Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunny Sunday

Another lovely day of spring!
At 9:45 am, it is 41.7 degrees and rising.
43% humidity
The barometer is 29.35 inches of mercury and rising.
The sky is blue, the sun is out, and it's heading into the 50's today.

While the Cascades are much smaller than they were a week ago, there is still water coming over the falls. The first and secondary stream channels are open with flow in the brook.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Even more weather excellence!

8:30 a.m. conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 37.9°F and rising;
Humidity is 58% and steady;
Pressure is 29.35" and steady;
Wind is stirring, but no reading;
Sun through high altitude clouds;
Cascades Brook is running, mostly in primary channel;
Cascades are running;
USFS Fire Danger us LOW.

Yesterday was busy!
Beams getting hewn, sign posts getting signs mounted, signs being traced, signs being routed, "no dumping" sign posts getting assembled, signs getting treated with wood preservative, and, hugely, the jersey barrier getting picked up and moved by a Sansoucy Stone forklift to close off vehicular access to Cascades East! We had old and new volunteers all in the mix. Thanks to everyone!

Also, our first crocus is up!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

More Gorgeous Weather

8:30 a.m. conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 38.5°F and rising;
Humidity is 60% and steady;
Pressure is 29.29" Hg and steady;
Wind is variable and reading as much as 4 mph;
Skies are clear with sun;
Cascades are running;
Both channels of the Cascade Brook are running;
USFS Fire Danger class is MODERATE.

It is sign day!
Folks will be arriving shortly.

The Cascades Trail is reopened, but very wet in parts.

The metal recycling bin is gone.

Sansoucy Stone is coming to move the jersey barrier this morning. (We will post pictures!)

Things are getting busy!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The bears are waking up!

Quick reminder that the black bears that we have in Massachusetts are waking up and they're hungry. If you have not done so already, bring in your birdfeeders! The birds no longer need supplemental feeding at this point, and the bears are looking for easy snacks.
A few other Eastern black bear pointers:

  • secure your trash outside and be sure your recycling is rinsed well (as well as secured).
  • keep your dogs leased (yes, even and especially in the woods; bears like trails, too!).
  • don't leave pet food out overnight.
We have had, and will continue to have, black bears in Worcester. It's fairly easy for them to get here by following rail lines or the series of forests that come down from the New Hampshire border. Generally speaking, Eastern black bears are shy of humans and will avoid them (note: this is NOT the case of bears in other parts of the country!). Make noise while walking in the woods; leave them alone if you see them in your neighborhood.
More tips on bears from Mass Fisheries and Wildlife here. 

Recycling Day Fallout

9:45 am conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 42.4 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 52% and falling;
Pressure is 29.29: of Hg and steady;
Wind is peaking at 9.5 mph;
The skies are sunny!;
The USFS Fire Danger class is LOW;
The Cascades are running high, but not quite roaring;
The Cascades Brook depth is unknowable as the recent flooding tore off and carried away our stream gauge (we hope to locate it downstream as it is metal and doesn't float.)

One of the more peculiar aspects of maintaining a public access point for open space is managing public trash. There is litter that blows in from the street, litter that is placed quite politely in the small bin (Thank You!), garbage bags that are illegally dumped (many searched by Health & Code for identification to establish dumping fines), and debris that comes from the neighboring properties. We have had a little of each of those this past week.

The part that always gives me pause is that in my anecdotal experience, the day in and day out largest source of litter is from neighbors to open spaces like parks and wildlife conservation areas. That isn't just true here at Cascading Waters. Walk the bound line of any park or open space and you will see that the neighbors are where the garbage action is at. Today touched that point, but in a roundabout way.

Yesterday was recycling day. The recycling sits in open bins for hours along a busy stretch of street where even if there is no wind the passing cars create their own jet stream that carries things around. Recycling guys are like any people, with some very good at their job, and others quite poor. You can tell the quality of the crew by driving a street just after the recycling truck to see what is left behind in the gutters, on the sidewalks, and in the bins. Thankfully neighbors over here straighten up after them on these days. But the flaws in the recycling pickup are not reserved for the bins or the staff. Some people just recycle poorly.

Yesterday a pile of cardboard boxes was left at the curb to our north, and I recall wondering if the recycling guys would bother to take them as they were not broken down. A game of recycling roulette was now in process. This was poor recycling. To the credit of the recycling guys they did grab them, even though they didn't have to. That, however, is only where the adventure begins. Unfortunately, at least one of the boxes was still full of polystyrene packing peanuts. You know, the white, crunchy, "s" shaped bits used for fragile items. (Through some fluke our packages are arriving with potato starch peanuts that melt in water (good fun!) or recyclable air bags. If only there were more folks who shipped with them!) When the boxes were lofted these light-weight bits flew about wherever the wind might take them.

At first I noted 5 or 6 by the entrance drive this morning, so I got out to dutifully pick them up. Sadly, birds, fish, and turtles all think of them as food, and anyone who has ever had a rice cake can understand their impulse. They are not food, they don't break down, and animals can experience starvation if they eat them, fill up, and have no room for actual food. I wanted to keep them out of the Cascades Brook and Cooks Pond and all that is downstream on the way to the Narragansett. Then I turned around, and saw more. I grabbed a bag and began what would take me a good long time hunting down the final destinations of a bulging bag of these squeaky "s"s behind rocks, on the banks of the brook, in the gutter, and anywhere else you might imagine.

Accidents, however regretful, do happen. Poor recycling habits do too. That this was just one day after picking up styrofoam packing blocks, cardboard, and orange peels from the same property line. This was one week after chasing down plastic wrapped cardboard flats from drinking water bottles that were blowing around the neighborhood, again, from the same recycling pile.

If there were any moral to the story it might be this:

When you are visiting any park or wildlife conservation area please keep after your trash and pack it all out with you. From wrappers and bottles, to orange peels and apple cores, to dog poop. Do so to lighten the load because the burden of keeping trash off the properties from neighbors and the less usual occurence of folks dumping is heavy enough. Packing anything out that you can lightens the load and makes all of this work better. Oh, yeah, and mind your recycling bins!

Thanks guys!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Roaring Day II

Thanks to the rains of last afternoon and night the Cascades are still roaring away!

8:00 am conditions:

Temperature is 34.3°F and steady;
Humidity is 97% and steady;
Pressure is 28.97" of Hg and steady;
Wind is stirring but no reading in mph;
The sky is overcast and it is raining lightly;
The Cascades are roaring white magnificently!;
Both branches of the Cascades Brook are in high flood flow creating a small island amidst the chaotic waters;
The USFS Fire Danger class is LOW.

Come see the Cascades in their glory!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cascades are Awesome!

The Cascades are a roaring froth of whitewater this morning!
You can hear them inside houses in the neighborhood.
The long overnight rains set off the snow and ice pack and we are in full Cascade mode presently!
Come soon before the lack of fresh rainfall makes them subside.

9:05 am conditions:

Temperature is 38.3°F and steady;
Humidity is 98% and steady;
Pressure is 28.88" of Hg and falling;
No rain falling at present;
Storing breeze with no reading in mph;
Overcast skies;
Both channels of the Cascade Brook are over their banks;
The USFS Fire Danger is LOW;
The Cascades are in full roar.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


This morning began nicely. Warm temps, no breeze, occasional bright periods in the overcast. Around 1 pm the temperatures dropped, the breeze picked up, and shortly thereafter we had passing sprinkles. That kept ramping up as rain over the course of the day, and right now the rain is falling consistently.

All of this is impacting the falls.

We had some flow with the warmth yesterday that continued into this morning. But the rains had taken it up a notch. By 5:15 pm the flow was pretty audible with only blocks of ice remaining in key spots in the Cascades. As of now, with a half day's worth of rain and warmth, and with all of the snow pack and ice in the upper elevations of the Cascades, we have a fine low roar right now. If the rain persists this will only build, and that is a fine thing to hope for!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Evening Wind!

So far we noted a 34 mph gust at 6:19 pm!

We will append anything higher!
Good fun here in the woods.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sunny delight!

It may be cold, but we have glorious sun!

9:20 am conditions:

Temperature is 27.3°F and rising;
Humidity is 44% and falling;
Pressure is 29.29" of Hg and steady
Wind at 18-19 mph
Bright sun, with high altitude clouds;;
Cascades Brook is running;
USFS Fire Danger is MODERATE.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Another hopeful day start

Temperature is 26.1°F and steady;
Humidity is 69% and steady;
Pressure is 29.15" Hg and steady;
Sky is bright yellow overcast;
No breeze;
The Cascades Brook is running;
USFS Fire Danger is MODERATE.

While rain might be possible today, the start is nice enough! Get out while the getting is good!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Vernal Equinox!

The venal equinox--the official start of spring!--comes in at 12:57 pm Eastern Daylight Time today. Enjoy your exactly 12 hours of daylight today...and the days are just getting longer!
We had some hail in the weather excitement last night, and in most areas, that is still on the ground. Thus the trails are fairly slick this morning.
However, more good news! It's warming up! At 9 am, it is already 35.1 degrees and it is RISING! The high today is forecasted to be as high as 48!
Right now it is overcast and raining with 88% humidity, but that should be clearing over the course of today.
The brook is running; the Cascades are as well, though there is still snow on the falls.
Happy spring!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunnier, Warmer, Hopeful

8:10 a.m. Conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 17.2°F and rising;
Humidity is 47% and steady;
Pressure is 29.44" and steady;
Sunny skies;
There is a breeze but no wind reading;
Cascades Brook is running at 5";
Ground (thus far) is frozen solid;
USFS Fire Danger is MODERATE.

The spring is looking more imminent, he said hopefully, with the temperature not yet even 18°...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Return of the Cold

While last week and this weekend offered glimpses of spring we are squarely back in winter this morning.

The warmth, on Saturday in particular, had the trailhead jammed with hikers and cars.

This morning's conditions as of 9:00 a.m.:

Temperature of 16.7°F and rising;
Humidity of 38% and steady;
Pressure of 29.32" of Hg and steady;
Max wind speed of 13mph;
Mixed sun and overcast;
USFS Fire Danger is LOW;
The Cascades Brook is running.

Tonight it is supposed to dip back down to 9°F! Stock the firewood this afternoon while it is comparatively warm!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Another snowy Sunday

Yet more snow!
For those looking for trail and parking conditions: we run on shovel power around here, so right now we have one parking spot open at the Cascading Waters trailhead. We will endeavor to get more open as the day goes along. Thus far (posting this at 11 am), there has not been activity from Olean to Cataract; the Cascades trail that switchbacks up the falls has also not been active. I can't speak for the Newton trailhead (farther up Cataract), but that's an easier slope if you're going to be breaking new ground.
I've had no reports from those coming in from Boyton Park.
Please recall that the other end of the Cataract trail on Olean is closed.

2 pm update: two parking spaces now open at the trailhead. The trail has been broken in with snowshoes as far as the bridge; the trail has been broken in by hikers (and dog) up the hill, as well.

Sunday, January 19, 2014