WRTA Rack Cards – Available throughout the region and here.
This article appeared in the August 6, 2015 edition of the Winnisquam Echo.
Written by: Eliza Conde
Perseverance pays off for Tilton Conservation Commission TILTON — Seven years ago this month, the Tilton Conservation Commission began considering the purchase of a small parcel of land along the Winnipesaukee River. Even earlier than that, the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association was studying ways to continue the Winnipesaukee River Trail through Tilton into Northfield. Both groups have worked tirelessly toward a project that will finally be completed by this fall. People who drive through town toward Exit 20 can’t help but notice the vast improvements to the land along the river that have been gradually happening over the past few years. The Tilton Conservation Commission did purchase the land along the river and began cleaning up trash and removing invasive species along the river. Later, members of WRTA approached the Commission about purchasing the abutting property known as “Ernie’s” to help accommodate the rail trail. After reviewing environmental reports and being assured of federal grants to pay for cleanup of the property the Conservation Commission agreed to purchase the land. A $200,000 EPA grant was received in August 2012, and planning for the final look and use of the property began. Many meetings with the Tilton Board of Selectmen, Tilton Conservation Commission and Winnipesaukee River Trail Association took place to develop final agreements between the organization and the town, to decide upon the location of the trail, parking, etc. as well as to determine the intended use of the property as a conservation area rather than a park. In the meantime, WRTA applied for and received federal funding for 80 percent of the cost of completing the trail, including a bridge across the river from the end of Granite St. in Northfield to the Tilton property. As the group was unable to raise the entire funding they needed to complete this project, it was decided to forego the bridge at this time and have the trail end at a new parking area across from the police station. Trail users will be advised to use the sidewalk into town and cross the river on the Cannon Bridge and continue on Elm Street to the trail at Surrette Park in Northfield. Work on the trail from the Maher’s Welding building to the former “Ernie’s” site is set to begin Aug. 10 and should be completed in about eight weeks. When this stage is completed, the parking area and remaining landscaping will need to be finished, and fencing installed, before the project will finally be completed. The Tilton Conservation Commission has steadfastly kept their final goal in mind to create an attractive conservation area with an emphasis on the river. The original property has been named the Salmon Run Conservation Area which will be maintained as an open space with wildflowers and will allow access to the river for fishermen and kayaks. Funding for the purchase of the properties and landscaping of Salmon Run has come from the Tilton Conservation Fund which is funded by “Land Use Change” Tax when land is removed from Current Use and developed. The Belknap Master Gardeners generously contributed money toward topsoil and landscaping in the name of Tilton Master Gardener, Theresa Schneider. Special thanks go to the Tilton Northfield Aqueduct Co. who donated time, manpower, and equipment to provide water access for site maintaining the property. More information can be found at tiltoncc. org, winnirivertrail.org and on Facebook.
Please save May 16 from 9:00 am-Noon for the annual Spring Clean-Up of the Winnipesaukee River Trail. Winter has been tough on the trail and it needs some sprucing up. Please consider joining us for any part of the morning.
This five-mile pedestrian / biking trail links Tilton, Northfield and Franklin along the Winnipesaukee River.The trail affords views of the Winnepesaukee River including a spectacular view of a gorge frequently used for whitewater kayaking.The area contains many historic and cultural sites including an old railroad trestle, the Sulphite Bridge ( an upside down railroad bridge on the National Register of Historic Sites), remains of old paper mills.
- Trail Access at Route 140 in Tilton
- Trail Access @ Northfield N 43o 26.483’ W 070 o 35.669’
- Access on Crossmill Road N 43o 26.538’ W 071 o 37.293’
- Trestle View Park in Franklin N 43o 26.718’ W 071 o 37.293’
Directions: The trail currently begins at Trestle View Park on Central Street in Franklin and runs to Route 140 in Tilton. The are trail access sites along the trail including in Northfield and at Cross Mills Road in Franklin
Description: This five-mile pedestrian / biking trail links Tilton, Northfield and Franklin along the Winnipesaukee River. The trail affords views of the Winnepesaukee River including a spectacular view of a gorge frequently used for whitewater kayaking. The area contains many historic and cultural sites including an old railroad trestle, the Sulphite Bridge ( an upside down railroad bridge on the National Register of Historic Sites, remains of old paper mills).
Viewing Information: Bike or walk this trail to explore a variety of rich riparian habitat including cattail wetlands, a beaver pond and tumbling water. Look for evidence of beaver activity as well as raccoon, mink and otter. The river provides a variety of summer homes for belted kingfishers, tree swallows, bank swallows, song sparrows, gray catbirds, common yellowthroats, red-eyed vireos and many more. A variety of waterfowl including mergansers, wood ducks and mallards may also be seen. Keep your eyes out for the occasional bald eagle or osprey.
The park is designed to serve as a gateway to the city’s downtown and a trail head for the Winnipesaukee River Trail The park provides parking, a kayak take out for the many kayakers that utilize this white water section of the Winnipesaukee River and features a memorial plaza that allows for a historical prospective on the City of Franklin.
The City of Franklin and the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association working cooperatively with funding provided by a NH Land and Water Conservation Grant constructed the park. The required 50% match was made possible by the donation of land for the park by the Grevior Family and donations of labor and equipment from others. Beck & Bellucci, Inc. contributed a large amount of the construction and other services to complete the park. The National Park Service provided design work. The Franklin Saving Bank provided needed funds to have land appraised for the grant and engineering costs to subdivide the property. George F. Sargent, Inc. donated design services and labor to install the irrigation. Shrubs and Flowers in the park have been provided, planted and maintained by the Burn’s family in memory of Ian Burns. Other funds were provided for trees and shrubs by a NH moose plate grant. Funding was also obtained from a Nestle D.I.R.T. Grant.
The park features a 15’ diameter mill wheel weighing in excess of eleven tons. This flywheel served as part of steam engine that powered a textile mill in Franklin’s historic mill district. The mill wheel prior to installation was determined by testing to have lead paint. Modern Protective Coatings of Hudson, NH donated their services to remove lead paint and repaint the wheel.
The mill wheel is dedicated to the memory of Russ Feener. Russ was a founding member of the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association and his enthusiasm for the wheel led him to make extensive efforts to have the millwheel included in the park design. A plaque is installed at the base of the wheel outlining the history of the wheel and it’s dedication to Russ.
Dedication of the park was held on Tuesday Sept 27, 2005.