|Water trails are a unique - and increasingly popular - recreational trail. The actual trail part of water trails is, well, there, and typically has been for a long time. In fact, the rivers, streams and lakes that are the basic elements of water trails have, in many cases, created the topography through which they pass. No sweaty trail-building effort needed here, just millennia of melt and erosion and geological morphology. |
Stevens Mills Rapids – The short Class I-II rapid is on the Missisquoi River, 1.5 miles south of the US - Canada border.
So what transforms these fundamental waterways into water trails? Water trails, flowing through both wild areas and directly through communities, provide the access that fosters numerous important connections. Specifically, water trails can connect:
- people with natural places;
- families with new experiences;
- communities with new visitors;
- individuals with transformational experiences;
- contemporary paddlers with the history of waterway travel;
- and, all of us with an opportunity to experience wonder as we see a great blue heron alight, or as we muse about what might be around the next bend.
Water trails can vary quite a bit from season to season, and from one to another, but they all share a distinct capability to engage a wide variety of people in outdoor recreation. What’s more, water trails recreation is community-oriented, steeped in local and regional history and both fun and refreshing.
These connections are exemplified with the success of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT). Recommended as one of North America’s top water trails by the American Canoe Association, the 740-mile NFCT is the longest inland water trail in the northeastern United States and it offers a diverse variety of kayak and canoe destination opportunities from a day to a week or longer for paddling enthusiasts, wildlife watchers and history buffs.
|Beginning at any one of the 40 communities, up to 50 different paddling adventures can be found along the NFCT’s interconnected destinations. At times challenging, at times serene, the Trail passes through diverse settings - historic communities and working forests and farm landscapes complete with portage trails, access points and overnight sites… all while connecting 56 lakes and 22 streams and rivers.|
What makes the NFCT unique is its setting in the frontier of American history. Passing through the Adirondack Mountains of New York, expansive farmlands of Vermont, old mill towns of New Hampshire and working forests of Maine, the Trail traces age old Native American travel routes and subsequent European trappers and settlers in the region where waterways were both highways and routes of communication. The NFCT route traces a fascinating history which follows the movement of people in boats on the water for purposes of exploration, trade, hunting, fishing, visiting, occasionally pursuing or escaping conflict and, increasingly, seeking solace and recreation.
NFCT has created a series of 13 interpretive maps with complete route and access information, historic photographs, interpretive descriptions of the geography, flora, fauna, Native American and early history of the section, recommended readings, and an extensive set of signs and kiosks that help connect people to the full range of experiences available on its waterway route.
|NRS is pleased to support the non-profit membership organization the Northern Forest Canoe Trail that stewards the trail in partnership with landowners, conservation and civic organizations and volunteers. To learn more about the NFCT visit www.NorthernForestCanoeTrail.org, call (802) 496-2285 or write to P.O. Box 565 Waitsfield, Vermont 05673. |
Pushing off – Old Forge Pond
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Northern Forest Canoe Trail Auction 2008
The NFCT is holding an online fund raising auction, November 5 through December 5. Right now there are over 200 items, including some great NRS products, on the list. Check it out for a chance to support a great cause and possibly get a good deal on some amazing boating gear. There’s a link to the auction site on…