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Winnipesaukee River Work Day

Posted: 10/26/2006
By: Mark and Sharon Lacroix

We are looking for some volunteers to help on the Winnipesaukee trail & river maintenance work day scheduled for this Saturday,
October 28th. The Winnipesaukee river is in the process of being shut down to 50 cfs for a two week period to allow for hydro power dam maintenance and river bank cleanup. This is a yearly project that American Whitewater, MVP and AMC have joined efforts with local town organizations to help restore a once badly abused and neglected river.

We started this effort over 20 years ago to help nature remove the many obstacles put up by man in the 18th and 19th centuries. The 1- 1/4 mile section from Cross Mill Rd to Main street in Franklin used to home to over a dozen dams and mill buildings. All those mills were abandoned over 50 years ago. Some were torn down others collapsed or burned. The road accessing those buildings on river right has overgrown. Now there are only two river side remnants of the river's industrial past on this segment, the most obvious one is Coliseum. The dozen or so dam's were breached in flood waters during the 60's and 70's. The main cleanup efforts in the early years were to remove rebar and log cribbing from those dams. Recent years efforts have concentrated on trash removal. Everything from snowmobiles, waterheaters, car parts, oil tanks, lake docks, air conditioners, tires, bicycles etc. have been removed over the last two decades. This effort over the years has really improved this river segment from "something to avoid at all cost" to one of the most popular late spring / early summer runs in the state of NH. As a result of these efforts the towns of Franklin, Northfield, and Tilton have taken notice of the increased use of this resource and have invested millions to improve river access and river trail development. Two years ago the Town of Franklin dedicated Trestle View Park which includes a river side boat ramp that used to be an eyesore of an empty lot at the crumpled remains of the Silver Bullet Chinese Restaurant. How many people remember the broken glass and shopping carts at the take out then having to climb over the crumbling remains of a ten foot brick and stone wall to exit the river.

The Winnipesaukee River Trail was also dedicated two years ago.  This Trail runs along the river left bank of the Winnipesaukee starting at Trestle View Park in downtown Franklin and going all the way to the take out for the upper Winni in Tilton. Many people use this trail to foot shuttle between the takeout and the put in scouting the river as they walk.  In Tilton the town dedicated a new riverside park at the take out for the upper Winni. This park also has a boat ramp take out.  In addition to all this a new initiative is just starting to get  underway to persuade New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to have regular weekend summer and fall releases. More details on this in the upcoming months.

Sharon and I took a walk along the river a couple weeks ago and found little in the way of trash. Also there is very little rebar and cribwork to remove because of past efforts. This year we decided to concentrate our efforts at Coliseum. We would like to build a Trail from the Winnipesaukee trail 30 or so yards down hill to the rivers edge at the scouting eddy above the rapid. We would also like to remove two strainers blocking entrance into the eddy while we are there. The trail will offer an escape for paddlers who may not want to challenge the tougher lower section and also provide access to fishermen, photographers, and sightseers in general. It will also provide easy access to rescue personnel if something unfortunate may happen.

If you want to join us please bring a minimum of working gloves and meet us at Trestle View Park in Franklin at 9am, if late just walk the ½ mile up the trail and join us. Other implements that could come in handy are shovels, rakes, bow saws, chain saws, pruning shears, etc.

Below is the posting from Ken Norten from last week:

The Winnipesaukee River Trail will have their annual trail clean up maintenance day on Saturday October 28, See complete press release below.

Any paddlers interested in participating?

There are a few trees/strainers that could be removed if someone brings a chainsaw.

Also, Mark mentioned there is some interest in improving river access from 3 chimneys/room of doom to the trail for people that want to take out (or put in) there. If we had a few people who wanted to make a concerted effort we could probably make this more accessible.

Thanks too to the individual(s) that opened up a hole in the fence above the eddy before Zippy's. That will also make the trail a little more accessible if someone needs to bail.

If interested in having an MVP crew, we should plan to meet at the Franklin end.

call for more info



Come one and come all to assist the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association with their annual fall clean up and trail maintenance day. This is a rain or shine event which will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2006. Volunteers will gather at both the Northfield (behind the train station) and Franklin (across from Trestle View Park) trail heads to begin clean up efforts on the trail. Participants are encouraged to bring hand tools including rakes, brush cutters, shovels, wheel barrows etc. We also need folks to pick up trash.

Following the clean up, at 11:30, the trail association will hold its annual meeting and election of officers. Refreshments will be served. The meeting will take place at the Franklin trail head by Trestle View Park. For more information about the clean up contact Ken Norton at 286-3890.

The Winnipesaukee River Trail Association is also launching an adopt a section of trail program. We are looking for people to provide ongoing light maintenance and clean up to a one tenth of a mile section of the trail. If you are interested please contact wburns44@.... The Winnipesaukee River Trail currently traverses the old railroad line between Franklin and Northfield.  Future expansion will bring the trail out to Rt. 140 near Exit 20. The River trail will eventually connect with proposed trails in Laconia and Belmont to the east and the Northern Line to the west/north to make a regional trail system. We look forward to seeing you out on the trail!

Mark Lacroix

Thornton, NH

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