The Mahoosuc region is rich in home-grown trails groups who have taken on stewardship of the miles of foot and paddle trails in the region.
The Shelburne Trails Club (STC) has been a Mahoosuc Initiative member since the club’s founding in 2010. STC supports and promotes safe use and stewardship of Shelburne, New Hampshire area trails through restoration, preservation, mapping and maintenance of trails, and sharing the collective knowledge of its members. Projects include maintaining trails and a picnic site in the Bill Hastings Memorial Forest, maintenance of trails at Philbrook Farm Inn, and installing signs at trailheads and junctions. The club installed manual-pull cable car, formerly located on Lary Brook and donated by Paul and Michelle Cormier of Randolph, to link trail systems on both sides of Austin Mill. The club plans to publish a Shelburne Trails Map, with assistance from the map shop at the Appalachian Mountain Club. The club and Shelburne hikers benefit greatly from the generosity of private landowners who provide trail access and also from the many volunteers who maintain the trails and otherwise support the club.
The Berlin, NH Recreation and Stewardship Project is inventorying resources and developing a management plan and improving trails on Mount Jasper and constructing trails on Mount Forist. Led by MI Partner the Appalachian Mountain Club, two hiking trails were constructed in partnership with two high school at-risk-youth programs, the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program and the Enriched Learning Center. A talented local artist with connection to the Abenaki heritage designed beautiful interpretive signs for a trail leading from behind the High School. The City of Berlin is finalizing approval of a management plan for the property. A partner in trailwork has been the White Mountain Ridgerunners Snowmobile club, sharing cost of trailwork and parking access.
Mahoosuc Pathways is a local nonprofit dedicated to connecting communities through the development, maintenance and promotion of a multi-use recreational trail network for the benefit of local residents and visitors to the area. The trails will be developed primarily for non-motorized use, such as walking, bicycling, mountain biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Plans are afoot to extend the Bethel Pathway, improve access to Bethel Town Forest from Sunday River, and build a mountain bike trail from Spruce Cliffs to White Cap. Information about existing Mahoosuc region trails, including difficulty ratings and detailed maps, are available via Maine Trailfinder. [screenshot Maine Trailfinder Grafton Notch trail].
The Androscoggin River Watershed Council is working with numerous groups and individuals to establish a water trail along the full length of the Androscoggin River from Lake Umbagog in Northern New Hampshire to the easterly end of Merrymeeting Bay in Maine. The purpose of the Trail is to provide access for a wide variety of uses including paddling, fishing and boating in appropriate parts of the river.
The Androscoggin River flows 168 miles; there are more than 50 mapped, publicly available access sites that together provide access to the vast majority of the river system. Full development of the trail will include a number of improvements to existing sites, establishment of new sites, improved portages, sites accessible only from the water, and day use areas.
[Photo: Androscoggin Source to the Sea Canoe Trek].
Many of the trails developed and maintained through the community efforts described here are featured in the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) guide to outdoor activities in the Mahoosuc region. The guide is helpful for planning day hikes, snowshoe jaunts and paddling trips or multi-day expeditions, and is carried by area stores or on AMC’s on-line bookstore.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) offers the AppalachianTrail Communities program to towns along the Appalachian Trail, and both Gorham, NH and Bethel, ME have expressed interest in the program. ATC and AMC together have inventoried the Mahoosucs section of the Appalachian Trail and identified sections in need of trail improvement.