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The Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was established in 1997 to conserve, protect and enhance the abundance and diversity of native plant, fish and wildlife species and the ecosystems on which they depend throughout the 7.2 million acre Connecticut River watershed. Currently, the refuge is comprised of over 36,000 acres within parts of the four watershed states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut
The 260-acre Fort River Division, located in Hadley, Massachusetts, is named after the major body of water flowing through it: the Fort River. This river is located in the eastern portion of the Pioneer Valley, drains a 35,830-acre watershed, and is the longest free-flowing tributary to the Connecticut River in Massachusetts. There are a variety of habitat types found within this division, including hardwood forest, floodplain forest, and grasslands. A one-mile long, fully-accessible natural trail is located at the Fort River division. The trail is open to the public from sun-up to sun down, year round. This division is open to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, and interpretation. The Fort River Birding and Nature Trail is located at 69 Moody Bridge Road, Hadley, MA 01035.