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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Stewardship work improves portage trails along Clyde River in Newport, West Charleston

NEWPORT — The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) stewardship crew, along with a team of volunteers and community partners, has successfully completed several projects that improve access along the Clyde River.

This work is part of a greater effort to maintain and enhance access for all paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts along the 740-mile waterway trail, which begins in Old Forge, NY, travels through Vermont, Quebec, and New Hampshire, and ends in Fort Kent, Maine.

“It’s been a great season of work so far,” said Noah Pollock, NFCT’s stewardship director. “We’ve already completed projects across all four states and have a few more to wrap up before the summer is out. It’s our hope that the work we completed along the Clyde River will make the experience more enjoyable for paddlers, anglers, and other users.”

The overall work improved portage trails around a series of dams in West Charleston and Newport, on the Lower Clyde River. 

The projects were completed in collaboration with Gravity Renewables, a local hydroelectric company, and supported by a Vermont Watershed Grant and a local donor.

“There is something special about exploring a river by canoe or kayak,” said Mark Boumansour, COO of Gravity Renewables. “We are proud to have partnered with Northern Forest Canoe Trail to improve access and expand recreational opportunities on the beautiful Clyde River.”

Specifically, the NFCT team and volunteers installed gravel-filled geogrid ramps, approximately 25 stone steps, and wayfinding signage along several portage and river access trails in West Charleston and Newport. 

Erosion control measures, including stone-lined ditches and water bars, were also implemented. 

The crew also found time to clean up several campsites on Clyde Pond, filling up about 10 garbage bags.

Waterway Work Trip volunteers for the Clyde River projects included Griff Keating, Stephen Magneson, Cassandra Burdyshaw, Gretchen Whitteberry, Justin Illuzzi, and Mackenzie Todd.

“It goes without saying that our volunteers make our work possible,” Pollock said. “They also bring energy and passion and a general zeal for paddling and outdoor recreation that really enriches the whole environment. We’re grateful for their support.”

NFCT’s stewardship team is led by Pollock, with support from Field Coordinator Phineas Peake and stewardship interns Rachel Hatheway, Adam Blachly, and MacKenzie Michaels.

Stewardship partners include the Vermont River Conservancy, Friends of the Mad River, Neck of the Woods, Mad River Valley Planning District, UMATR Wild & Scenic Committee, the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands, Maine Huts & Trails, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cross Vermont Trail Association, Lake Champlain Basin Program, Brookfield Renewables, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Davis Conservation Fund, Vermont Watershed Grants Program, Gravity Renewables, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

To learn more about NFCT’s stewardship programming, contact Noah Pollock at [email protected].

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