Glaciers formed the character of the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area landscape. During the last great ice age, the entire Freedom’s Way area was covered by glacial ice that shifted and alternately pushed forward and receded over hundreds of years. Heavy ice ground down mountaintops rounding their edges. Rivers of moving ice stripped away soil, flattening smaller hills into underlying bedrock kames. Gigantic chunks of rock were torn away and ground into gravel. This movement of water, ice and boulders caused the creation of what is, today, a landscape of undulating hills, monadnocks, fertile valleys, and two large river systems: the Concord/Assabet/Sudbury River and the Nashua River, their tributaries and watersheds. Initially, these rivers served as food source and transportation corridors for the Native Americans and then for the first European settlers. Today their banks welcome outdoor enthusiasts, and canoers once again paddle the river paths.