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Dr. Allen Ross Memorial Canoe Launch Plans Moving Forward

Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2022
— News

New site plans have been drafted and sent to DCR this week for our newest conservation area on Meadow Road in Montague. We hope for approval this year to begin improving the existing informal trail, creating a scenic sitting area, installing steps up the riverbank to improve access to the launch area, creating a small, unpaved parking area along the road, and adding interpretive and memorial signage for the public. The work to beat back invasive plants along the trails and shoreline will begin in earnest this winter. 

After many years as a leader among local conservationists, paddlers, and runners, Ross passed away in 2020 and his family (including his children, Daniel Ross and Emma Ellsworth, Executive Director of Mount Grace) decided to donate the parcel to Mount Grace so that it can be stewarded in perpetuity.

Emma and the stewardship team recently went to the site to review the new plans for the canoe launch in Ross’s honor. She reflected on the beauty of this place and the memories that she has from years of paddling there, “As we neared the river’s edge, several wood ducks landed down with their familiar squeaks. The early morning sun pierced the lifting fog and revealed the brilliance of the fall foliage reflected in the water’s surface. I recall so many dawn paddles with my father in each season, but Fall was certainly a favorite. We enjoyed sneaking upstream, using eddies to escape the current, and getting lost in the rhythm of our paddle strokes.”

Dr. Allen Ross, an avid paddler who used the property as a canoe launch site for family and friends, protected the parcel in 2001 with a conservation restriction held by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

The work to make this canoe launch open to the community will be a fitting memorial to the legacy Dr. Ross, Emma notes, “This quiet section of river invites the visitor to succumb to the power and beauty of the river and all the wildlife that depend upon it. Dad would be so happy to know he is passing on that love of place to the next generation of paddlers.”

Mount Grace will maintain the land as its newest conservation area— our first with easy access to the Connecticut River.