siblings, and several children and grandchildren. A Celebration of Life is being held on March 2nd in Lewes, Delaware. We send our sincere condolences to Carol's family and friends. Read more.
Hikes with BHC Trail Ambassadors
The following is a list of hikes in Massachusetts being led by volunteer Trail Ambassador Phil. Phil's hikes begin at 10 a.m. Find event details on our events calendar.
Saturday, March 9: Cormier Woods Hike, Uxbridge
Saturday, March 23: Midstate Trail Hike – Part 1, Douglas
Saturday, April 6: Midstate Trail Hike – Part 2, Douglas
Saturday, April 20: Castle Hill Farm Hike, Whitinsville
Saturday, May 4: Mendon Town Forest Hike, Mendon
Saturday, May 18: Wallis Pond Loop Hike, Douglas
Saturday, June 1: Stowe Meadows Hike, Millbury
Saturday, June 15: Douglas State Forest Hike, Douglas
The following is a list of hikes in Rhode Island with volunteer Trail Ambassador Ernie. Ernie's hikes begin at 9 a.m. (except for May 26). Find event details on our events calendar.
Sunday, March 17: Monastery Hike, Cumberland
Saturday, April 27: Blackstone Canal Hike, Lincoln
Sunday, May 26: Historic Providence Tour, Downtown
Saturday, June 8: Ponaganset Covered Bridge Trail Hike, Glocester
Sunday, July 28: Mowry Farm & Conservation Area Hike, Smithfield
Sunday, August 25: Powder Mill Ledges Hike, Smithfield
Sunday, September 29: Turner Reservoir Hike, East Providence
Saturday, October 26: Moshassuck River Preserve Hike, Lincoln
On February 3rd, the Corridor and the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park hosted a Winter Photography Walk at the Blackstone Gorge. Bob Evans, a volunteer Photography Ambassador with Blackstone Heritage Corridor, shared some photography tips and pointed out some great photo ops. Participants were invited to share their photos so that we could make a video showcasing different points of view. Enjoy!
Walking Rhode Island: 40 Hikes for Nature and History Lovers
Monday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Weaver Library, 41 Grove Ave., E. Providence
John Kostrzewa writes the “Walking Rhode Island” column for The Providence Journal and has been hiking across the state for years. He recently published a compilation of his hikes into a book, Walking Rhode Island 40 Hikes for Nature and History Lovers With Pictures, GPS Coordinates and Trail Maps.
His talk and slide show will include how he started, where he has hiked, and what he has learned. He’ll share his observations about the history, geological features, vegetation, and wildlife he has found along the trails.
During his talk, he’ll also explain what makes Rhode Island’s trails unique and outline some of the challenges Rhode Islanders face to maintain the state’s public preserves.
This event is hosted by the East Providence Historical Society.
News From Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park
Old Slater Mill Update
Please note: the Visitor Center at Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark is closed for the season. We look forward to seeing you again in warmer months.
The grounds of the landmark are open 7 days a week, dawn to dusk. There is a free guided tour available on the NPS App.
FIELD TRIPS: Starting on February 21, 2024, the park will offer field trips on Wednesdays & Fridays through April 5, 2024. Field trips to the mill and Kelly House (Lincoln, RI) can be booked on various weekdays through June 12, 2024. See website for additional details: https://www.nps.gov/blrv/learn/education/index.htm.
PUBLIC TOURS: Tours for the general public will resume on a limited basis starting April 19, 2024. Tours will be offered at 12:30 and 2:30 on Fridays and Saturdays through May 4th. Old Slater Mill will be open to the general public for tours Thursday-Sunday, starting May 9, 2024. Tours are offered three times daily at 10:30, 12:30, and 2:30, Friday-Sunday in May (starting May 10, 2024). Regular operations (tours three times daily, Thursday-Sunday) begin June 6, 2024. Check out the park's calendar for more details: https://www.nps.gov/blrv/planyourvisit/calendar.htm.
OTHER TOURS: Extended tours of Old Slater Mill are available for groups of lifelong learners and college-level classes (up to 25 visitors per tour). These tours are offered on a first come, first served basis depending on availability. While there is no fee, reservations are required. Please email allison_horrocks@NPS.gov to learn more and to make a booking.
Old Slater Mill will be open to the general public for tours Thursday-Sunday, starting May 9, 2024.
Please note: on Thursdays in May, tours are offered at 12:30 and 2:30.
Tours are offered three times daily at 10:30, 12:30, and 2:30, Friday-Sunday in May (starting May 10, 2024).
Regular operations (tours three times daily, Thursday-Sunday) begin June 6, 2024.
Superb Owl Weekend Birding Hike
Saturday, February 10 at 10:00 a.m.
Meet at 1075 Lower River Road, Lincoln, RI
Even in the quietest months of winter, there is still a flurry of activity in nature.
Take a walk with a local birder and a park ranger to explore Blackstone River State Park.
Meet in front of the kiosk next to the Ashton Viaduct. Field guides, binoculars, and Junior Birder books will be available.
Program starts at 10 a.m. - free parking is available.
This program is offered in partnership with Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership.
Hopedale Women's History Walk
Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m.
Meet at the Little Red Shop Museum
12 Hopedale St., Hopedale, MA
This Women’s History Month, explore Hopedale with us!
Hopedale began as a radical commune dedicated to the idea of women’s equality. Learn about changes in Hopedale over time during this 60-minute walk. The Hopedale Parklands includes a number of small trails with views of the Hopedale Pond. Parking is available on Hopedale Street.
The Parked at Home virtual series is returning for a third year! Learn about America's National Parks from the comfort of home. Talks will take place on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. EST this spring. All are free but require advance registration.
Take a guided tour of Slater Mill and explore the history of women’s work and leadership at the site.
A special exhibit will be on display about the first wage worker’s strike in the United States, a protest led by women workers in Pawtucket.
1:30 - Special Women's History Tour of Slater Mill
2:30 - First Strike Talk & Exhibit
3:00 - When Art Meets History: Conversation with David Lawlor and Alicia Wilder
Presented in partnership with David Lawlor (Run of the Mill) and Alicia Wilder (Metamorphosis: The TEN31 Dance Company).
Come Out for a Power Walk!
This spring, join a park ranger for a series of "power walks" around historic sites in the Blackstone Valley.
During these brisk walking tours, we'll explore the history of waterpower and check out some hidden gems along the Blackstone.
Hosted on Thursdays, April 18 through May 30, at 5:30 p.m. Stay tuned for more details! Free and open to all; no advance registration is required. Cancellations will be posted on the park website: nps.gov/blrv.
RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A
PROGRAMMATIC AGREEMENT REGARDING THE
FEDERAL AID HIGHWAY PROGRAM IN RHODE ISLAND
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announces the release of a draft Programmatic Agreement (the Agreement) among the Federal Highway Administration, the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Officer, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, and RIDOT to establish an efficient and effective program alternative for taking into account the effects of the Federal-aid Highway Program (the Program) on historic properties in the State to meet Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (36 CFR Part 800 and implementing regulations) requirements for Program-funded Local Public Agency transportation projects.
The Agreement is available for download at: https://www.dot.ri.gov/business/documents/Rhode-Island-Agreement-Section-106-National-Historic-Preservation-Act.pdf.
RIDOT requests public comment on the Agreement by March 1, 2024, prior to finalization. Comments can be submitted to:
Interdepartmental Project Manager
Cultural Resources Unit
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Two Capitol Hill, Room 370A
Providence, RI 02903-1124
All of these events are posted to Blackstone Heritage Corridor's events calendar.
If you are interested in volunteering for Maple Sugaring Weekend, there is a volunteer training being held Saturday, February 10th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge. Register at https://bit.ly/MapleTraining2024.
In Memoriam - John Pelczarski
Word has reached us that John Pelczarski passed away last month. John made a significant impact on the Blackstone Valley with his career.
Before being named Senior Forest and Park Supervisor at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in 1985, he managed the Department of Environmental Management facilities in Lake Quinsigamond, Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, Upton State Forest, and others. In 2004, John was promoted to District Manager of the Blackstone River Valley and was part of the management team that was involved in the planning, design, land acquisition, and maintenance for the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, the River Bend Farm Visitor Center restoration, the Blackstone River Bikeway, the Blackstone River Access site for canoeing and the construction of the new Purgatory Chasm Visitor Center. He also worked together with the National Park Service and the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor staff on other projects.
We send our condolences to his family and friends. Click here for service information.
The Junior Ranger motto is recited by children around the country, each taking an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family. Here in the Blackstone River Valley, Junior Rangers are called GearHeads. What's a GearHead, you might ask?
GearHead (n.): a kid, powered by the gears in their brain, who explores nature, discovers history, protects the environment, and goes on adventures throughout the Blackstone River Valley.
Click through the GearHeads website and claim your Junior Ranger status today! Submit a completed activity, and we'll send you a Junior Ranger badge!
If you're looking to spread the word with your events, submit them today!
Blackstone Heritage Corridor, working with community partners, provides strong leadership to preserve, promote, and celebrate the Valley’s historic, natural and recreational resources for current and future generations.