Flood Risk Management
Buffumville Dam is located 1.3 miles above the point where the Little River flows into the French River. Completed at a cost of $3 million, the dam is part of a system of six flood control projects designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Thames River Basin. This system controls flooding from Oxford, Massachusetts, to Long Island Sound. To date, Buffumville Dam has prevented damages of $26.8 million.
Buffumville Lake has a peak storage capacity of 5.2 billion gallons to minimize downstream flooding. At maximum storage, the flood control pool rises 42 feet above the normal recreation pool. This flood water is stored on approximately 500 acres of public land. The U.S. Government purchased the rights to store flood waters on another 273 acres of private land. Much of this flood easement lands borders privately-owned Pierpoint Meadows Pond.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Buffumville Lake for year-round recreation. Buffumville Park is open daily from mid-May through mid-September. The outdoor sports enthusiast can hunt, fish and boat at Buffumville Lake. For your convenience, Buffumville is a barrier-free park. All local and state laws apply.
The park has a 300-foot-long beach with an enclosed swimming area for your safety. People over 12 pay a fee for using the beach. Picnic tables and grills are located throughout the park, and two picnic shelters can be reserved for a fee. A volleyball court and horseshoe pits can also be reserved for a fee.
The seven-mile Lake Shore Trail begins at the beach and goes around Buffumville Lake. Follow the blue blazes. The damsite features a very popular 27-hole disc-golf course.
We have a handicapped-accessible fishing dock on Buffumville Beach.
There is no hunting in the developed recreation areas of the park or at the dam site. A boat ramp and culvert underneath Oxford Road permit boating on both sides of the lake.
Reservations and Fees
We have a three-acre island available to rent for up to one week. It's primitive camping and you have to have a boat for the short trip to the island. Reservations for the island start on January 1 of each year, beginning at one minute after midnight. Leave a detailed-phone message and you will be registered according to the time the call comes in.
Shelter reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 or through www.recreation.gov. This is a national service that will better help you book your day at Buffumville Park.
- Boat and canoe launch - Free.
- Swimming beach - $1.00 (over 12 years and older), up to $4/Vehicle.
- Volley ball court reservation - $15 for 2 hours.
- Horseshoe pits reservation - $15 for 2 hours.
- Primitive camping by special use permit - $50/Group.
- "Grove" picnic shelter reservation (octagonal covered shelter in pine grove which accommodates roughly 60 adults) - $50/Day.
- "Lower" picnic shelter reservation (large covered shelter which accommodates roughly 100 adults) - $70/Day.
Minimum $50/day, but these fees vary, depending on the event. Please call or e-mail for more information.
Almost 500 acres of land and 200 acres of water comprise the natural environment at Buffumville Lake. On the western side of the lake, red oak, white oak and hickory are commonly found. The east side of Buffumville Lake supports white pine and hemlock. Other species often sited along the lake's edge are red maple, alder, and birch as well as other common wetland plants. Deer, rabbits, geese, raccoons, fox and a variety of songbirds are some of the wildlife species inhabiting these natural areas. The lake is a warm-water fishery, with good populations of largemouth bass, pickerel, horned pout, bream and numerous other fish species.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the natural resources at Buffumville Lake for multiple uses: flood control, wildlife habitat, forest production, watershed protection, and outdoor recreation.
Buffumville Lake and Hodges Village Dam have ample opportunities to observe southern New England wildlife in its four season cycle.
At Buffumville, visitors can start now, in the fall, observing the birds that remain here as the leaves shed their protective cover. Who stays? Blue Jay families, juncos, titmice, cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers, red tailed Hawks, Canada geese, to name a few. Who leaves? Warblers, orioles, tanangers, bluebirds, finches, woodducks to name a few more.
Moses Buffum, a successful miller and businessman, was born July 10, 1800 at Smithfield, Rhode Island. He began a hat making business in Slatersville, Massachusetts at the age of 18, and soon became a part-owner of a satinet mill in Millville, Massachusetts. He became the sole owner in 1834, and continued to enlarge his business until his mill burned in 1849.
In 1852, Moses Buffum relocated to Oxford, Massachusetts and started a mill on the Little River manufacturing cassimere (fine woolen goods). The community around his mill became known as Buffumville.
The site where the village of Buffumville was established was first developed as a mill seat in 1812. The 183-acre tract was situated in both Oxford and Charlton. In that year, brothers Alexander and Jonathan Nichols built a dam and sawmill on the Little River. In 1815, they built a two-story house, and in 1818, a gristmill.
Moses continued in his milling business on the Little River at Buffumville until his death in 1874. Moses Buffum was a prominent business man in Oxford. In his "History of the Town of Oxford" (1892), George Daniels has this to say about Moses Buffum: "He had a good business ability and tenacity of purpose, was conscientious and careful for the rights of others, early an anti-slavery man and a Free Soil voter, and was highly respected by all. He was among the most successful businessmen of the town, and died wealthy."