Upcoming FNRT meetings and events
See calendar below for meeting and activity dates. Normally the meetings are held at the Andover Fire House on Rte. 11 (Main St.) in the center of Andover.
FNRT Extends Rail Trail to Center of Boscawen
On October 14, 2013, the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County (FNRT-MC) finished building four miles of new trail in Boscawen, from the old Gerrish Depot near the N.H. State Forest Nursery on Route 3 to Depot Street in the center of Boscawen. The construction of this new section of rail trail was funded by a $30,000 federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant, supplemented by required matching grants from the Stannard and Dorothy Dunn Trust, the Cogswell Benevolent Trust, the Crickett Foundation, the McIninch Foundation and Elektrisola Inc.
This new four mile rail trail in Boscawen winds along a scenic and secluded section of the Merrimack River. Regular trail users have all commented on the natural beauty and peacefulness of this trail segment.
Here is what several rail trail users and one official wrote to FNRT-MC about the new section: "Beautiful! Congrats to all of you on a job well done. You inspire us in Concord," Dick Lemieux; “This 3.9 mile stretch is going to be a dream ride for many,” Robert A. Veilleux; "Just beautiful!" Terry Hook; "You folks are doing amazing work on improving the Northern into a world-class recreational trail. Thank you for all of your efforts and continuing to be such a great partner to the Bureau," NH Trail Bureau Chief, Chris Gamache.
It takes a lot of hands to accomplish trail building and FNRT would like to thank all those involved. Chris Norris of Andover was the
project construction leader for FNRT and Ricker Miller of Andover ran the compactor. Their dedication to this project allowed it to proceed smoothly and on schedule.
Nita Tomaszewski of Franklin applied for the RTP grant and was the financial manager of the project and Durgin & Crowell of New London volunteered the use of their grader driven by Ed Larpenter of Candia. Stone dust material was provided by R.D. Edmunds & Sons of Franklin.
Additional assistance came from the Boscawen Town Line Trail Dusters who who cleared brush and Ellsworth Morton of Sanborton who coordinated the truck receipt takers that included Kit Norris of Andover, Taffy Johnson of Webster Lake, Lyman Cousins of Boscawen and Steve Rayno of Franklin, who also provided construction support.
Earlier this season, Ellsworth Morton constructed the informational kiosk at the old Gerrish Depot trail head dedicating it to the memory of his parents, Roy and Polly Morton. This is a good place to park and pick up a trail map of the Franklin and Boscawen sections. Additional parking is available at the Boscawen Town Park on Depot Street.
Those wanting to explore the rail trail in the Danbury area should stop in at the Danbury Country Store where you can park on the store's north side, pick up wonderful sandwiches, soups and snacks, use their restroom and get trail maps. FNRT is happy to have this new welcome center in addition to the wonderful one in E. Andover at the Highland Lake Inn on Maple Street.
Volunteer groups in both Grafton and Merrimack Counties have worked independently for many years to build and maintain the trail. However in 2011, the two groups celebrated the joining of their trail sections with a “golden spike” ceremony in Danbury. This September they worked together to resurface one mile of trail in Danbury near the Grafton County line. Volunteer Steve Robinson of Hill cleared obstacles and pressed the edges all along the newly resurfaced section to ensure the rail trail through to the Grafton line was passable.
The Northern Rail Trail now totals over 56 miles in length, extending from downtown Lebanon to Boscawen making it the longest rail trail in New Hampshire.
The FNRT-MC is now raising funds to complete the final 2.2 mile segment of trail, with construction planned for late Spring, 2014. Generous grants from the Brown Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, and the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Foundation have helped launch this fundraising effort.
Northern Rail Trail Names New Welcome
Center in Danbury
There is good news for users of the Northern Rail Trail. The Danbury Country Store is now open for business. Designated an official Rail Trail Welcome Center by the Board of the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County, the store offers important amenities to bikers and walkers on the Rail Trail in Danbury.
Audrey Pellegrino, Danbury Country Store operator, when asked if she would accept the Welcome Center designation said,
"I would love to have the store designated as a welcome center, we were actually talking today about where the bicycle racks should go! We will have a handicap accessible public bathroom for people to use as well as a separate sink to rinse travel mugs and water bottles....
The name of the store has been changed and is now The Danbury Country Store. This may not be much of a change, but hopefully it is enough for people to realize it is something different. We are offering made from scratch cookies, donuts and muffins daily as well as Boar's Head Deli order-to-go sandwiches, homemade pizza slices, and salads. Hopefully, people will stop at the store while out enjoying the rail trail!"
The distance from the first Rail Trail Welcome Center, the Highland Lake Inn in East Andover, to the Danbury Country Store is just about 13 and a half miles-an excellent distance to ride for lunch. Also, the rest stop is just about 7 miles from the Potter Place trailhead.
"We're very excited about the opening of the Danbury Welcome Center at the Danbury Country Store," said Alex Bernhard, Vice President of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County. Good food, a public bathroom, water, and a warm welcome-a bicyclist's dream! We're delighted that local businesses are developing along the trail."
New Hampshire’s Northern Rail Trail
Named a Top Trail in U.S.
Concord, NH, 2012 – The 52-mile Northern Rail Trail in New Hampshire has been named to the list of “100 Top Trails in the U.S.” by the Rails to Trails Conservancy in Washington, D.C. The trail is one of the longest in New England and the longest in New Hampshire. The trail crosses the State of New Hampshire from Lebanon in the Connecticut River Valley to Boscawen, on the Merrimack just north of Concord. A westward extension of the trail toward Vermont from downtown Lebanon as part of the Mascoma River Greenway is in development and would put its final length at 59 miles.
Chris Gamache, Bureau Chief for the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails, said “New Hampshire should be proud of the designation. The Northern Rail Trail is a year-round recreational treasure thanks to the cooperative efforts of the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails, local snowmobile clubs and the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail groups in Merrimack and Grafton Counties.”
New Rail Trail Maps
or Visit the Maps page to see them full scale online
Or find them on Facebook (you don't need to be logged in) RAIL TRAIL maps!
Please check it out and become a fan!
See the News page for the latest information about the trail expansion activities.
Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County
P.O. Box 154
Andover, NH 03216
News: See why people are talking about the Northern Rail Trail!
Ethney McMahon produced a short video that shows the trail, how people are using it, and scenic views. Don't forget to turn on your speakers, it has audio!
Please be patient, the video takes a few seconds to load
even with High Speed access.
Top Photos courtesty of Peter Southworth and Charles Martin
The Northern Rail Trail passes through some beautiful and remote areas. FNRT-MC recommends that trail users exercise the same caution in traversing these areas as they would in passing through any other remote area.