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West Lake is in one of the many sections of The Massachusetts Park System, which make up Sandisfield State Forest. This is a man made lake that was formed by damming the Clam River in 1965 to provide flood control & recreation for the area. The paddling the lake is very easy most days, although the wind can be troublesome at times. To fully circumnavigate West Lake takes a bit over an hour. There are abundant geese, ducks, & herons along with an occasional beaver & deer. On all but the hottest days of the year you will likely be alone on the lake, a family or somebody fishing may show up at the boat ramp, but few stay for very long - a quick dip and back in the car.
Late April to mid- November are the best times to paddle West Lake. Especially at the extremes of this time period the numerous hardwood trees give the lake great color in the fall. & The fields around the lake have many wildflowers in the spring. There are two trails that go to Abbey Lake, which is about a mile away & its worth the portage, being further away from the road & people Abbey Lake has a bit more wildlife & very rarely is there anyone else around.
There are some of the old tree stumps & boulders along the shoreline that would ruin a nice cedar strip or even cause a boat to capsize if the paddlers are not paying attention. There is also what is know as a Morning Glory Dam which presents minimal danger to persons in boat, but a swimmer could get caught up in it and have some serious problems.
The Commonwealth's official line is that overnight camping is not allowed at the park & if one of Environmental Protection Officers were to happen by & you were camping they probably tell you to leave. There are several areas where persons have camped in the past.
Deck Rigging Gear
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