Donated to the Town in 1934, by Swiss émigré and successful South Amherst dairyman Ulysses Groff, this fourteen acre farm parcel on Fort River near Mill Lane was principally intended to be a public swimming hole. The stretch of Fort River above the Grist Mill at Mill Valley had long been called ‘’ Freshman River’’ from a tradition among Amherst College upper class to haze freshmen by giving them an unwilling dunking. Amherst’s public health officials declared Fort River to be insufficiently sanitary for swimming so a project to build a dam on Fort River at the park was abandoned. Instead, Groff Park was developed for ball fields, picnicking and fishing. Located just off Rt. 116 in Amherst, the park is a great destination for picnics, swimming, hiking, walking etc.
The Emily Dickinson Trail, built by the UMass Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, is maintained by the Conservation Department.