The NFCT and the town of Gorham teamed up this year to enhance access to the Androscoggin River, with support from the Northern Forest Center and the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
The NFCT’s professional stewardship crew — which consists of a stewardship director, field coordinator and three stewardship interns — worked with local volunteers to install new infrastructure that provides safer access above and below the Gorham Dam. The Androscoggin River is part of the 740-mile waterway trail that connects Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine; the work in Gorham was performed on a section of the Androscoggin just south of the canoe trail itself.
“There was a lot of community enthusiasm for these projects,” said Noah Pollock, the NFCT’s stewardship director. “Despite offering stunning views of the White Mountains, this stretch of the Androscoggin is underappreciated, and makes for a great paddling trip or tubing float.”
The work included three projects: installation of a floating dock at the take-out above the Gorham Dam, construction of new stone steps at the put-in below the dam and improvements to an access near a pedestrian bridge along the Appalachian/Mahoosuc Trail.
“The work has been well received,” Pollock said. “At one of the sites, right as we finished a set of stairs, a neighbor took out his kayak and walked down the steps to the river — it was great for our interns and volunteers to see someone immediately take advantage of their hard work.”
“The town of Gorham played a critical role in making this work happen by providing us with stone and granite for the steps and helping secure project funding,” Pollock added. “The town’s highway department is also pitching in by helping with annual dock installation and removal tasks.”
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 noah@northernforestcanoetrail.