Historic Walks - Winnipesaukee River Tour

Winnipesaukee River Trail

Interested in taking a walk or bike ride on a scenic historic trail close to the downtowns of the twin rivers area, yet with the feel of wilderness. A 3 mile trail parallels the Winnipesauke river and passes the historic Sulphite upside down covered bridge believed to be the only one in the country and listed on the national register of historic places. You will also view mill ruins and remaining portions of dams that tell the history of the 5 mills that operated on this river in the mid 19th century. You will overlook the Winnipesaukee river where at any time you may see a kayaker navigating what is becoming a popular kayak spot as the river drops 80 feet in elevation in a little over 4000 feet as it passes through a spectacular gorge. The trail is open to all non-motorized users and runs from the historic railroad trestle in Franklin to the Surrett battery property just off Park Street in Northfield. In that area you can also view the collection of antique rail cars and cabooses that operate on the local scenic railway.

Winnipesaukee River Trail ceremony marks milestone

By ROGER AMSDEN – Union Leader Correspondent

NORTHFIELD — A grand opening ceremony at Tilton-Northfield’s Old Home Day on Saturday will mark the completion of the first phase of the Winnipesaukee River Trail. Funded in part through a grant from the N.H. Department of Transportation as an alternative transportation project, the pedestrian and bicycle trail will eventually extend from Franklin to Meredith. The ceremony marking the completion of the first phase, a 3.1 mile stretch from downtown Franklin to Northfield, will be at 2 p.m. at the former Surrette Battery site near the Northfield train station.

The first section offers spectacular views of a gorge through which the Winnipesaukee River passes on its way into Franklin. The gorge is frequently used by whitewater kayakers. “This whole project is truly an amazing accomplishment achieved entirely by volunteers, from doing preliminary engineering and trail design to writing grants, negotiating easements and fundraising,” says trail committee member Rick Silverberg.

The Winnipesaukee River Trail Association raised more than $80,000 in matching funds for the first phase, enabling the project to qualify for a $250,000 grant. In all more than $930,000 in grants have been approved for different parts of the project. The association is now working to raise $100,000 for the 1.9 mile second phase, which has received a $300,000 grant and will run past Hall Memorial Library and over Arch Park in Northfield before crossing the Winnipesaukee River and following the existing railroad line out to Route 140. The trail will pass through the 30-acre Richard P. Smart Conservation Area along the Winnipesaukee River, which the town of Northfield acquired from Spaulding Youth Center for $22,500 earlier this year. Construction of the second phase will start in fall 2006.

A third section of the trail, which runs through Belmont along Lake Winnisquam, has received a $282,720 federal grant for construction of a multi-use recreation trail. The Belmont Recreational Alternative Transportation Team is in charge of that project and is raising $75,000 in matching funds. In the Laconia area, a group is working to raise $82,000 in funds in order to qualify for a federal grant for the Winnipesaukee, Opechee, Winnisquam (WOW) Trail, which will connect with the Belmont trail near the Belmont town beach and take it all the way through Laconia and Weirs Beach into Meredith. WOW recently hosted a successful fundraiser at the Winnipesaukee Exposition Center in Lakeport. That project is expected to take six years with work beginning in 2007.

At the southern terminus of the trail in Franklin, a $100,000 federal grant was awarded to the city for construction of a trailhead park on land donated to the city by Bob and Andrea Grevior of Grevior Furniture. A landing for taking canoes and kayaks out of the river has already been installed and work is expected to start later this year on a parking lot and restrooms at the park.

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