NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (WWLP) – A construction project is expected to begin this month at Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams as part of a redesign plan.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) says the project will take place over three phases and is expected to take several years to complete. The project will address safety and accessibility concerns of metal walkways attached to the stone walls and hanging over the chasm and improve the visitor experience.
Last year DCR had restricted access to hazardous structures in the chasm area which will be removed first. The next phases will include designing, planning, and installing new infrastructure that meets current safety requirements. The process will also include opportunities for engaging with the public and stakeholders.
Natural Bridge State Park has a natural white arch made of 550-million-year-old bedrock marble that was carved into shape by the forces of glacial melt over 13,000 years ago. The bridge spans Hudson Brook as it runs through a steep 60-foot gorge, one of the best demonstrations of glacial erosion in New England. The park contains a marble quarry, glacial “potholes,” and North America’s only white marble dam, built in 1838. This dam was first used to supply water to an industrial quarry mill that operated from 1810 to 1947 when the mill was destroyed in a fire.
“Natural Bridge State Park is a great example of the beautiful natural resources the Commonwealth has to offer,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “The construction starting this spring will ensure that DCR can provide visitors to Natural Bridge State Park with a safe and fun experience.”
The park operates seasonally, from May through October, and will remain open to the public during construction with some restrictions. The pedestrian bridge over the chasm with a view of the marble dam will be accessible, as well as other areas including views of blast rock and marble quarry. The park’s walking trails, Visitor’s Center, and picnic areas will remain open.
The park was privately owned from 1950 to 1983 and operated as a tourist attraction using boardwalks to view the chasm. In 1985 the state bought the property and created the Natural Bridge State Park.
Natural Bridge State Park is located on McAuley Road, North Adams.