CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct visitor surveys this spring and summer at the Westville Lake recreation area in Southbridge, Mass., and at Buffumville Lake recreation areas in Charlton, Mass. This is part of a nationwide effort to survey visitors at more than 30 Corps-managed lake site recreation areas. Visitors leaving these recreation areas will be asked about their length of stay and overall experience.
Participation in the survey is voluntary. Surveys at five New England sites in Massachusetts and Connecticut will be on various days and at various times between June 3 and Aug. 30, 2013 (with make-up days between Aug. 31 and Sept. 5): Westville Lake in Southbridge, Mass.; Buffumville Lake in Charlton, Mass.; West Hill Dam in Uxbridge, Mass.; West Thompson Lake in Thompson, Conn.; and Mansfield Hollow Lake in Mansfield, Conn.
Surveys at Westville Lake will be at the recreation area access (Trailhead parking lot). Visitor surveys at Buffumville Lake will be at the boat ramp and the beach park. These surveys will provide the Corps with baseline information to be used for budgeting and planning purposes. The Corps hopes to learn more about visitor recreation habits to better plan for new trends in the way leisure time is spent at Corps recreation sites. Findings will help ensure that recreation facilities at Corps lakes are operating efficiently to maximize visitor outdoor opportunities and enjoyment.
Interns from the Student Conservation Association (SCA) will conduct the short interviews (less than 3 minutes) with visitors. The survey has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The Corps routinely conducts visitor interviews at its lakes and river projects in an effort to gauge visitors’ experiences and concerns. In 2012, similar surveys were conducted by SCA interns involving 108 survey sites at 31 Corps lakes nationwide.
The Corps is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on the survey and Corps recreation sites nationwide, visit www.corpslakes.us/visitorsurvey.
Westville Lake park is at 125 Wallace Road in Sturbridge. There are five miles of stream fishing along the trout-stocked Quinebaug River. The 23-acre lake supports bass, pickerel and perch. A boat ramp is available for use. The area also provides handicap accessible parking, restrooms, numerous picnic tables and charcoal grills. Ball fields, drinking water, boating and hunting areas are available for visitor enjoyment. Trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing also are available. The 1.8 mile community trail is
universally accessible and takes in scenic views of Westville Lake and Westville Dam. The completed 2.0-mile section of the Grand Trunk trail is fully handicapped accessible, one of only two such trails in the Sturbridge area. Two picnic shelters, 30x44-feet and 20x40 feet, can be reserved for a fee. Electrical power is available at both shelters.
Westville Lake dam is 560 feet long and 78 feet high and cost $5.7 million to construct. Its lake can store an 11,100 acre-foot reservoir, which amounts to 3.6 billion gallons of water. It has prevented damages totaling $53.7 million since it was placed in operation in 1962. The reservoir area offers fine recreational opportunities, including picnicking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, boating, and nature study and annually attracts more than 55,000 visitors. For more information on Westville Lake call (508) 347-3705 or access the website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/WestvilleLake.aspx.
Buffumville Lake is off Route 12 in Charlton. The 200-acre lake has a boat ramp and offers fishing for bass, pickerel, perch and catfish. Buffumville Park offers picnicking, a swimming beach, restrooms, and a seven-mile hiking and mountain bike trail. There is a fee to use the park. A volleyball court, two horseshoe pits, as well as two picnic shelters, can be reserved by groups for a fee. At nearby Buffumville Dam, there is a free 27-hole disc golf course and a pond for ice skating in the winter. Hunting is allowed at Buffumville Lake outside developed areas.
Construction of the Buffumville Lake dam on the Little River in Charlton was completed in 1958 at a cost of $3 million. The 12,700 acre-feet of storage at Buffumville is equal to 3.9 billion gallons of water and is impounded by a 3,255-foot-long, 66-foot-high earthen dam. Buffumville Dam has prevented more than $128.6 million in cumulative damages since it was built. Portions of Buffumville Park are handicap accessible. For more information about Buffumville Lake visit the website at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/BuffumvilleLake.aspx or call (508) 248-5697.
For more information about Corps recreation sites in New England District visit the website at