Lake Warner dam officially changes hands

  • Lake Warner Dam in Hadley, shown June 20, 2017, is officially under ownership by the Friends of Lake Warner and the Mill River Inc. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Thursday, January 11, 2018

HADLEY — An organization that has been the steward for maintaining the 350-year-old Lake Warner in North Hadley for boating and fishing has taken ownership of the pond’s historic dam.

Friends of Lake Warner and the Mill River Inc. on Dec. 28 became owner and caretaker of the dam, following certification by the state’s Office of Dam Safety that substantial repairs were successfully completed in 2017.

David Moskin, chairman of the Friends of Lake Warner board, praised the Kestrel Land Trust, which had owned the dam since its merger with Valley Land Fund in 2011, and thanked residents and officials for the financial support from the town and state.

“This kind of collaboration has saved an old millpond,” Moskin said.

The project was supported by $340,000 in state money and $100,000 from Hadley’s Community Preservation Act account.

Moskin observed that some were considering removing the dam after a December 2012 inspection revealed the 1919 dam was structurally deficient and a “significant” hazard.

Instead, engineer Morris Root of Boston and contractor Edward Paige, Inc., of Norwell were hired to repair crumbling concrete, inoperable outlet gates and sections of unstable walls.

An additional $50,000 was raised by Friends of Lake Warner and Kestrel to create a fund for dam maintenance. Moskin said his group will use this to pay for the inspections, which occur every two to three years.

“The dam shouldn’t need any substantial work for a long, long time,” Moskin said.

Moskin said the completion of the dam repairs allows for a focus on cleaning up the water and removing weeds, and working with farmers to establish best practices that reduce runoff into the pond.

The Friends group was also given 5.6 acres of land on the northwest side of the pond that will be permanently protected and which Moskin said adds to the tranquil setting for people on paddleboats.

Moskin said anyone interested in getting involved with the Friends should contact him at 413-627-6672.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.