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					VERMONT RIVER CONSERVANCY:
Upper Connecticut River Water Trail
       Strategic Assessment




                    Prepared for




           The Vermont River Conservancy.
                29 Main St. Suite 11
             Montpelier, Vermont 05602

                    Prepared by
                      Noah Pollock
                     55 Harrison Ave
               Burlington, Vermont 05401
       (802) 540-0319 • Noah.Pollock@gmail.com


               Updated May 12th, 2009
                  CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




                                                         TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction ...........................................................................................................................................2
Results of the Stakeholder Review and Analysis .............................................................................5
Summary of Connecticut River Water Trail Planning Documents...............................................9
Campsite and Access Point Inventory and Gap Analysis .............................................................14
Conclusions and Recommendations ................................................................................................29
Appendix A: Connecticut River Primitive Campsites and Access Meeting Notes ...................32
Appendix B: Upper Valley Land Trust Campsite Monitoring Checklist ....................................35
Appendix C: Comprehensive List of Campsites and Access Points .........................................36
Appendix D: Example Stewardship Signage .................................................................................39


                                                              LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Northern Forest Canoe Trail Railroad Trestle ................................................................2
Figure 2: Excerpt From The CRJC Recreation Managementent Plan .......................................10
Figure 3: "Wet Willy" - A Simple Privy For Primitive Campsites ................................................13
Figure 4: Sign In Register ...................................................................................................................13
Figure 5: Upper Connecticut River Regions And Stewards .........................................................15
Figure 6: Canaan To Columbia ........................................................................................................17
Figure 7: Potential Campsites Near Columbia ..............................................................................18
Figure 8: Columbia To Debanville Landing ...................................................................................19
Figure 9: Debanville Landing To Wyoming Dam .........................................................................21
Figure 10: Potential Campsite Near Guildhall ...............................................................................22
Figure 11: Maidstone Bends To Gilman Dam ..............................................................................23
Figure 12: Gilman Dam To Dodge Falls ........................................................................................24
Figure 13: Dodge Falls To Wilson Landing ...................................................................................25
Figure 14: Wilson Landing To Hoyt's Landing .............................................................................27
             UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Figure 15: Hoyt's Landing To Stebbin's Island...............................................................................28
Figure 16: Canaan River Access Signage ........................................................................................30
Figure 17: Old Railroad Trestle Near Maidstone ..........................................................................31


                                                   LIST OF TABLES


Table 1. Upper Valley Land Trust Primitive Campsites ..................................................................6
Table 2. TransCanada Hydro Northeast Connecticut River Facilities ..........................................7
Table 3: River Campsite And Access Point Density Comparisons .............................................12




      FIGURE 1: NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL RAILROAD TRESTLE CAMPSITE




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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Introduction
Report Background
As New England’s longest waterway, the Connecticut River is a rich ecological, cultural, and
recreational resource that connects the people and places through which it passes. With
consistently navigable waters, few portages or difficult rapids, and a rich and varied landscape,
the Upper Connecticut River (defined in this report as the stretch of river dividing Vermont and
New Hampshire) is being increasingly recognized as premier destination for paddler tourism and
recreation. Yet despite the growing need, there is no official water trail. Significant sections still
have limited public access, lack official camping sites, and are inadequately signed for visitors. While
well-meaning recreation development and strategic planning continues by a variety of organizations,
visitors seeking to explore the Upper Connecticut have no designated entity to turn to for guidance,
and landowners and stakeholders who wish to help develop new campsites and access points or have
concerns about impacts have no clear organization to contact.

Over the past ten years, the Vermont River Conservancy has played a role in creating the foundation
for an Upper Connecticut River Water Trail by spearheading the development of new public
access points, primitive campsites, and portage trails in the northern sections of the river. It is now
undertaking an initiative to craft a strategic plan for further developing the recreational resources of
the Upper Connecticut River. This assessment serves as the initial step in this process.
Study Goals
This study builds upon previous planning processes spearheaded by the a Connecticut River
Working Group, the Connecticut River Joint Commissions, the Nulhegan Gateway Association, and
the National Park’s Rivers and Trail Program. It incorporates new field research, analysis and the
results of a range of discussions with area landowners and stakeholders. Its goals were to:

      ϐ Develop a list of organizations who could play a role in the development of an Upper
        Connecticut River Water Trail;
      ϐ Conduct interviews with river stewards and knowledgeable individuals to better understand
        the location of both preexisting and potential campsites and public access points, as well as
        their current owners and management considerations;
      ϐ Assess gaps in camping and access sites, and locate prospective sites within those gaps;
      ϐ Synthesize the findings of previous planning documents and conversations with
        stakeholders to identify relevant guidelines to follow when developing new campsites and
        access points.




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Study Area

This study focused on the Upper Connecticut, defined as the 237 miles of the river between Canaan,
New Hampshire, and Vernon, Vermont. While sections of the Connecticut are navigable upstream
of Canaan, intermittent water levels, dangerous rapids, and frequent portages make these reaches
largely undesirable for paddlers. Vernon is the southern most town on the river within Vermont.


Methodology

Area stakeholders were contacted to help address the study’s goals. Stakeholders included:

     ϐ Kenneth Alton, External Relations Manager, TransCanada Hydro Northeast
     ϐ Bill Bridge, Former Stewardship Coordinator, Upper Valley Land Trust
     ϐ Lou Bushy, Forester, Vermont Deparment of Forests, Parks, and Recreation
     ϐ Jean Dedam, Director, Nulhegan Gateway Association
     ϐ Representative David Deen, River Steward, Connecticut River Watershed Council
     ϐ Monica Erhart, Stewardship Coordinator, Upper Valley Land Trust
     ϐ Jeff Meyers, paddler, former Vermont River Conservancy Director
     ϐ Luke O’Brien, Outdoor Educator, NorthWoods Stewardship Center
     ϐ Walter Opuszynski, Trail Director, Northern Forest Canoe Trail
     ϐ Andy Williams, Executive Director, Hulbert Foundation
     ϐ Adair Mulligan, Conservation Director, Connecticut River Joint Commissions
     ϐ Kevin Rose, Paddleways founder and former VRC board member
     ϐ Bill Schomburg, local paddler and volunteer with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail,
       Nulhegan Gateway Association, and Friends of the Nulhegan
     ϐ Brendan Whitaker, local landowner, Brunswick select board chair, former Secretary of the
       Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
     ϐ Sam Ward, landowner, Guildhall, VT
     ϐ Charlie Wilkinson, seasonal farmer, Singing Cedars Farm, Orwell, VT
     ϐ Kate Williams, Director, Northern Forest Canoe Trail

This study also included two site visits to survey the river with local community members and
visit both existing and potential access points and campsites. It draws extensively from planning
documents prepared by the Connecticut River Joint Commissions, the National Park Service’s Rivers
and Trails Program, the Connecticut River Working Group, and the Connecticut River Watershed
Council’s Connecticut River Boating Guide (3rd Edition).

To aid with strategic planning, a map was created using Google Earth that contains information
on preexisting and potential campsites and access points, details on ownership, and management
considerations.

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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Results of the Stakeholder Review and Analysis
  A myriad of organizations exist which manage access points and primitive campsites, or
       otherwise shape recreation development along the Upper Connecticut River.
In this dynamic, decentralized effort, creating a unified Connecticut River Water Trail must be a joint
effort. However, thanks to a history of collaborative planning, the organizations highlighted below
could become key allies in such an effort.

Connecticut River Working Group (CRWG)
The CRWG is an informal association of non-governmental organizations, local, state and federal
officials, local business owners, and concerned citizens who meet periodically to discuss opportuni-
ties and challenges for managing the recreational resources of the northern reaches of the Upper
Connecticut River. Building on the efforts of the Upper Valley Land Trust, it has developed a stew-
ardship manual for recreational facilities in the region. These guidelines (discussed below) provide a
useful framework for evaluating the establishment of new campsites and access points, and identify
potential management concerns and impacts of existing and proposed facilities to water quality,
wildlife movement, rare, threatened and endangered species, local economies, and other users’ enjoy-
ment of the river and surrounding land.

Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC)
The CRWC has been the Connecticut River’s primary watchdog and steward for more than 50 years.
They advocate for the environmental health of the entire Connecticut River, and publish the Con-
necticut River Boating Guide, an extensive and exhaustive resource for paddlers seeking to explore
the river. In their Connecticut River Recreation Management Plan, the Connecticut River Joint
Commissions identified the Connecticut River Watershed Council as a logical partner in the develop-
ment of a water trail. However, conversations with the CRWC River Steward for Vermont and New
Hampshire suggests they currently do not have the capacity to serve as managers for a Connecticut
River Water Trail, but are willing to work collaboratively with other organizations seeking to spear-
head such an effort.

Connecticut River Joint Commissions (CRJC)
The Connecticut River Joint Commissions serves as the primary network fostering collaborative
planning efforts for the Upper Connecticut River. Created in the late 1980s by Vermont and New
Hampshire, these advisory commissions advocate for the river while ensuring public involvement in
decisions which affect the valley. The CRJC’s recently updated Connecticut River Recreation Man-
agement Plan, based on discussions by the CRJC’s five local river subcommittees, presents a sum-
mary of the river’s recreation-related issues. They also post maps and river descriptions from the
CRWC guidebook on their website.




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT)
The Upper Valley Land Trust works to protect the working farms, forested ridges, wildlife habi-
tat, water resources, trails, and scenic landscapes of the Upper Connecticut River, including ripar-
ian habitat along the 85 miles stretch of river between Ryegate, Vermont, and Charlestown, New
Hampshire. In the early 1990s, the Upper Valley Land Trust was instrumental in the establishment
of a series of twenty-one primitive campsites along the Connecticut River. Their management and
monitoring protocols serve as the model for both the National Park Service’s “Connecticut River
Primitive Campsites Stewardship Guidelines” and the Connecticut River Working Group's "North-
ern Connecticut River Recreational Facility Stewardship Guidelines."
From the late 1990s to 2006, the UVLT hired a full-time staff person (as part of their community
relations program) to develop new campsites and trails on conserved lands. In 2006, the UVLT
reevaluated their Connecticut River campsite program, and made the decision to only actively man-
age the six campsites and two public launches on properties protected with UVLT conservation
easements (Table 1). Arrangements were made for other sites to be maintained by other organiza-
tions, including TransCanada Hydro Northeast, the Piermont Conservation Commision, the Anti-
och Paddlers Club, and local landowners. However, several of the original campsites have not been
maintained in recent years and no longer appear in current maps or river guides. Furthermore, some
of the campsites indicated in river guides are no longer being stewarded, and their fate is uncertain.
Campsite management currently falls under the auspices of Monica Erhart, UVLT’s Stewardship
Coordinator, who enlists volunteers to visit each campsite approximately once a month during the
summer season. Volunteers are responsible for monitoring impacts and checking the condition of
campsite signage, logbooks, and privies. Establishing new campsites or access points is not part of
the UVLT long-term strategic plan, as the density of campsites and access points within their geo-
graphical region is sufficient to meet current demand.

 TABLE 1. UPPER VALLEY LAND TRUST PRIMITIVE CAMPSITES AND ACCESS POINTS
 Campsite Name                                      Location
 Burnham Meadow Group Campsite                      Windsor, VT
 Burnaps Island Campsite                            Plainfield, NH
 Roaring Brook Campsite                             Ely, VT
 Birch Meadow Campsite                              Ely, VT
 Vaughan Meadow Campsite                            Newbury, VT
 Knoxland Farm Cartop Boat Launch                   Newbury, VT
 Hewes Brook Cartop Boat Launch                     Lyme, NH
 Harkdale Farm Campsite                             Newbury, VT


Local and County Governments
A handful of New Hampshire towns, including Colebrook, North Stratford, Lyme, and Lebanon,
have also developed public river access sites in their communities. Some local municipalities have
established primitive campsites as well. For example, the town of Columbia’s Conservation Com-
mission recently established a paddler campsite on town-owned land. In addition, New Hampshire’s
Grafton County allows camping on Howard Island, and the town of Piermont enlists its local con-
servation commission to manage the former UVLT Underhill Campsite.



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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT)
Since 2000, the NFCT has been working to develop new access points and canoe campsites along
the 740-mile water trail, which follows the Connecticut River for 20 miles from the confluence of
the Nulhegan River in Bloomfield, Vermont, to the confluence with the Upper Ammonoosuc, near
Groveton, NH. They have been working with landowners to develop two campsites in this reach
and to improve access in Stratford, New Hampshire. Recently, they have been assisting the town of
Colebrook to establish a “spur trail” north of Bloomfield, and will be constructing a new site in the
Maidstone Bends region during the summer of 2009. The NFCT hires interns and enlists volunteers
to complete stewardship projects along the trail each summer.

The Vermont River Conservancy
In recent years, the Vermont River Conservancy has played an important role in conserving riparian
resources and creating new public access points and primitive camping facilities for paddlers along
the northern section of the Connecticut River. Their efforts helped establish a paddler campsite at
Lyman Falls, a public access at Debanville Landing in Bloomfield, and a formal portage and take-out
at Wyoming Dam, in Guildhall. In addition, they have also recently purchased conservation ease-
ments for several parcels along the Nulhegan River near its confluence with the Connecticut River in
Bloomfield.

TransCanada Hydro Northeast
Since the 1970s, hydroelectric companies have offered public access and provided primitive camping
on the Connecticut River at many of their properties, which span from north of Canaan to Vernon.
Currently, TransCanada Hydro Northeast, which owns the majority of the river’s dams, provides 14
public access points, three primitive campsites for paddlers, and seven picnic areas along the river
(Table 2). In addition, they are actively developing an additional campsite on the Moore Reservoir.
Essex Hydro also provides a primitive campsite at their property at Dodge Falls. While these compa-
nies are willing to provide locations for primitive campsites and develop the necessary infrastructure,
they generally do not have the capacity to provide ongoing site maintenance and upkeep.

TABLE 2. TRANSCANADA HYDRO NORTHEAST CONNECTICUT RIVER FACILITIES
 Lakes Region
 Second Lake Dam Picnic Area                                   Picnic Area
 Second Lake Picnic and Boat Launching Area                    Access Point
 First Lake Dam Picnic and Boat Launching Area                 Access Point
 Island Picnic Area                                            Picnic Area
 Moore Reservoir Region
 East Concord Gilman Boat Launching Area                       Access Point
 North Littleton Picnic and Boat Launching Area                Access Point
 Visitor Center and Picnic Area                                Picnic Area
 Dodge Hill Picnic and Boat Launching Area                     Access Point
 Pattenville Picnic and Boat Launching Area                    Access Point
 Island Picnic Area                                            Picnic Area
 Waterford Picnic and Boat Launching Area                      Access Point




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Comerford Reservoir and McIndoes Dam
Waterford Bridge Boat Launch                                  Access Point
Pine Grove Picnic and Boat Launching Area                     Access Point
McIndoes Dam Picnic Area                                      Picnic Area
Wilder Dam Region
Wilder Picnic Area                                            Picnic Area
Olcott Falls Boat Launching Area                              Access Point
Fishermen's Parking and Access                                Access Point
Visitor Center and Fish Ladder                                Picnic Area
Gilman Island Canoe Rest Area                                 Campsite
Lebanon Picnic Area                                           Picnic Area
Hartland Falls Picnic Area                                    Picnic Area
Charlestown Lower Landing Picnic and Boat Launch              Access Point
Pine Street Boat Launching Area                               Access Point
Visitor Center and Fish Ladder                                Picnic Area
Governor Hunt Picnic and Boath Launching Area                 Access Point
Vernon Glen Picnic Area                                       Picnic Area
Hinsdale Canoe Rest Area                                      Campsite
Stebbin's Island Canoe Rest Area                              Campsite


The NorthWoods Stewardship Center

The NorthWoods Stewardship Center, located in East Charlestown, Vermont, is an active supporter
of paddler recreation in the Northern Forest. The center regularly provides guided trips along
the Connecticut River. In addition, their Kingdom Corps program hires local youth to provide
conservation, restoration, and stewardship services for area partners during the summer.

The State of Vermont
The State Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation currently owns and manages several access
points, including sites in Bloomfield, North Thetford, and Pompanoosuc. In addition, they provide
primitive, river-assessible only camping facilities at Lyman Falls State Park and hold a public access
easement for a working forest currently owned by Plum Creek. The Department of Transportation
also provided land for a portage trail and river access in Guildhall, near the breached Wyoming Dam.

The State of New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game provides access at Arlin Brook, in Colebrook,
and at a public launch in Lebanon. The state’s Department of Resources and Economic Develop-
ment's Parks and Recreation Division also has established boat access at Bedell Bridge State Park in
the town of Haverhill.

Private Landowners and Organizations
Several private landowners also provide camping and access on their properties independent of any
partner organization. For example, several landowners informally allow local paddlers to camp at
their properties near Columbia, New Hampshire. The late Sherry Belknap also established a primi-


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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



tive campsite at the confluence of the Nulhegan and the Connecticut. A private campground is
located along the river in Orford, New Hampshire. Dartmouth Outing Club provides access at their
Ledyard Canoe Club. Finally, the Student Conservation Association allows the public to camp on an
island they own near Charlestown, New Hampshire.

The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Land Trust
The Nature Conservancy has recently embarked on a long-term project to conserve habitat along
the Connecticut River in the Maidstone Bends region of the river. The Vermont Land Trust hold
easements on riparian lands owned by the Meadowsend LLC, a timber management fund. However,
to date, river access or primitive camping facilities have not been developed for these parcels.

Connecticut River Byways
The U.S. Department of Transportation has recognized the Upper Connecticut River as a National
Scenic Byway. As part of this grassroots collaborative effort, the federal government provides fund-
ing to help “preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities of designated byways” –
including Route 102 in Vermont, and Routes 145 and 3 in New Hampshire. This designation, largely
due to the efforts of the CRJC, may provide a mechanism to fund access improvements and the
installation of wayfinding signage for the Upper Connecticut River.

The Nulhegan Gateway Association
The Nulhegan Gateway Association is a nonprofit supported by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
and Businesses for the Northern Forest. Its mission is to “coordinate community and economic de-
velopment that will support the region's environmental stewardship and unique traditional character
through education and advocacy activities” in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Its four committees
(Heritage Trails, Recreation, Education, and Entrepeneur Development) meet regularly to develop
new initiatives for the region.


Summary of Connecticut River Water Trail Planning Documents

Several previous planning documents provide useful context for this strategic assessment. Key
insights from the 2009 CRJC Recreation Management Plan, the Connecticut River Work Group's
Northern Connecticut River Recreational Facility Stewardship Guidelines, and the National Park
Service's Connecticut River Primitive Water Trail Campsite Stewardship Guidelines are presented
below.

CRJC Recreation Management Plan
In January of 2009, the CRJC released a revised version of their Connecticut River Recreation Man-
agement Plan. This 94-page document, which represents an update of the 1997 Connecticut River
Corridor Management Plan, was written based upon discussions held by the CRJC and its five local
river management advisory subcommittees. The report highlighted the following pressing concerns:



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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT


ϐ Access to private land traditionally
                                                      FIGURE 2: EXCERPT FROM THE CRJC
  available for public use is becoming
                                                      RECREATION MANAGEMENT PLAN
  increasingly limited
ϐ Funding for land conservation to benefit       "Despite these efforts and the campsites' success,
                                                    there is currently no coordinated management
  public recreation is essential
                                                  of the Connecticut River Water Trail. A variety of
ϐ User pressure is increasing at existing           organizations are bombarded with requests for
   campsites                                       information. Effective coordination is needed to
ϐ Responsible management of riverfront              create and maintain relations with landowners,
                                                select appropriate campsite locations, and maintain
   land is critical
                                                   and monitor existing campsites, using common
The report makes several recommendations,          standard and practices. A process is needed for
including expanding public river access for       addressing unauthorized campsites and access. A
car-top boats and establishing guidelines for    central clearinghouse is needed to handle inquiries
building new campsites. It highlights the need about the river and the campsites from those who
to establish new campsites, particularly in the    wish to experience the Connecticut River in this
sixty mile stretch below Maidstone where no        way. Decisions need to be made about the best
                                                   way to provide information to users and protect
official campsites have been established.
                                                the campsites' appeal without promoting the water
This plan advocates for more aggressive                         trail beyond its capacity"
management of invasive species. In particu-
lar, there is a need for new education efforts, boat wash stations, and lake host programs. Conserva-
tion commissions could regularly monitor for outbreaks at town properties and boat launches. The
report also calls for coordinated management of the Connecticut River Water Trail (See Figure 2).

Connecticut River Working Group's "Northern Connecticut River Recreational
Facility Stewardship Guidelines"
On June 1st, 2006, the Nulhegan Gateway Association convened a meeting of landowners, public
officials, river organizations, area businesses, and citizens to discuss current usage of the river
for recreational purposes with a focus on primitive camping and car-top boat access points (See
Appendix A for the meeting notes). Participants at the meeting felt that the recreational use of the
river is still low impact, and paddlers using the river above Maidstone are "generally well behaved.”
However, campers don’t always ask permission when using private land, and many do not realize
that most of the land is privately owned. Some paddlers fail to practice "leave no trace" ethics, and
leave behind trash, beer cans, tent stakes and other metals. Meeting attendants also felt that the state
of Vermont has been slow with installing new river access points. In particular, participants felt
that additional access is desirable between Guildhall and Maidstone bridge. In terms of campsite
arrangements, participants remarked that arrangements must be “solid,” and recommended setting
group size limits. Participants indicated that all campsites should have a manager, which can become
cumbersome to orchestrate.
The group has summarized their findings into a set of guidelines designed to help partners manage
access and campsite development for the northern Connecticur River, which they defined as the
region between the Connecticut River's source in northern New Hampshire and the town of Barnet,
Vermont. The report provides useful recommendations on identifying and developing access points
and campsites, and provides guidelines for campsite maintenance and monitoring. It highlights the


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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



need to be mindful of other recreational users, rare, threatenned, or endangered species, wildlife
movement corridors, and historically significant archeological sites.

National Parks Service's Rivers and Trails Program's “Connecticut River
Primitive Campsites: Campsite Stewardship Guidelines”
In 2000, the National Park Services River and Trails Program undertook a process to establish a
manual for developing new campsites for the Upper Connecticut River. It provides a set of stan-
dards for designing, building, and maintaining campsites. The summary of their suggested standards,
along with insights gleaned from conversations with NFCT and UVLT staff, are presented below.

Recommendations for Securing Public Access Agreements
The Campsite Stewardship Guidelines lay out five approaches to establishing agreements with land-
owners to develop campsites on private land:
      ϐ Informal handshake agreements
      ϐ Letter of agreement for a specified period of time with an option for renewal
      ϐ Leases
      ϐ Easements that allow for the establishment of campsites
      ϐ Outright acquisition of the property at issue
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail relies exclusively on informal handshake agreements when devel-
oping new campsites. On the other hand, the UVLT now only manages campsites protected with
a recorded easement. In many situations, beginning with an informal agreement is a useful starting
point as a way for both parties to explore what a long-term arrangement could look like. Handshake
agreements, letters of agreements, and leases provide a mechanism enabling landowners to become
familiar with potential canoe camping and stewardship arrangments. In general, establishing a formal
easement or outright acquistion of the parcel should be the ultimate goal of any campsite develop-
ment project to ensure permanence.

Site Spacing
The National Park Service’s River and Trails Program recommends establishing campsites at a
density of one every five miles, a distance which allows for flexibility in trip planning, for if one site
has reached capacity, it would be possible for paddlers to reach a further site before nightfall. This
is close to the frequency of campsites in the stretch of river where the UVLT has focused its con-
servation efforts; there are currently 13 campsites in the 72-mile stretch between Dodge Falls and
Burnap Island, for a camping density of 1 campsite every 5.5 river miles.
For comparision, the current campsite density between Canaan and Dodge Falls, north of the
UVLT campsites, is one campsite every 11.3 river miles. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is working
to ensure primitive camping is available, at a minimum, at spacing of one campsite for every 10-15
miles along the 740-mile waterway. However, as seen in Table 3, many places along the NFCT have a
much higher campsite density. For example, on the popular Raquette River, 20 campsites are situated
in the 25-mile stretch between Long Lake and Indian Carry.


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            UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




 TABLE 3: RIVER CAMPSITE AND ACCESS POINT DENSITY COMPARISONS
                                                                Length        Offical         Access
              River                     Description
                                                                (miles)      Campsites        Points
                                     Wild and scenic river
 Raquette River: Long Lake to
                                      on the edge of the           25             20             3
   Indian Carry, New York
                                    Adirondack High Peaks
                                 Rural river flowing through
 The Saranac River, New York     a mix of private and public       63             10             8
                                              land
                                   Scenic and meandering
   The Clyde River, Vermont       river flowing through the        31              4            13
                                     Northeast Kingdom
                                    Remote and wild river,
 The Allagash River: Umsaskis
                                       popular paddling            50             45             2
   Lake to Allagash Village
                                           destination
                                 Rural river flowing through
 Connecticut River: Vermont
                                    predominately private          237            26            60
    and New Hampshire
                                             lands

Site Size
The River and Trails program recommends establishing campsites large enough to accommodate
five to six two person tents. However, the experience of the UVLT and the NFCT suggests smaller
campsite sizes may be more appropriate, depending on site characteristics and the desires of land-
owners. One approach is to set clear size limits for campsites, and to provide a mix of large group
and small group campsites, depending on site conditions and landowner concerns.

Site Access
The stewardship guidelines recommend developing sites with limited access from the land as a tool
for discouraging day use and car camping and decreasing the burden on the site. The best sites al-
low for a land route for campsite maintenance, but not for other users. River access should provide
safe landing at a variety of river conditions while providing good drainage during rain events or high
water conditions.

Archeological Sites
Given the importance of waterways as a route of travel for Native Americans, occasionally ideal
campsite locations have important archeological significance. The guidelines recommend consulting
with state historical preservation experts to determine if campsite construction is appropriate.

Site Infrastructure
The stewardship guidelines call for installing a privy, register box, picnic table, and wayfinding
signage. Some sites also may be suitable for fire rings. These guidelines are similar to the approach


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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



used by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Upper Valley Land Trust.
Privy: Depending on the level of use, site characteristics, and the preferences of land owners,
the NFCT and the UVLT either install a traditional outhouse, a composting outhouse, or a “wet
willy.” Outhouses are a traditional approach to managing waste, and are often preferred by state
agencies. However, in situations with high use, the waste is slow to biodegrade and can pollute
local water supplies. Composting systems are becoming increasingly common in the backcountry.
Typically providing a mechanism for aeration and the addition of carbon, composting toilets are
a clear improvement over traditional outhouses. However, the construction and maintenance of
composting systems is slightly more involved. A wet willy (Figure 3) is a simple form of compost-
ing toilet ideal for very lightly used sites. Designed to be installed over shallow holes where soil
microbes can effectively breakdown waste, wet willys need to be rotated to different sites on a
regular basis. Wet willys also have the advantage of being easily to move to high ground during the
off-season.

        FIGURE 3: "WET WILLY" - A SIMPLE PRIVY FOR PRIMITIVE CAMPSITES




Sign in register boxes: Register boxes provide a system to measure campsite use and collect
visitor comments. They also provide a location to post
campsite rules and guidelines, a campsite map, and          FIGURE 4: SIGN IN REGISTER
organizational information (Figure 4). The UVLT also
used the register box as a place to put donation envelopes.
However, in their experience, these envelopes are rarely
utilized.
Picnic table: The NFCT and the UVLT typically provide
picnic tables at their campsite locations. Picnic tables help
paddlers identify the site and, according to paddler feed-
back, are a much-appreciated amenity. However, they can
be subject to vandalism. Indeed, a picnic table installed at
the NFCT railroad trestle campsite near Maidstone was
tossed in the river, only to appear at a river bank down-
stream! The NFCT builds picnic tables on site using the


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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT


help of volunteers during “waterway work trips” which building community and a sense of river
stewardship.
Fire rings: Fires are generally discouraged at both NFCT and UVLT sites, particularly those con-
structed on private property. Instead, campers are encouraged to use portable stoves for cooking.
However, several sites do have fire rings, as campers are often accustomed to building campfires
during their paddling trip. As such, campfire rings should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Signage: A variety of signs are recommended for the Connecticut River Primitive Campsites:

      ϐ Yellow Target Signs, to help paddlers identify campsites from the river
      ϐ Boundary Signs, which inform users of the campsite limits to discourage trespassing on
        neighboring property or into ecological sensitive areas
      ϐ A Privy Sign, as when privies are located away from the campsite, signage can help camp-
        ers locate it
      ϐ Stewardship Guidelines, containing rules for camper etiquette and behavior (See Appen-
        dix D for examples)

Campsite Maintenance and Monitoring
The Rivers and Trails program recommends regular visits to campsites. Both the NFCT and the
UVLT enlist the help of local volunteers for maintenance and monitoring tasks. Typically, campsites
are first visited in late April or early May, at least twice during the summer season, and are closed
for the season in late October. The UVLT provides a site visit report for volunteers to fill out dur-
ing each visit. A checklist for tasks to be completed by volunteers is included as Appendix B in this
report.


Campsite and Access Point Inventory and Gap Analysis

River Overview
By combining a review of published guides and maps with conversations with area landowners and
site visits, this study has established an inventory of both official and informal campsite and public
access for the Upper Connecticut. To aid in collaborative planning, the results of this inventory are
summarized below, and are also available as a Google Earth document. Approximately 26 public
campsites and 60 offical access points currently have been established in the 237-mile stretch of the
river between the towns of Canaan and Vernon. However, not all of these sites are regularly main-
tained. Several informal campsite and access points are also in existence without formal agreements
with landowners. Through most of the river, public access is sufficient to meet current demand. .
Particularly in the northern reaches, the availability of official designated campsites remains limited.
The largest gaps in official campsites sites incude:
      ϐ Canaan to Columbia (15 miles)
      ϐ Maidstones Bends to Gilman Dam (35 miles)


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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT


     ϐ Gilman to Dodge Falls (29.5 miles)
     ϐ Walpole to Brattleboro (17 miles)
One can divide the Connecticut River’s campsite system into three regions (Figure 5). North of
Bath, New Hampshire, campsites are sparse. Those that have been developed have been developed
by the NFCT, VRC, local conservation commissions, and state agencies. The Connecticut River
Working Group has been working to encourage collaborative planning in this area. The region
stretching from Bath, NH, to Charlestown, NH, has the highest density of campsites, thanks to
the UVLT conservation and stewardship efforts in this region. Farther south, a modest amount of
public campsites have been built, primarily on TransCanada Hydro Northeast’s property. Each of
these sections is explored in further detail in the following section of this report, and Appendix C
contains a comprehensive list of access points, campsites, their ownership and river location.


         FIGURE 5: UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER REGIONS AND STEWARDS


                                                            Connecticut River Working
                                                              Group; Vermont River
            Northern Forest Canoe Trail                           Conservancy




                                                Bath, NH.




 Upper Valley Land Trust




            Charlestown, NH.


                                      TransCanada Hydro Northeast




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Canaan, VT to Columbia, NH (14 miles)
Canaan, Vermont, just downstream of Beecher Falls, marks the first consistently navigable reach on
the Connecticut River. It alternates between swift and flat waters as it meanders through a series of
agricultural valleys. Access is generally adequate in this reach. In Canaan, paddlers can put in at the
bridge or at a wastewater treatment facility just south of town. Seven miles to the south, in Cole-
brook, access is possible at a New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife access near Arlin Brook. Both the
towns of Colebrook (12 miles south of Canaan) and Columbia (four miles south of Colebrook)
provide access near bridge abutments. However, wayfinding and paddler etiquette signage for many
of these access points (particularly Arlin Brook) is very limited.
Official campsites are limited to a single primitive site established in 2008 by the town of Columbia’s
Conservation Commission on a town-owned parcel one mile north of the town center (Figure 6).
Local paddlers also report using informal campsites at an island downstream of the Canaan waste
water treatment plant, and at a well-established site on private property further down river. In addi-
tion, a landowner permits local paddlers to camp at his property near the border of Columbia and
Colebrook, NH. However, none of these sites are officially designated or advertised to the public.
In 2002, Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose paddled this stretch of the river, and identified over thirty
potential campsites. Camping at these site was identified as phyiscally possible. However, no contact
or commitment was made with the landowners. In particular, of the sites they identified, six sites
situated at two river bends (Figure 7) would be well placed to reduce the gap in camping options.
The VRC is also in communication with landowners at a site in Lemington, Vermont. At 13.5 miles
downstream of Canaan, this site is well situated within a day of paddling from either Canaan or
Colebrook.

Recommendations
      ϐ Improve wayfinding and paddler etiquette signage at all access points, especially at Arlin
        Brook
      ϐ Establish a primitive campsite in Lemington
      ϐ Promote and improve signage for the Columbia campsite
      ϐ Initiate discussions with local landowners who own sites where informal camping already
        exists, with the goal of establishing official campsites and regular maintenance visits
      ϐ Visit the six sites identified by Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose indicated in Figure 7




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UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



                         FIGURE 6: CANAAN TO COLUMBIA




           LEGEND
   Established, offical campsite

   Established, informal campsite (no
   offical approval from landowner)
   Potential Campsite (Identified by Jeff
   Meyers and Kevin Rose as physically
   possible, but no contact or commitment
   established with landowner)

   Potential Campsite (Contact made with
   landowner by the VRC, but no commitment
   established)

   Boat Launch (Improved ramp)


   Boat Launch (Hand carry only)




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




                   FIGURE 7: POTENTIAL CAMPSITES NEAR COLUMBIA


                                                                             LEGEND


                                                                   Potential Campsite (Identified by Jeff
                                                                   Meyers and Kevin Rose as physically
                                                                   possible, but no contact or commitment
                                                                   established with landowner)




Columbia, NH to Bloomfield, VT (11 miles)
In this eleven mile stretch of river, the Connecticut River is dominated by swift water as it transi-
tions from a mountain stream to a rural river that meanders through a classic New England land-
scape of dairy farms and riparian woodlands. Access is possible at the Columbia Covered Bridge,
at the Debanville Landing in Bloomfield, and at a town-owned park in North Stratford (Figure 8).
While a Northern Forest Canoe Trail kiosk is located close to the Debanville Landing site, signage is
limited at other locations. The town of Columbia has been in discussion with a landowner of a site
near Lyman Falls who is willing to provide both access and camping. However, access is only pos-
sible by crossing through a separate property, which has stalled efforts to move forward with con-
servation. The state of Vermont also holds a public access easement on lands currently owned by
Plum Creek adjacent to the river. This potential access has not been formalized.




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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




                          FIGURE 8: COLUMBIA TO DEBANVILLE LANDING



              LEGEND

           Established Campsite

           Potential Access Point (Not
           officially established)

           Boat Launch (Improved ramp)


           Boat Launch (Hand carry only)




A much-appreciated campsite established with the assistance of the VRC at Lyman Falls provides
the only camping options in this section. While a primitive campsite has also been built just up-
stream of the confluence of the Nulhegan on the property of the late Sherry Belknap, signage and
sanitary facilities are currently nonexistent. In addition, as it is close to Rt 102, this site may also have
limited appeal to most paddlers. Its ease of access from the road could also lead to use by non-pad-
dlers. Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose identified approximately twenty other potential campsite locations
in this section of the river, which could be useful as alternatives to the Nulhegan campsite.

Recommendations
      ϐ Install signage at the Columbia Covered Bridge Access Point
      ϐ Provide assistance to the the town of Columbia as it works to protect property near Lyman
        Falls
      ϐ Further investigate campsites identified by Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose north of Debanville
        Landing
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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Debanville Landing to Wyoming Dam (26 miles)
Much of this section is managed as a “natural segment” for exclusive use by nonmotorized craft.
Wildlife abounds, and views of Bear Mountain and the Percy Peaks provide a beautiful backdrop
for river excursions. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail follows this reach for the first twenty miles
from the confluence of the Nulhegan to the mouth of the Upper Ammonusuc. In the past three
years, the NFCT has been instrumental in improving signage, access, and primitive campsites in this
region.
Public access can be found in Bloomfield, North Startford, Maidstone, and Guildhall (Figure 9). In
2006, Ross Stevens at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center was contracted to improve access at the
Maidstone Bridge (nine miles south of Bloomfield) by installing a set of timber cribbed stairs down
the steep bank. 14 miles to the south, Wyoming Dam, in Guildhall, is a logical take out point and
necessary portage, as the breached Wyoming Dam is a hazard due to rebar jutting into the river. A
steep, worn, and clear marked portage trail is on the Vermont side, on private land donated by the
owners and the Vermont Agency of Transportation. According to notes from a meeting convened
by the Nulhegan Gateway Association, additional access is desired between the Maidstone bridge
and the town of Guildhall. Land adjacent to a stock car race track near Groveton is one possibility
worth exploring.
Mary Sloat, a NFCT board member, provided land near a former railroad trestle as a site for a
primitive campsite, which was developed through the assistance of volunteers during an NFCT’s
“waterway work trip” in 2006. Recently, area farmer Ray Lovell granted permission to the NFCT to
establish a campsite on his property in the Maidstone Bends region. A group of interns and vol-
unteers will build a privy, picnic table, and register box at the site this summer. Additional campsite
options are plentiful in this reach; Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose identified nearly seventy potential
campsites during their river trip. Several of their identified sites are in the Maidstone Bends region
near Groveton, NH, where conservation is being actively pursued by the Nature Conservancy. How-
ever, their current strategic plan does not call for developing campsites for paddlers.
A prominent kiosk has been installed by the NFCT at Debanville Landing, which contains informa-
tion on the area's history, waterways, local businesses, paddler ethics, and invasive species. Limited
signage has also been installed at the Maidstone and Wyoming Dam access points. No signage has
been crafted for the North Stratford launch.




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



v
                   FIGURE 9: DEBANVILLE LANDING TO WYOMING DAM




                      LEGEND

              Established, offical campsite

              Established, informal campsite (no official
              permission granted by landowner)
               Potential Campsite (Identified by Jeff
               Meyers and Kevin Rose as physically
               possible, but no contact or commitment
               established with landowner)

               Boat Launch (Improved ramp)

               Boat Launch (Hand carry only)




Recommendations
      ϐ Install erosion control measures on the Wyoming Dam portage trail
      ϐ Work with the Nature Conservancy to explore the feasibility of creating a primitive camp-
        site in the lower Maidstone Bends region.
      ϐ Explore additional public access locations near the stock car race track in Groveton, NH.
      ϐ Assist the NFCT, where appropriate, with establishing easements on NFCT campsites
        developed on private lands.

Maidstone Bends to Gilman Dam (24 miles)
While a largely picturesque region, significant erosion is apparent among many of the river banks
in this reach; at least one farmer has lined the banks with old cars as a stabilization measure! This
section of the river, which falls north of the Upper Valley Land Trust campsites, and south of the
Northern Forest Canoe Trail, only has one developed campsite for paddlers. This single campsite,


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           UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



provided by TransCanada at the Gilman Dam portage, is thirty-five miles south of the Maidstone
Bends campsite to the north.1
In this region, sparse but adequate access is possible below Wyoming Dam, at the Route 2 bridge in
Lancaster, and at a site near the John’s River at an access developed by American Paper Mills. The
Connecticut River Boating Guide indicates both access and camping are possible at the Mount Orne
covered bridge (Figure 11). However, a field visit revealed steep banks, posted property, and no clear
locations for either access or camping at this site.
A resident of Guildhall, Vermont, is interested            FIGURE 10: POTENTIAL CAMPSITE NEAR
in working with the Vermont River Conser-                               GUILDHALL
vancy to develop a campsite on his property,
5.5 miles below the Wyoming Dam. This
beautiful, secluded site (Figure 10), 17 miles
below a site being developed on private land
by the NFCT, is nicely situated for through
paddlers and should be considered a priority
for conservation.
Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose identified eigh-
teen potential campsites in this reach, which
marked the furthest south of their explora-
tions. A cluster of three sites located in a
river bend north of the Mount Orne covered
bridge should be further explored as potential
sites for primitive camping.

Recommendations
       ϐ Work to establish a campsite in Guildhall
       ϐ Improve parking and access at the Mount Orne covered bridge
       ϐ Investigate sites identified by Jeff Meyers and Kevin Rose north of the Mount Orne
         Covered Bridge




1. While camping is possible at a private campground near the Route 2 bridge in Lancaster (Figure 9), it does not provide
a wild feel, do to its proximity to an RV park and service station.



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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




                       FIGURE 11: MAIDSTONE BENDS TO GILMAN DAM


                        LEGEND

               Established, offical campsite

               Established, informal campsite (no offical
               permission granted by landowner)

               Potential campsite (Identified by Jeff
               Meyers and Kevin Rose, but no contact or
               commitment established with landowner)


               Boat launch (improved ramp)

               Boat launch (hand carry only)

               Informal access point (no official public
               access )




Gilman Dam to Dodge Falls (28.5 miles)
This reach is a beautiful part of the river, traversing through mixed evergreen and deciduous forest
with ample views of the White Mountains. It includes the Nine Islands section, near the confluence
of the Passumpsic, a place with the remnants of an ancient floodplain forest. Several well-estab-
lished launch sites, most with improved boat ramps and toilet facilities, can be found on both sides
of the river in this section. However, camping options are extremely limited. No campsites currently
exist in the 29.5 mile section between Gilman Dam and Dodge Falls (Figure 12).
The 3,500-acre Moore Reservoir, a province of motorboats and anglers, is the largest feature in this
section. In their Connecticut River Recreation Management Plan, the CRJC identified the reservoir,



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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



whose shores are largely owned by TransCanada, as a priority location for new campsite develop-
ment. Conversations with Ken Alton, external relations manager at TransCanada Hydro Northeast,
indicate that the company will construct a campsite on the reservoir during the summer of 2009.
TransCanada Hydro Northeast also owns land in the Nine Miles region that may be well suited for
camping. Given the paucity of camping options in this region, additional sites along the reservoir
should be pursued collaboratively with TransCanada in this region. In the late 1990s, a campsite was
built by the UVLT on Fiddlehead Island, below McIndoes Falls. However, this site has not been
maintained in recent years.

Recommendations
     ϐ Conduct a site visit to explore additional camping options between the Moore Reservoir
       and Dodge Falls
     ϐ Work with TransCanada and other landowners to explore options for collaboratively devel-
       oping additional campsites, particularly on Moore Reservoir and in the Nine Islands section.
     ϐ Assess and provide site maintenance for the Fiddlehead Island campsite


                        FIGURE 12: GILMAN DAM TO DODGE FALLS




                                                                             LEGEND
                                                                    Established, offical campsite


                                                                    Former UVLT campsite

                                                                    Potential campsite (Identified during
                                                                    field visit, but no contact or commitment
                                                                    established with landowner)

                                                                    Boat launch (improved ramp)


                                                                    Boat Lauch (Hand carry only)




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Dodge Falls to Wilson Landing (50 miles)
The Connecticut River Boating Guide describes this reach as “lovely and winding” where one “may
find your mind drifting along with the slow current.” Eleven campsites and ten access points are
currently open for public use, largely thanks to the efforts of the Upper Valley Land Trust in the late
1990s. Today, however, several of these sites are managed by other organizations, including Essex
Hydro (which manages Dodge Falls), the Piermont Conservation Commision (manager of the Un-
derhill Campsite), and the Bradford Elementary School, which hosts the Bugbee Landing campsite.
Horse Meadow, a site which the UVLT established, is now closed as no longstanding agreement was
in place for its conservation or management. Similarly, the former UVLT Esther Salmi site, despite
recognition in the Connecticut River Guidebook, is not currently stewarded by any organization or
individual. Nevertheless, the remaining sites provide ample camping opportunities (Figure 13).


                      FIGURE 13: DODGE FALLS TO WILSON LANDING




                                                                             LEGEND

                                                                           Established, offical campsite


                                                                           Former UVLT campsite not
                                                                           being currently maintained


                                                                           Boat launch (improved ramp)




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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT


Wilson Landing to Hoyt's Landing (62 miles)
Situated in the most populated section of the Upper Valley, this section of the river is used heavily
by local residents. In sections, the river flows through a narrow valley with fast currents and inter-
esting rapids - including Class IV rapids at high water at Sumner Falls. The islands in this section
are noteworthy for a large number of endangered cobblestone tiger beetles, which makes its home
among the cobbles on rocky beaches.
Access and campsites also appears to be sufficient in this reach. TransCanada Hydro Northeast
provides a campsite at Gilman Island, and the UVLT manages both a small site on Burnap Island
and a group campsite at Burnham Meadows (Figure 14). The town of Lebanon is working to secure
public access at a site currently under development by a private business owner. However, due to
its proximity to Gilman and Burnap Islands, it is not a high priority as a location for an additional
campsite. The opportunity also exists to develop official camping facilities at Hubbard Island, which
is conserved by the UVLT and used primarily by the Student Conservation Association.

Hoyt's Landing to Stebbin's Island (61 miles)
The remainder of the Connecticut River in Vermont is a quiet, rural reach passing through rolling
farmland overshadowed by high hills. While not as well spaced as further north, six campsites and
sixteen access points were established in this region. Unfortunately, most of the sites in this region
do not receive regular maintenance, and, as such, their current stewardship state is unclear. For
example, the Windyhurst Campsite was built by the UVLT on a longstanding farm in the region.
However, the UVLT did not hold an easement on the property, and does not currently provide site
maintenance. While arrangements were made initially for site stewardship to contiune by a local
volunteer, it is now unclear if this is still occuring.
Further development of primitive campsites – particularly in the 17 mile section between the Windy-
hurt and the Wantastiquet campsites (Figure 15) - would provide more opportunities for overnight
paddlers. In addition, according to the CRJC, in this region, the towns of Ryegate, Westminister, and
Westmoreland have all expressed interest in developing river access in their communities. Of these
three communities, residents of Westmoreland have to travel the farthest to find public access.




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UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




            FIGURE 14: WILSON LANDING TO HOYT'S LANDING




      LEGEND

Established Campsite

Potential Campsite


Boat Launch (Improved ramp)


Boat Launch (Hand carry only)




                                                           27
 UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT




               FIGURE 15: HOYT'S LANDING TO STEBBINS ISLAND




      LEGEND

Established Campsite


Boat Launch (Improved ramp)


Boat Launch (Hand carry only)




                                                              28
         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Conclusions and Recommendations

The establishment of an official Connecticut River Water Trail is an overdue project. After years of
campsite and access point development, a contiguous paddler’s trail is now well within reach. The
results of this analysis also demonstrate that a myriad of potential partners exist who are willing
to help with this endeavour. However, coordinating the efforts of these disparate entities may be
a challenging undertaking. By helping to create an offically recognized paddler’s trail, the VRC can
help reduce redundancy and ensure long-term stewardship of the river's recreational resources. The
creation of a water trail is not a trivial undertaking, and comes with responsibilities for monitoring
and maintenance. The key conclusions of this report are as follows:

Campsite Development
New campsites are essential to complete the Connecticut River Water Trail. This report provides a
detailed analysis of the current gaps in primitive camping and identified locations where campsites
can be developed. The following actions would close the large gaps in campsite availability:
      ϐ Work to conserve and provide camping in the town of Lemington
      ϐ Initiate conversations with property owners near Canaan where informal campsites already
        exist about establishing a formal campsites and a protocol for monitoring and maintenance
      ϐ Establish a campsite near Guildhall, VT
      ϐ Establish a campsite in the Nine Island region
Collaborative Planning

The VRC must be mindful of the work that has gone into establishing the foundation for the Con-
necticut River Water Trail, and should work with these organization as it moves forward with its
efforts on the Connecticut River. The Connecticut River Working Group currently serves as the pri-
mary network of individuals and organizations actively involved with collaborative planning around
paddler recreation for the northern sections of the Connecticut, and the UVLT has laid the ground-
work for stewardship in the lower sections. Next steps for the VRC could include:
      ϐ Share the results of this assessment with the Connecticut River Working Group, the Upper
        Valley Land Trust, as well as other relevant organizations and individuals
      ϐ Hold a meeting or conference call to discuss the results of this assessment, the VRC's next
        steps, and to obtain updates from other organizations about their efforts
      ϐ Become an active member of the Connecticut River Working Group
      ϐ Create and share with pertinent organizations an online database of campsites, access
        points, signage, land managers and volunteers, and stewardship needs

Public Access and Signage
Public access is largely sufficient through much of the Upper Connecticut River. Efforts to develop
new access points should be considered less important than those that improve signage and reduce



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          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



erosion at existing access points. There
are several different types of signage pos-    FIGURE 16: CANAAN RIVER ACCESS SIGNAGE
sible at access points, from large, change-
able displays to simple metal, stand alone
signs. For example, the NFCT works
with local committees to develop a set
of images and text for large interpreta-
tive displays. Their kiosks also include
river maps. The State of Vermont, on
the other hand, relies on bulletin-board
displays. It is worth thinking carefully and
collaboratively about what make sense
for the Connecticut River Water Trail,
and how effective and costly the different
types of signs are. Next steps to improve
access and signage could include:
      ϐ Complete a comprehensive
        signage inventory for all public
        access points along the Upper Connecticut River, identifying owners, existing signs, and
        stewardship needs.
      ϐ Work with the Connecticut River Working Group, the Connecticut River Byway program,
        NH State Fish and Game, and other organizations to develop more uniform and profes-
        sional signage at public launches, beginning in Canaan (Figure 16) and Arlin Brook
      ϐ Work with the NFCT or NorthWoods Stewardship Center to install erosion control mea-
        sures at the Wyoming Dam portage
      ϐ Improve access at the Mount Orne covered bridge

Branding
Paddler trails, such as the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Maine Island Trail, are effective
tools for both helping communities enhance their water resources and for attracting new visitors to
a region. Branding the Upper Connecticut River Canoe Trail is as much an effort in shaping public
perception as it is in completing tangible projects. To brand the water trail, the VRC could:
      ϐ Create a website to serve as the central location for visitors seeking to find information on
        paddling the Connecticut River in Vermont and New Hampshire
      ϐ Establish a phone number and email address for inquiries from both visitors seeking in-
        formation about paddling opportunities and landowners with concerns or new campsite
        development options
      ϐ Provide press releases and events to promote the trail in the media and in local communities
      ϐ Conduct fundraising efforts to support the further development and management of the
        water trail
      ϐ Unify these efforts by developing a series of both printed and online maps for visitors
      ϐ Provide a mechanism for river enthusiasts to become supporters of the trail through finan-

                                                                                                        30
         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT

         cial donations and volunteer work trips

Stewardship
The development of new campsites and improved access points is a commitment to long term
stewardship of these lands. Several sites have been established on private lands, yet are not currently
maintained. Regular stewardship is essential for the long term success of the campsite system. To aid
in current stewardship activities, the VRC could:
      ϐ Work with Connecticut River Working Group, the NFCT, the UVLT and other partner
        organizations to create a shared database of volunteers who monitor access points and
        campsites
      ϐ Establish annual “work trips” to construct new campsites and maintain existing ones, with
        assistance from the NFCT stewardship interns, the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, and
        the UVLT.

Staffing
Coordinating these efforts will require the commitment of staff resources. Creating a part-time
position to oversee these tasks would help to ensure their long-term success. Dedicated fundraising
events, and support from various state and federal agencies, foundations, and partner organizations
could provide the funds to support this staffing need.
As New England’s longest waterway, with consistently navigable waters and few trying rapids or long
portages, the Connecticut River is particularly well-suited for multi-day paddling adventures. Howev-
er, the predominance of private lands, and the river's linear nature (which cuts across organizational
and jurisdictional boundaries), has lagely hindered progress toward the long sought after goal of a
contiguous water trail. The VRC is well suited to spearhead conservation actions which close the
gaps in camping facilities in the river's northern section. In addition, the organization has the oppor-
tunity to take a leadership role in collaborating with other partners to create an offical Connecticut
River Water Trail, which would, in turn, help facilitiate coordinated stewardship of this important
recreational resource for generations to come.

                    FIGURE 17: OLD RAILROAD TRESTLE NEAR MAIDSTONE




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         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Appendix A: Northern Connecticut River Primitive Campsites and
Access Meeting Notes

             Emerson Outdoor Outfitters; Thursday, June 1, 2006, Groveton, NH
The purpose of this meeting was to bring together landowners, public officials, river organizations,
local businesses, and the public to discuss current usage of the river for recreational purposes with
a focus on primitive camping and cartop boat access points. The attendees were divided into two
groups with a facilitator and recorder for each. Each group discussed the three questions presented
below and then the groups came together to develop a joint vision of future uses of the river for
camping and access. The responses to the three questions for each group have been combined and
are presented below.

1. What is or is not working with current uses of the river?
Works:
      ϐ The discharge at the Groveton Mill is OK.
      ϐ The recreational use of the river is still low impact.
      ϐ The paddlers using the river above Maidstone are well-behaved.
      ϐ The Connecticut River has more to offer fishermen than any other water in Vermont and
        New Hampshire. There are no enforcement problems. It is open to catch and release.
      ϐ Agencies are trying to direct campers to public land.
      ϐ The river has more to offer than people are using it for now.
      ϐ Many people are learning to leave no trace.
      ϐ The Vickie Bunnell Park is accessible from the river for camping, may have a public picnic
        area in the future.
      ϐ Commercial fishing groups are crowding local fishing holes.
      ϐ Generally people leave sites clean.
Does Not Work:
      ϐ Campers don’t always ask permission.
      ϐ There is not much control over recreational uses of the river.
      ϐ There is a disregard of landowners, including:
          ϐ People do not realize that most of the land is private not public
          ϐ Crop destruction
          ϐ Removing barriers and driving autos through hay
          ϐ Trash, beer cans, tent stakes and other metals are left behind (campers should use plas-
            tic tent stakes to prevent harm to cows)
      ϐ Damage to riparian buffers that have been installed by farmers due to use for firewood.


                                                                                                       32
        UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



    ϐ People do not understand that farmers depend on the crops that grow in the fields.
    ϐ People want to drive to sites, not walk.
    ϐ State has been slow with installing river access points.
    ϐ Access is needed between Guildhall and Maidstone bridge.
    ϐ There is a lack of information on the number of people that are using the river, where they
      are staying and for how long.
    ϐ People leave stuff behind while fishing.
    ϐ Need more formal access points.

What may not work in the future and why?
    ϐ The landowner could underestimate the impact of being identified as a campsite.
    ϐ Campsite deals must be solid.
    ϐ Abuse of private land cannot continue.
    ϐ The future of the river farms is uncertain.
    ϐ Conflicting activities (for example fishing and paddling).
    ϐ A culture clash could develop between visitors and locals with the potential for the loss of
      local control of decisions and the local culture.
    ϐ If there is an increase in visitor traffic and campsites, a problem with trash and sewage
      could develop.
    ϐ Will conservation easements prevent or provide campsites?
    ϐ The river has a capacity limit that is currently unknown.
    ϐ Commercialization could put too much traffic on the river. May need mandatory access
      points and permits for campsites.
    ϐ Need to set ground rules before the crowds come. If groups start camping in a place oth-
      ers will follow.
    ϐ Need an adequate number of access sites.
    ϐ Limiting group size is a good idea but must have a manager – very cumbersome.
    ϐ If sites are kept small it will naturally limit group size.
    ϐ People want to do the right thing; they just don’t always know what the right thing is.
    ϐ Established sites could become party sites.

What is your vision of campsites and access points on the river?
    ϐ It is asking a lot of private landowners
    ϐ Need public access and campsites or private sites that are managed by a responsible organi-
      zation to remove stress from private landowners.
    ϐ A model could be the volunteers on the St. Croix River, a friends group.
    ϐ A quiet experience, little changed from today’s river, not like the Androscoggin.


                                                                                                     33
         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



     ϐ The less regulation the better as long as everything is OK.
     ϐ Need access points for boats.
     ϐ Would like to protect more shoreline for traditional walking public.
     ϐ Select access points and campsites that do not conflict with wildlife and hunting activities.
     ϐ Explain local heritage to visitors.
     ϐ Restrict ATV’s.
     ϐ There should be a parking lot at Fort Hill.
     ϐ Consider compensation or a lease for public facilities, provide some benefit to the land-
       owner.
     ϐ Announce dam openings.
     ϐ Be sure visitors find heritage and “etiquette” message in many places, especially at access
       points.
     ϐ Marked campsites that are accessible only from the river. Each town could identify sites.
     ϐ Need to encourage recreation as other jobs are going out.
     ϐ Have a section in guide books for “behaviors” (tent stakes, traps (cows), hay).
     ϐ Strong educational component that includes signage at access points, emergency informa-
       tion, and inform public safety personnel about site locations.
     ϐ Not unhappy with the way people use land now, would host a campsite if a group establish-
       es and manages the site and accepts liability (must clarify liability of the landowner if they
       establish a site and do not charge user fees).
     ϐ Designated campsites only that are mapped so users know where to find them.
     ϐ Keep them low impact – no power, 3 tent sites maximum, optional to have fire pits, use a
       box over a pit for solid waste and otherwise campers should use the woods, remove the box
       and fill in the hole in fall and dig new hole for the box in the spring.
     ϐ Non-motorized access points developed with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
       Their program includes provisions for the state to take liability when the landowner agrees
       to allow access.
     ϐ Have a series of access points that give people with different needs options for length of
       time on the river.
     ϐ Maintain a continuous dialogue with landowners and towns.
     ϐ Commercial businesses have changed the nature of river use and should have to pay to sup-
       port the access points and cover costs of their impact.
     ϐ Access should be available by car at some sites.
     ϐ There should be some control of commercial use.
     ϐ Education should include the history of the river.
     ϐ Access points should be for non-motorized boats.
Attendees: Bill McMaster, Adair Mulligan, Sam Stoddard, Louis Bushey, Sherry Belknap, Jean



                                                                                                       34
         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



Dedam, Bill Johnson, Brian Emerson, Louis Lamaroux, Bill Schomburg, Steve Russo, Roger Irwin,
Ruby Wallace, Bill Remick, Melinda Kennett, Rick Potvin, Will Staats


Appendix B: Upper Valley Land Trust Campsite Monitoring
Checklist
A.    Opening Campsites for the Season
     ϐ Contact the landowner.
     ϐ Clean any winter debris from the site. Prune, rake, and seed as necessary.
     ϐ Keep your eyes open for poison ivy and purple loosestrife.
     ϐ Establish privy in a new location or ensure that current location is adequate.
     ϐ Make sure that there is adequate signage to the privy.
     ϐ Replace other signs, as necessary. Ensure visibility of the target sign.
     ϐ Re-supply registration box with a register, pen, donation envelopes. Be sure that the camp-
       site name is on the register. Write the day the campsite was opened and the day the register
       was installed.
     ϐ Set up picnic table (if there is one) in an area that is appropriate for a large amount of use.
     ϐ If present, clean and repair the fire ring. If more than one fire ring, remove it.
     ϐ Check the landing and perform any necessary work, or make plans for a follow-up visit.
     ϐ Complete a Monitoring Report, noting that the visit was a campsite opening.

B.    Monitoring Visits During the Season
     ϐ Check the site, and clean as necessary.
     ϐ Replace any missing or damaged signs. Ensure visibility of the target sign.
     ϐ Check the register box and replace any missing items (book, pencil, donation envelopes).
     ϐ Go through the register and attempt to count the number of groups, day users, and over-
       night campers who have used the campsite since the last monitoring visit.
     ϐ Record the use information obtained above on the Monitoring Report. You will probably
       have to estimate the numbers to the best of your ability, and note this on the form.
     ϐ Clearly note in the register the date of your monitoring visit, and where your count ended
       so that future monitors do not re-count the same campsite users.
     ϐ Record any noteworthy register comments on the Monitoring Report, and pass along rel-
       evant information (based on these comments) to the campsite manager.
     ϐ Complete a Monitoring Report and promptly mail it.

C.    Closing Campsites for the Season
     ϐ Clean the entire site.



                                                                                                         35
         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



     ϐ Re-seed any areas that need it.
     ϐ Fill the privy pit.
     ϐ In campsites that might flood, remove the privy and secure it above the high water level.
     ϐ If present, clean the fire ring.
     ϐ Secure the picnic table and any other equipment from Spring Flood conditions.
     ϐ Check signs and note those that will need replacing in the spring.
     ϐ Collect the register book, write the date the campsite was closed, and send it to the Camp-
       site Coordinator with the monitoring report.
     ϐ Check with the landowner and report any concerns.
     ϐ Complete a Monitoring Report, note that the visit was a campsite closing.

Appendix C: Comprehensive List of Upper Connecticut River
Campsites and Access Points

          TABLE 3: UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER CAMPSITES AND ACCESS POINTS
 River                                                                                      Owner or manager
                    Site Name                      Town                    Type
 Mile                                                                                          (if known)
         Canaan to West Stewartstown
 373                                            Canaan, VT             Access Point         Town Of Canaan
                Bridge Access
 371          Informal campsite                 Canaan, VT          Informal Campsite       Private landowner
                                                                                            NH State Fish and
 366           Arlin Brook Access              Colebrook, NH           Access Point
                                                                                                  Game
  363      Colebrook Bridge St. Access         Colebrook, NH           Access Point
 361.5   Lemington Campsite (Potential)        Lemington, VT        Potential Campsite      Private landowner
  360          Columbia Campsite               Columbia, NH              Campsite           Town of Columbia
  359       Columbia Covered Bridge            Columbia, NH            Access Point
  354       Plum Creek Public Access           Columbia, NH        Potential Access Point   State of Vermont
 351.5   Lyman Falls - NH Side (Potential)     Columbia, NH         Potential Campsite      Private landowner
                                                                                                 Vermont
 351.5             Lyman Falls                 Bloomfield, VT            Campsite             Department of
                                                                                             Forest and Parks
 351.5        Lyman Falls - NH Side            Columbia, NH            Access Point
  349          Nulhegan Campsite               Bloomfield, VT           Campsite            State of Vermont
                                                                                                Vermont
 349           Debanville Landing              Bloomfield, VT          Access Point          Department of
                                                                                            Forest and Parks
                                                                                               Town of N.
 349           N. Stratford Access           North Stratford, NH       Access Point
                                                                                                Stratford
 342          NFCT Railroad Trestle            Brunswick, VT             Campsite                 NFCT
                                                                   Potential Campsite or
 340.5             Russo Farm                  Maidstone, VT                               Private landowner
                                                                       Access Point
 338.5        Maidstone Bridge                 Startford, NH           Access Point
 337.5        Maidstone Bends                  Maidstone, VT             Campsite                 NFCT
   ?        Meadowsend Easement                Maidstone, VT       Potential Access Point Vermont Land Trust
           Wyoming Dam Portage and                                                        Vermont Agency of
 326                                            Guildhall, VT          Access Point
                   Access                                                                    Transportation



                                                                                                               36
324           Silver Allen Parcel          Guildhall, VT     Potential Access Point Private landowner
320.5        Guildhall Campsite            Guildhall, VT       Potential Campsite Private landowner
315.5    US 2 Bridge St. Campground        Lancaster, NH           Campsite          Private landowner
315.5        US 2 Bridge Access            Lancaster, NH          Access Point
308.5       Mount Orne Campsite            Lancaster, NH       Potential Campsite
308.5    Mount Orne Covered Bridge         Lancaster, NH     Potential Access Point
 305          John's River Ramp             Dalton, NH            Access Point
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
302.5       Gilman Dam Portage               Gilman, NH            Campsite
                                                                                          Northeast
 301        Gilman Boat Launch               Gilman, NH           Access Point
 295     North Littleton Boat Launch     North Littleton, NH      Access Point
292.5     Dodge Hill Boat Launch            Littleton, NH         Access Point
292.5     Waterford Boat Launch            Waterford, VT          Access Point
 291       Pattenville Boat Launch          Littleton, NH         Access Point
 290      Pine Island Boat Launch:          Littleton, NH         Access Point
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
289       Moore Dam Portage (VT)        Lower Waterford, VT       Access Point
                                                                                          Northeast
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
289       Moore Dam Portage (NH)            Littleton, NH         Access Point
                                                                                          Northeast
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
288     Waterford Bridge Boat Laucnh        Littleton, NH         Access Point
                                                                                          Northeast
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
283        Pine Grove Boat Launch            Barnet, VT           Access Point
                                                                                          Northeast
         Comerford Dam - Reservoir                                                  TransCanada Hydro
282.5                                       Monroe, NH            Access Point
                  Access                                                                  Northeast
        Comerford Dam - Downstream                                                  TransCanada Hydro
282.5                                       Monroe, NH            Access Point
                  Access                                                                  Northeast
281       Passumpsic River Access          East Barnet, VT        Access Point
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
280             Nine Islands               East Barnet, VT     Potential Campsite
                                                                                          Northeast
278.5   Barnet-Monroe Bridge Access         Monroe, NH            Access Point
277.5          Gilmore Farm               McIndoe Falls, VT  Potential Access Point Private landowner
                                                                                    TransCanada Hydro
276         McIndoe Falls Portage           Monroe, NH            Access Point
                                                                                          Northeast
273.5     Dodge Falls Campground              Bath, NH             Campsite              Essex Hydro
 273         Fiddlehead Island            East Ryegate, VT   Former UVLT Campsite
         Ryegate Dame Portage and
272                                          Bath, NH             Access Point
                Access Point
268.5         Narrows Island              Woodsville, NH       Informal Campsite         CRWC
 268         Woodsville Access            Woodsville, NH          Access Point
267.5        Woodsville Island            Woodsvile, NH        Potential Campsite  Private landowner
                                                                                    Grafton County/
265.5    Howard Island Campground         Woodsville, NH            Campsite
                                                                                          UVLT
 265   Knoxland Cartop Boat Lauch         Knoxland, VT            Access Point            UVLT
 262         Horse Meadow               North Haverhill, VT   Former UVLT Campsite        UVLT
259.5    Harkdale Farm Campsite           Newbury, VT               Campsite              UVLT
257.5 Newbury-Haverhill Bridge Access     Newbury, VT             Access Point     VT Fish and Game
 255     Bedell Bridge State Park         Haverhill, NH           Access Point         State of NH
 254   Vaughan Meadow Campsite            Newbury, VT               Campsite              UVLT
                                                                                        Bradford
248       Bugbee Landing Campsite          Bradford, VT             Campsite
                                                                                   Elementary School
248     Bugbee Landing Access Point        Bradford, VT           Access Point     Private landowner
                                                                                        Piermont
245          Underhill Campsite            Newbury, VT              Campsite          Conservation
                                                                                      Commission
 239        Pastures Campground             Orford, NH              Campsite       Private landowner
 239         Orford Boat Landing            Orford, NH            Access Point       Town of Orford
236.5      Birch Meadow Campsite              Ely, VT               Campsite              UVLT
 234       Roaring Brook Campsite             Ely, VT               Campsite              UVLT
        UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



232.5       North Thetford Landing           Thetford, VT         Access Point       Vermont State
 230        Esther Salmi Campsite          East Thetford, VT  Former UVLT Campsite Private landowner
                                                                                        Lyme, NH
228        Hewes Brook Boat Launch            Lyme, NH            Access Point        Conservation
                                                                                      Commission
 225       Ompompanoosuc Launch           Pompanoosuc, VT         Access Point         State of VT
221.5     Lebanon Public Boat Launch        Lebanon, NH           Access Point
                                                                                   Darmouth College
218.5         Ledyard Canoe Club             Hanover, NH          Access Point
                                                                                      Outing Club
                                                                                  TransCanada Hydro
217.5            Gilman Island               Hanover, NH            Campsite
                                                                                        Northeast
                                                                                  TransCanada Hydro
216.5          Wilder Picnic Area            Hartford, VT         Access Point
                                                                                        Northeast
                                                                                  TransCanada Hydro
216        Wilder Dam Boat Launch            Hartford, VT         Access Point
                                                                                        Northeast
216         East Wilder Boat Launch         Lebanon, NH           Access Point      City of Lebanon
                                                                                  TransCanada Hydro
215.5         Wilder Dam Portage            Lebanon, NH           Access Point
                                                                                        Northeast
215       Lebanon Potential Campsite        Lebanon, NH             Campsite       Private landowner
214        Lyman Point Park Launch      Hartford Township, VT     Access Point     Hartford Township
                                                                                   NH State Fish and
210          Blood's Brook Launch           Lebanon, NH           Access Point
                                                                                          Game
208         Burnap Island Campsite          Plainfield, NH          Campsite              UVLT
208          Ottauquechee Launch         North Hartland, VT       Access Point
205          Sumner Falls Portage            Hartland, VT.        Access Point
           Burnham Meadow Group
201                                          Windsor, VT             Campsite               UVLT
                   Campsite
199          Cornish Boat Landing            Cornish, VT           Access Point
                                                                                            Vermont
192.5   Wilgus State Park Campground         Ascutney, VT            Campsite            Department of
                                                                                        Forest and Parks
                                                                                            Vermont
192.5      Wilgus State Park Access          Ascutney, VT          Access Point          Department of
                                                                                        Forest and Parks
189           Weathersfield Bow          Weathersfield Bow, VT Former Campsite                UVLT
189           Weathersfield Bow          Weathersfield Bow, VT Potential Access Point         UVLT
189         Ashley Ferry State Park         Claremont, NH          Access Point            State of NH
188             Hubbard Island             Charlestown, NH      Potential Campsite            UVLT
                                                                                             Student
185.5           SCA Campsite               Charlestown, NH           Campsite             Conservation
                                                                                           Association
                                                                                      TransCanada Hydro
181             Hoyt's Landing              Springfield, VT        Access Point
                                                                                            Northeast
180.5              Patch Park              Charlestown, NH         Access Point
                                                                                      TransCanada Hydro
178.5     Charlestown Lower Landing        Charlestown, NH         Access Point
                                                                                            Northeast
         Herrick's Cove Picnic Area ad                                                TransCanada Hydro
174                                        Rockingham, VT          Access Point
                  Boat Launch                                                               Northeast
                                          South Charlestown,                          TransCanada Hydro
173      Lower Meadow Campground                                     Campsite
                                                 NH                                         Northeast
 171       Pine Street Boat Launch        North Walpole, NH        Access Point
166.5   Connecticut River Car-Top Access     Walpole, NH           Access Point
 159        Windyhurst Campsite              Walpole, NH         Former Campsite       Private landowner
                                                                                       Vermont Fish and
153.5       Dummerston Landing             Dummerston, VT          Access Point
                                                                                              Game



                                                                                                      38
         UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



 153.5           Putney Landing              Putney, VT           Access Point       Town of Putney
           Chesterfield River Road Boat
  150                                      Chesterfield, VT       Access Point
                      Access
  147      Old Ferry Road Boat Access      Brattleboro, VT        Access Point
 144.5          Retreat Meadows            Brattleboro, VT        Access Point
 143.5           Hinsdale Access            Hinsdale, VT          Access Point
  142        Wantastiquet Campsite         Brattleboro, VT         Campsite            TransCanada
  142              Broad Brook             Brattleboro, VT        Access Point
  138       Stebbin's Island Campsite        Vernon, VT            Campsite            TransCanada




Appendix D: Example Stewardship Signage
This signage content was provided by the National Park Service's Rivers and Trails Program, and
is adapted from those used by the Upper Valley Land Trust and the Maine Island Trail. The Park
Service suggests that whenever possible, positive wording is used to encourage individuals to follow
the guidelines (as opposed to mandating that they follow hard and fast rules).


 Basic Guidelines for Safe and Low Impact Camping on the Connecticut River
     ϐ Before you leave, always inform someone staying behind of your anticipated itinerary and
       time of return.Carry in - carry out. Carry out everything that you brought in, and leave each
       campsite in a better condition than you found it. Carry sealable, plastic storage bags for
       "wet" items that you need to dispose of.
     ϐ Learn low impact camping skills and ways to minimize your damage to the river, the camp-
       sites and their natural resources. For information on Leave No Trace ("LNT") camping
       practices, or to obtain LNT literature, visit the LNT Website, <www.lnt.org>, or call 1-800-
       332-4100.
     ϐ Use a portable stove for cooking. Fires are forbidden at some campsites.
     ϐ Never cut live wood.
     ϐ Carry an adequate supply of your own water, as it is unsafe to drink untreated river water.
     ϐ Swimming is allowed, but please do not wash or bathe in or near (within 75 feet of) the
       river.
     ϐ To help us monitor use, please complete the campsite register at each site you use and
       inform us of the number in your group. Also report any needed maintenance to the listed
       campsite manager or the Upper Valley Land Trust whenever possible.
     ϐ If you must camp on land that is not designated as part of the Connecticut River Primitive
       Campsite system, always attempt to ask the landowner's permission first.
     ϐ Be aware that noise carries easily on the river, and allow all river users and surrounding
       landowners to enjoy the quiet and solitude they desire. Leave your radio at home.
     ϐ Note that water levels can sometimes fluctuate several feet during the course of any day or


                                                                                                      39
          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



         night. Always secure your boat; don't simply "beach" it.
      ϐ As you enjoy this campsite system, stop a moment to thank the many local volunteers who
        take care of them, and remember, good stewardship of these special places depends on
        you.
      ϐ Respect these places and minimize your impact on the river and its shorelands.
      ϐ Watch where you walk. If a path has already formed, please stay on it to minimize your
        impact to the surrounding vegetation. Be on the lookout for poison ivy and other harmful
        plants or animals.
      ϐ Don't forget a first aid/survival kit. Some important items to include are: lip balm, sun-
        screen, bug repellent, aspirin, medical items, water purification tablets, pocket knife, com-
        pass, whistle, fire starter, needle and thread, wire, pins, and duct tape.
      ϐ Do not rely on the Primitive Campsite Guide for river navigation. Boaters should seek
        other sources for safety information and local river conditions (i.e., locations of dams, por-
        tages and other river hazards).Each boat must carry a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal
        flotation device for each person. Wear this life vest at all times while on the water.

                       Connecticut River Primitive Campsites Signage
Welcome to [campsite name]. This campsite is a part of the Connecticut River Primitive Campsite System
that the Upper Valley Land Trust established in 1992. Many of these campsites are provided for the
enjoyment of the public at no cost through the generosity of private landowners. It is maintained by
[manager]. However, the maintenance and ability of the system to exist in the future depends on public
contributions and your assistance with good stewardship. To minimize your impact on the river, its
shorelands and islands; and to ensure the quality of your recreational experience, and its future availability to
others, please follow these guidelines:

      ϐ Use designated campsites. If you wish to camp on land that is not designated as a Con-
        necticut River Primitive Campsite (i.e., it does not have a blue on yellow target sign like this
        one does), please ask the landowner's permission to do so.
      ϐ Camping capacity = [#]. [Campsite name] accommodates [#] party, [#] persons maximum.
        A party is one or more persons traveling together. The camping capacity is the recom-
        mended maximum for a campsite. Please respect it. The condition of the shoreland and
        islands, and the general visitor experience, will be better protected if use levels are less than
        the recommended maximum. If the campsite is full to capacity when you arrive and there
        is ample time for safe travel, please consider paddling to nearby [campsite name], [#] miles
        downriver. If you must stay here, please use existing campsites and do not establish or clear
        new sites.
      ϐ Noise. Be considerate of other visitors. Preserve the peace and quiet. Noise carries easily
        on the River. Enjoy the solitude and keep a low profile. Leave your radio at home.
      ϐ Secure your boat. Note that water levels can sometimes fluctuate several feet during the
        course of any day or night. Always secure your boat beyond just "beaching" it.
      ϐ Low impact camping. Learn low impact camping skills such as "carry in-carry out". Carry
        out everything that you brought in, and leave each campsite in a better condition than you


                                                                                                                    40
          UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER TRAIL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT



         found it.
      ϐ Watch where you walk. Protect the shoreland vegetation and the fragile soils it depends on
        by traveling on existing paths and hard surfaces. Do not bushwhack through dense vegeta-
        tion or trample mosses and lichens. In addition, be on the lookout for poison ivy.
      ϐ Dispose of human waste properly. Ideally, pack out all solid human waste and toilet paper
        and dispose of it properly. At most campsites, a privy is available if you need it.
      ϐ Please use a portable stove for cooking. Campfires are discouraged and completely forbid-
        den at some sites because of the high risk of fire spreading due to changeable winds, root
        systems, flammable soils, and lack of services. If you must build a campfire (in a site where
        it is permitted or for emergency purposes) please keep it small and well controlled. Use
        your own or dead wood; do not cut live trees.
      ϐ Respect wildlife. Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not disturb nesting birds.
      ϐ Wash away from the river. Please do so at least 75 feet from the River.
      ϐ Bring your own water. It is unsafe to drink untreated water from the River.
      ϐ Sign our register. Help us monitor usage by leaving a note in the campsite register. Please
        let us know how many individuals are in your group and whether you are using this camp-
        site for the day or overnight. Also, report any needed maintenance to the listed campsite
        manager or the Upper Valley Land Trust whenever possible.


Remember, good stewardship of these special places depends on you. Please respect these special places, and
leave each campsite in better condition than you found it. Thank you!

We welcome your financial and volunteer stewardship support of the Connecticut River Primitive Campsites.
Please let us know if you would like to help out!

[Campsite Manager's Contact Information]




                                                                                                         41

				
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