Paddlers and anglers now have enhanced access to the Connecticut River, thanks to the efforts of Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) and the Woodsville Fire District.
For many years, an informal trail near the community ball fields has provided river access, including during the annual “Paddle the Border” event. However, the trail down to the high water channel was steep and eroding, and foot traffic was damaging tree roots. The NFCT partnered with the Woodsville Fire District to install a set of steps, facilitating access and protecting against environmental degradation. Constructed out of granite curbing, the steps are wide, aesthetic and functional. Protected by large rock “armoring,” they are designed to withstand spring high water and winter ice.
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. While the NFCT route passes to the north of Woodsville, in recent years, the NFCT has also been working on stewardship projects connected either by proximity or shared water bodies, like the Connecticut River.
“This access was identified as a priority for enhancement by Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail partners,” said Noah Pollock, the NFCT’s stewardship director. “Woodsville was a great project partner, helping with permitting, planning and project implementation.”
The Woodsville Fire District’s road crew worked side by side with the NFCT crew. Using a backhoe, webbing and rock bars, it took less than a day to complete the installation of the 10 seven-foot-wide stone steps and adjacent armoring rock.
“Workers with the NFCT’s crew made a challenging project go seamlessly and smoothly,” said Woodsville Fire District Administrator Kevin Shelton. “This upgrade enhances access and adds to the many events that take place on the community field.”
Funding for the project was provided by the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund and donations to the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail Stewardship Fund.
To learn more about the NFCT’s stewardship work, contact Noah Pollock at [email protected].