Buffumville Lake, Charlton

Buffumville Lake, Charlton, Mass.

NEWS: Buffumville Lake Park now has an automated fee machine to expand payment options for visitors at the park. The machine accepts all major credit cards. Visitors to the park will receive a receipt upon payment to be placed on their vehicle’s dashboard. Visitors will still be required to stop at the fee booth to listen to park rules. Cash and checks will remain an alternative payment option. USACE annual passes can be purchased from the machine and receipts can be turned in to the fee booth for actual passes. To learn more please click here.

Recreation Opportunities

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Buffumville Lake for year-round recreation. Park rangers are available to assist you during your visit.

The disc golf course at the Buffumville Dam site has 18 professional holes and 12 amateur holes for golfers of all ages. The 7.2 mile Lake Shore Trail starts in the park and extends around the shoreline of the lake. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Park rangers provide special interpretive programs on topics to include natural resources, water safety, and Dam tours.

Buffumville Park is open daily from mid-May through mid-September. The park is a day use fee area containing picnic sites with tables and grills. The Corps maintains a swimming area with a 300 foot long beach. This areas includes two picnic shelters that may be reserved for a nominal fee (www.recreation.gov), a life jacket loaner station, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a handicap accessible comfort station. See below for pricing details.

The outdoor sports enthusiast can hunt, fish and boat at Buffumville Lake. Hunting is not permitted in developed areas of the park and dam site.

A concrete boat launch and culvert underneath Oxford Rd. permits boating on both sides of the lake. The launching land and courtesy dock provide easy access to the lake. Two barrier free fishing platforms are available within the boat launching area. The use of watercraft including motorboats, canoes, kayaks, and other vessels is permitted.

The three-acre island on the south end of Buffumville Lake is available to rent (primitive camping) for up to one week. The island is extremely primitive with four tent sites, a fire ring, wood shed, picnic tables, and an outhouse. Permit holders must have a boat to reach the island.  Reservations for the island start on January 1 of each year, beginning at one minute after midnight. Email us or leave a detailed phone message and you will be registered according to the time your message comes in. See below for pricing details.

All project lands and waters are under the jurisdiction of CFR Title 36 regulations, state and local laws. These Federal regulations are on display in the areas more frequently used by the public and copies are available at the project office.

Reservations and Daily Use Fees

  • Private Vehicle: $5

  • Walk-in/Bike-in: $2

  • Bus/Commercial: $20

  • Annual Pass: $40

  • Boat Ramp: Free

  • Federal Recreation Pass Holders: Free

  • Volleyball court reservation - $15 for 2 hours

  • Horseshoe pit reservation - $15 for 2 hours

  • America the Beautiful passes are available by appointment only

Shelter Reservations

  • Make reservations at www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777

  • "Grove" picnic shelter (60 adults) - $50 per day. Day use fee charged

Special Events

  • Minimum $75.00. Fees may vary. Please contact us for more information.

  • Primitive camping on island- $100 per week (one week maximum).

Natural Resources

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 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 large-mouth 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.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently treating the lake for aquatic invasive plants. These plants include variable milfoil, fanwort, and Eurasian milfoil. These plants are called aquatic hitchhikers because they are spread on the bottom of boats and trailers making it very important to wash off boats every time you enter and exit a water way. Even a small piece of a plant can grow roots and plant itself. During the winter months at Buffumville Lake, the lake level is decreased to expose plants’ root system to the bitter cold. So far, the cold temperatures have been successful in managing the invasive plants around the shore line.


The site where the village of Buffumville was established was first developed as a mill 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 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 satin 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 bought the mill on the Little River to manufacture cashmere (fine woolen goods). Because Mr. Buffum became a prominent and well liked business man, the community around his mill became known as Buffumville.

- Updated: June 1, 2022





Buffumville Lake
48 Old Oxford Road
Charlton, MA 01507
Phone: (508) 248-5697
Fax: (508) 248-1862 
Buffumville Lake Directions