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Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Northern Forest Canoe Trail
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This section of the Connecticut River offers lots of sandy beaches for swimming and picnics, and best of all: no portages. Look for great blue herons, river otters, beavers, and minks. BEST CANOEING.

The Maine section of this waterway (from Lake Umbagog to St. John River) flows a whopping 347 miles, through remote ponds, placid lakes, lively streams, and whitewater.

Iroquois, Algonquin, and Wabanaki peoples once plied these waters in canoes to hunt, fish, and travel. European pioneers struck out for the impenetrable interior by following the rivers and lakes of the Northern Forest. Slowly, New England’s dense north country was explored and settled. Hundreds of years later, these historic arteries of commerce and culture have been given a name: the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT).

In 2000, Kay Henry, co-founder of Mad River Canoe, established a nonprofit organization that champions this water trail. Now on a hot August evening, as she sits in the cloistered “Cave” room of The Balsams hotel in Dixville Notch, she orients 15 of us who will paddle the trail together for three days. She traces a long red line arcing 740 miles across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. “This,” she declares proudly, “is the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.”

–Yankee Magazine, May/June 2011

Paddle the Granite State’s 72-mile stretch of these designated waterways (740 miles in all, upstate New York to northern Maine) from Errol to North Stratford, and you’ll dip into three rivers: the Androscoggin, the Ammonoosuc, and the Connecticut. Along the way, you’ll discover springs once known only to the Abenaki, old mills, bridges, boom piers (from the region’s logging days), miles of undeveloped riverbank, and a variety of birds and other wildlife.

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