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Hop Brook Lake, Middlebury, Conn.

Recreation Facilities/Activities

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Hop Brook Lake and Dam located in the towns of Naugatuck, Waterbury, and Middlebury, Conn. The recreation area is open from mid-April through mid-October, from 08:00 a.m. to sunset.

Opportunities for recreation at Hop Brook Lake include over seven miles of trails winding through woods and fields. Canoes, kayaks, and rowboats are welcome on the lake, however motor boats are not permitted.

Fishing is also welcomed at Hop Brook Lake. The lake and its feeder streams are stocked with brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Bass and panfish are also found in the lake.

Tables and grills are available for picnicking. Picnic shelters (four sites) may be reserved for group use by contacting RECREATION.GOV. The beach and swimming area are especially popular during the warm summer months.

Reservations and Fees

All park users entering for any purpose with a motorized vehicle will pay a flat Day-Use Fee charge of $4.00 per vehicle. This includes all buses arriving for any shelter/picnic function, as well as any covered under a Special Use Permit. Individuals entering on foot or non-motorized vehicles will pay $1.00 per person. No age criteria are in effect.

It should be noted that fees will be collected during the designated recreation season only, from the first full weekend before Memorial Day weekend through the weekend following Labor Day between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

  • Canoe Launch - Free with Day Use Fee
  • Ball field - Free with Day-Use Fee
  • Day Use Annual Season Pass - $30.00*

Hop Brook Lake Shelter Reservations:

  • Large Shelter (3) size 30 x 44ft, 1,320 square feet (8 Tables, 2 Grills). $110/day.
  • Small Shelter (1) size 18 x 36ft, 648 square feet (4 Tables, 1 Grill). $85/day.
  • Ball field (1) size 2.99 acres. $50/day.

Picnic shelter reservations can be made by visiting www.recreation.gov, or by calling (877) 444-6777 .

Special Events:

Hop Brook Lake has been a site for special group use events such as scouting, cross-country races and military use. Special Use Permits can be issued for group events of this type. Please call or email.

Interpretive Programs

Park Rangers at Hop Brook lake can conduct on-site, off-site group programs and after school programs upon request. Park Rangers can prepare programs on topics like the Water Cycle, The History of the Corps of Engineers, Dam Tours, and Nature Walks that focus on identifying specific water or natural resources. Rangers can also prepare a program that deals with the Corps of Engineers and its missions, Career as a Ranger and much more. These programs can be tailored to your needs. Hop Brook Lake also provides hikes and talks that focus on merit badges for scouting groups. Our most requested badge programs are the Naturalist, Forestry, and Wildlife Badges.

Natural Resources

Hop Brook Lake is situated in the midst of a growing suburban area. This makes the 536 acres of undeveloped public land at the lake especially important to the surrounding community. The land is not only managed for recreation, but also for the benefit of forest, wildlife, and water resources.

The forest is made up of a wide variety of trees, including white pine, maple, oak, hickory, ash, and dogwood.

Wildlife is abundant in the area. Bird watchers will find many species, including hawks, turkeys, waterfowl, and songbirds. White-tailed deer, beaver, squirrels, chipmunks, and many other animals also make their home at Hop Brook Lake.

To learn more about nature and other subjects, you are invited to participate in the Corps' interpretive programs.

History

On noon of August 20,1955 President Eisenhower declared Connecticut a major disaster area.

For the first 17 days of August over 6 inches of rain had fallen, before noon on the 18th another 8 inches of rain had been recorded. On August 19th at about 1:42 in the morning the river began to rise rapidly. The flood hit with such fury that as many as 500 people in the Waterbury-Naugatuck area had to be rescued by helicopter. In effect the river divided the city in two. The hardest hit areas were the Brooklyn section and the area around Riverside Street. Most of the houses in the North Riverside Street area being of wooden frame construction were quickly washed away. Those that remained were condemned by the Health Department. At about 8:10 the Freight Street bridge collapses leaving only two bridges spanning the river in Waterbury. It was reported that wreckage was found in Long Island Sound, which is approximately 30 miles south of Waterbury.

The river did not begin to return to its banks until 9:00 that night. Brig. Gen. Robert Fleming, Jr., of the Army Corps of Engineers likened the destruction to what he saw when the American forces crossed the Rhine River into Germany during World War ll. The loss of life in Waterbury was 24 killed with 5 listed as missing and 115 injured. The damage total was estimated at 150 million(in the Naugatuck River valley) including 85 buildings destroyed. Although it took a week to restore power, it was well in to September before gas service was restored and municipal water was declared safe to drink.

The cost of building the dams in the Naugatuck river basin was approximately $42 million, and the cost of building the local protection projects was approximately $30 million. The dams have prevented more than $776 million and the local protection projects have prevented $152 million in damages.

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Hop Brook Lake
4 Straits Turnpike
Middlebury, CT 06762
Phone: (203) 729-8840
Fax: (203) 723-9166
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