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Progress & Plans
Progress on Creating a 4-Season Trail:
Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County started in 2004
FNRT-MC incorporated and obtained 501(C)3 non-profit status in 2005
Received $20,000 Recreational Trails Program grant in 2005 from state of New Hampshire Trails Bureau. Used this to re-surface most of the 1.7 miles in Andover from Potter Place to Blackwater Park. Torrential rains forced postponement of part of this effort until May, 2006.
Received $30,000 Recreational Trails Program grant in 2006. It enabled
re-surfacing 2 miles from Blackwater Park to Switch Road in East Andover.
Received $30,000 Recreational Trails Program grant in 2007. Used this to
re-surface another 2 miles from Switch Road to Highland Lake in East Andover.
The 2008 Recreational Trails Program grant of $30,000 was used to improve the 2007 trail extension and to resurface nearly two miles of new trail between E. Andover and Dyer's Crossing.
Received $30,000 Recreational Trails Program grant in April, 2009. Used this to re-surface another 2 miles from Dyer's Crossing to Chance Pond Road in Franklin, NH.
In Sept. 2010 the trail was extended 1.8 miles from Chance Pond Road, Franklin to Depot Street in central Franklin thanks to a $25,000 Recreational Trails Program grant.
8.3 miles of trail were added in Oct., 2010 connecting the Andover-Franklin section of the trail with the Lebanon-Danbury section creating a continuous 44 mile trail. Funding of $350,000 came from a federal Transportation Enhancement grant.
The 2011 Recreational Trails Program grant of $30,000 was used for a trail extension of approximately two miles. This work extended the trail from Depot St. in Franklin south until Webster Place, Franklin.
In Nov., 2012 the trail was extended 3.1 miles from Webster Place, Franklin to Garrish Depot in Boscawen thanks to a $30,000 Recreational Trails Program grant. This work resulted in the trail being a total of 52 miles long, the longest in the state of NH.
Another 3.9 miles of trail was built in Oct., 2013 thanks to grants from the N.H. Recreational Trails Program, Elektrisola Inc., the Cricket Foundation, the McIninch Foundation, the Cogswell Benevolent Trust, and the Dunn Trust. This addition extended the rail trail to the center of Boscawen, NH, increasing the total Northern Rail Trail to 56 miles.
The final 2.3 miles of the southern end of the rail trail was completed in August, 2014 as a result of a $ 30,000 NH Recreational Trails Program grant and many contributions made by our members and supporters. The Merrimack County portion of the trail is now 34 miles long and, combined with the section in Grafton County, creates a 58 mile four-season trail, the longest in the state of NH. The southern end of the trail is within a half-mile of the Hannah Dustin Park and Ride on Rte. 4.