Connecticut River Project Enhances Access, Safety

A popular portage trail and river access on the Connecticut River received a much-needed facelift in June.

The NFCT, in partnership with a private landowner, restored the Wyoming Dam portage trail, adding a gravel ramp, installing stone steps and replacing a fence. The original trail was built by the NorthWoods Stewardship Center 25 years ago.

“We’ve been working on this trail for a number of years now,” said NFCT Trail Director Noah Pollock. “Taking care of trail infrastructure is important for good landowner relations. We also sought to make access easier and safer for paddlers, anglers and other users.”

This section of river is part of the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail, which begins near New Hampshire’s border with Quebec and continues to the Long Island Sound. Guildhall serves as an important gateway to the river, and many paddlers choose to begin or end a trip here.

The project, part of the NFCT stewardship crew’s early season training program, included the construction of 25 stone steps leading to the river, 150 feet of crushed stone surfacing along the portage trail, replacement of deteriorating split rail fencing and new signage.

One of the primary goals was to increase accessibility for users with varied abilities.

“Many of the original steps had eroded over time and were covered with flood deposited sediments,” said Alex Delhagen, the NFCT’s Assistant Trail Director. “We were also able to establish a more gradual grade, particularly important when carrying canoes, or for those with mobility challenges.”

The project was identified as a priority for the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail during a recent partnership meeting. It builds upon work by the Connecticut River Conservancy to remove dangerous dam remnants at the site in 2023.

The NFCT’s stewardship crew included Pollock and Delhagen, as well as five paid interns — Ethan Campbell, Aviva Elliot, Nick Hall, Audrey Michener, Evan Dietter, and Henry Driscoll. They were joined by Lena Gravenhorst, an international volunteer. The project was supported by the Vermont Watershed Grant Program and the Neil & Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

As the only dedicated water trail crew in the Northeast, the NFCT’s stewardship crew specializes in projects at the interface of land and water, including campsites, portage trails and access points. To learn more about the NFCT’s stewardship work, contact Noah Pollock at