The Other Day, Another Milford MA. Wildfire + Thoughts On Echo Lake Dam
The other day there was another wild-fire in the conservation woods located by the Milford, Hopkinton and Holliston town lines. These woods go by many names- Vietnam Bike Trail, Rocky Woods, College Rock, Fairbanks Conservation Land and the Upper Charles Trail. Ever since I was a young kid I remember reports of fires in these woods. In fact, this has probably been happening before I was born.
Some of these fires could be started by people either accidentally (cigarette butt, etc.) or on purpose. I think they may have caught somebody, long ago, starting fires in those woods on purpose. Anyway, I don't know about the origins of how these fires start, but I do have some thoughts on this subject.
Due to poor land stewardship it is no wonder that these fires spread like wild in these woods. Everything under the sun, including invasive species is allowed to grow up in these woods. They don't call it the "Vietnam trails" for nothing- in spring/ summer it is literally like a jungle in there. Most of the time the people dealing with these fires don't have a clue about land stewardship. Even some of these trails in these woods are obscured by brush growing up on the sides. This is by the Echo Lake area, and a place where many stone mounds and cairns, as well as unique stone-works such as the drum stone are located. This land would have primarily of been cleared by indigenous land stewardship practices before Harvard University aggresively purchased the land in this area, perceivably usurping it from Native people in 1715, well after King Philip's War of 1675/76, which opened the land up to whites.
Further, there is a large dam up by Echo Lake. This area is really the headwaters of the Charles, Blackstone and Sudbury Rivers, but because the dam is there, the water tables are low, and water does not flow at all anymore in some of the stream beds in the area, and only some of the time (winter/ spring) in other stream beds. The water in the reservoir created by the Echo Lake dam used to be the town of Milford's water drinking supply. It got contaminated with bacteria or something a few years back and is no longer a source of drinking water. In other words, there is no longer a need for the dam to even be there.
I say, if anyone is reading this, that it is time to dis-assemble the dam located by Echo Lake. The water here is no longer used as a source for human consumption in the modern world. It is time to let the water flow once again, bringing back the natural balance of this area. I urge people to do the right thing. By doing this, the water will flow once again in the dried up stream beds. Also, when more water flows back to this area there will be more of a natural buffer in defense of wildfires, not allowing them to spread like crazy. They only spread right now because the land is too dry and the water tables are low because of the Echo Lake dam. Let's bring back the natural balance- this is the best defense against wildfires. Not to mention with the flowing waters there will be a re-introduction of native species to the area (this is already slowly happening, but would happen more so with the waters flowing again.) Getting rid of the dam would be a win-win situation for the environment and for the prevention of the spread of wildfires.