From the Northern Forest Canoe Trail:
WAITSFIELD, Vt.—The 740-mile long Northern Forest Canoe Trail is more accessible for trailside communities and local businesses thanks to the work of more than 80 volunteers and widespread community support in 2011. Spanning the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and the province of Québec, the NFCT links more than 40 communities through a recreational water trail. This year, the trail was named an America’s “Best Canoe Trail” by Outside Magazine.
Trail stewardship is central to the mission of the NFCT, resulting in safe and reliable access to the Trail and linking communities along its route. Thanks to financial support from the Davis Conservation Foundation in Maine, a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission, and the membership of NFCT, large scale projects in eleven locations were completed last summer.
Projects in northern Vermont helped link the towns of East Berkshire and Richford along the Missisquoi River, giving paddlers and residents better access to the river in these locations. “The NFCT is a ribbon that ties communities together,” says Trail Director Walter Opuszynski. “The support we received from these trail towns was tremendous.” Projects occurred in every state the trail passes through from access work in the Adirondacks to work in Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway, where interns improved an historic portage route.
“We worked directly with Gord’s Corner Store in Milan, New Hampshire and now residents and paddlers have better access to the Upper Ammonoosuc River,” continued Opuszynski. The previous access required people to haul themselves and gear up a steep slope. This typically gently flowing river now has critical access for those wishing to experience this part of Coos County.
Kate Williams, Executive Director of Northern Forest Canoe Trail, is thrilled to see a vision for the region coming together, “The trail has always been seen as a way to help empower local communities, and by completing these important projects we are seeing new businesses and partnerships forming that are having a real impact here in the Northern Forest. This is at the heart of the economic development work we do.”