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Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail Spring Newsletter

Updated: 2 days ago

Graphic with paddlers on it and title of article

Spring has arrived in the Connecticut River Watershed! And with it, warmer days are becoming more frequent and the last of the snow melt is making its way towards the Long Island Sound. Dust off your boats and get ready for an exciting season on the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail!


2023 brought significant changes and challenges to the CRPT, as unprecedented levels of flooding plagued the region. Planning is well underway for the 2024 season as partner organizations in all four watershed states open campsites and get ready for stewardship projects!


In this SPRING issue you will find a highlight from the 2023 season, a look at what's to come in 2024, tips for cold water paddling, a review of guides/resources and a call to action for volunteers!


 

2023 Stewardship Highlights


2023 was a busy season of work and improvements on the CRPT, followed by several weeks of high water and flooding. The Paddlers' Trail continues to be one of the region's greatest recreational assets, drawing people from near and far to camp, paddle, swim and adventure. As people continue to flock to popular spots along the river, upkeep and maintenance of CRPT access points and campsites is vital to the stewardship of the trail. Read on below to learn about what was accomplished in 2023 and what's on the docket for 2024 stewardship.


  1. C R Farm, owned by Gordon Huntington in Newbury, VT 

  2. Newly conserved farmland along the CT River at the historic Newbury Oxbow. 


Protecting Riverside Acreage: Upper Valley Land Trust acquired a new conservation easement along the Connecticut River in Newbury, VT. As part of a larger effort to conserve hundreds of acres of agricultural land in the Upper Valley, UVLT worked with C R Farm, owned by Gordon Huntington, to conserve acreage along the historic CT River Oxbow in Newbury, VT. Learn more about this project and others like it at the Upper Valley Land Trust website.


people standing by eroded river bank

Moore Primitive Campsite: In 2023, through a partnership with Great River Hydro, crews installed a new privy, new cribbed landing steps and created new privy access trails at Moore Primitive Campsite. The site, located at river mile 290 includes 5 tent platforms and fire-rings.


Photo Left: Noah Pollock stands with GRH staff near eroded riverbank. New steps were installed here to ease paddler access to tent platforms. 


people sitting on stone steps near edge of river

Woodsville Access: For years, the access point in at the community ballfield in Woodsville, NH was unimproved and eroding. Stewardship Director, Noah Pollock and NFCT trail crews worked with the town to install new flood resilient stone steps. After years of planning, it took less than a day to install 10 seven-foot-wide granite steps that will last decades!


Photo Right: NFCT Stewardship Interns


 

What's in store for Summer 2024?


Goodwin University logo

Closing the Gap -- New Campsites in East Hartford, CT: Both thru paddlers and section boaters know the stress of trying to find a campsite after a long day on the river. The largest gap on the CRPT without a campsite is 28 miles, located between Kings Island in Suffield, CT and River Highlands State Park in Cromwell, CT.  For most paddlers on a leisurely trip, 28 miles is too far of a distance. By establishing a campsite at the Goodwin University property in East Hartford, the distance between campsites will be reduced to 12 miles, creating an easier distance for paddlers to reach. This project is being completed through a partnership between the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Great Meadows Conservation Trust and Goodwin University. 


Fence around a trail

Wyoming Dam River Access Repair, Guildhall VT: Access trails and signage here, originally developed by the NorthWoods Stewardship Center nearly 20 years ago, have fallen into disrepair. With support from the Vermont Watershed Grant program, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail's stewardship crew will be restoring safe and accessible conditions through the installation of 25 stone steps, 150’ of crushed stone surfacing, and the split rail fencing replacement. 


Photo Right: Former rails and portage trail when installed 20 years ago. 





Website Overhaul: The trail is growing and updating and the CRPT website needs to keep up! Paddlers and river users of all sorts look to the CRPT as a resource to plan their river adventures. This year the CRPT Executive Committee hopes to complete updates to the website, including updated campsite pages, partner highlights and easier user interface. Have thoughts about how to make the website better? Email gchevalier@ctriver.org


And much much more! The 2024 season will be filled with stewardship and improvement projects from the trail partners in all four states. Keep an eye out for more projects!


 

2024 Upcoming Events!


Paddle the Border

May 19th, 2024

Woodsville, NH

 

Hosted by the Cohase Chamber of Commerce, this event invited all paddlers to join for a day of paddling the border of VT and New Hampshire. Shuttle busses provided and music and food at the end! 


 

Shad Run Kayak

May 18th, 2024

Sunderland, MA

 

Join adventure outfitter, Adventure East for an exciting day on the water! First visit the Silvio O Conte Fish Research Lab, followed by a guided kayak to the Rock Dam to observe migratory fish in action.


 

NEPC

July 28th, 2024

Brattleboro, VT

 

Mark your calendars for the 46th annual New England Paddlesports Championships. Canoe, Kayak, SUP and Surf Ski races for all skill levels. There will be a 12 mile and a 5 mile course offered. Competitive races are part of the NEKRA Flatwater Point Series.


 
Dozens of paddlers on the Connecticut River

Spring Paddling Safety


Paddling along the Connecticut River can be a delightful and serene experience. For the most part classified as flat water, paddlers on the CRPT can immerse themselves in the tranquility of the river without encountering too many rapids (use the guides listed below to identify rapids and quickwater). However, even when the weather is warm, an unexpected wake or other unbalancing event can land a paddler in the frigid water. Spring air temperatures are climbing, but the water temperatures remain low due to snowmelt, low nighttime temperature and shaded river banks. Below are a few reminders for a safe spring season.


Wear your PFD:

Personal Flotation Devices can help you stay alive longer in cold water. You can float without using energy and the cover part of your body, thereby providing some protection from the cold water.


Leave a Float Plan:

A float plan is an integral safety tool and should always be left behind with a responsible party when paddling. A float plan should include trip starting/ending location and time, physical description of boat/persons on boats and emergency contact information.


Deceptive Warmth:

While the waters might appear tranquil and inviting, they can be deceptively chilly and swift under the surface. The majority of streams only see a change in water temperature of about 0.6 degrees for every increase of 1 degree in air temperature.


 

Remember the 1-10-1 Rule to Avoid the Dangers of Cold Water Immersion!


1 Min: Cold Shock

Cold shock produces a sudden loss of breath when the body is suddenly plunged into cold water (temperatures under 70 degrees F). This can cause involuntary gasping which can cause inhalation of water. Cold shock will pass within 1 Minute.


10 Minutes: Cold Incapacitation

For water 33-60 degrees F, Cold Incapacitation occurs in the next ten minutes, during which you will lose the effective use of your fingers, arms, and legs for any meaningful movement


1 Hour: Hypothermia

Depending on the temperature of the water, loss of consciousness may occur in as little as one hour. This is why it is essential to practice safe cold water paddling tactics.


 
Graphic calling for volunteers to be a site adopter for the CRPT

Call for Site Adopters: The CRPT is always looking for people to take care of campsites and access points. The following site needs one for the 2024 season! 


SCA Campsite: Charlestown, NH 

Visit the CRPT Website or email noah@northernforestcanoetrail.org to volunteer to steward this site!


Are you interested in getting involved with the CRPT but unsure of where to start? Help us scout new campsites, take photos of launches, build new privies, adopt a site, and much more! 


 

Finding Your Way on the Paddlers' Trail


What's your style? Are paper maps the gold standard? Or do you use a smartphone to get you where you are going? No matter your style, there are ample tools to help get you out on the river! Use the guides below to start planning new adventures for 2024. 


Map for Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail

New in 2023! New Paddlers' Trail Map of CT and MA - A new waterproof map detailing the CT and MA portions of the CT River Paddlers' Trail was released this spring.  The map covers the river from the MA border south for 130 miles to the Long Island Sound and include all access points, campsites, portage trails, and information on natural and cultural history.  $11.95

 

Available for purchase by emailing mmccaughey@ctriver.org



Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail Map

CRPT Map of NH and VT - A waterproof map detailing the Vermont/New Hampshire Section of the river. This map covers the river from its headwaters south for 280 miles to the Massachusetts border, and includes all access points, campsites, portage trails, and information on natural and cultural history. This map makes a great companion to the boating guide or smartphone app!

 

List Price: $9.95

Available at 





Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail app

Smartphone App - 2021 saw the addition of a smartphone app to the suite of CRPT Guides. This guide is GPS enabled so users can geolocate themselves on the trail even without cell phone service! Look for it in the app store under FarOut Guides or purchase the app HERE for $11.99. 



Boating guidebook for Connecticut River

The Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea - The much-loved and well-used guide of the Connecticut River, from its source at Fourth Connecticut Lake to Long Island Sound. This boating guide includes maps and mile-by-mile descriptions of what to look for while on the Connecticut River. It makes a great companion to the maps, smartphone app, and other resources. The latest edition of the guide was released in 2007, so any updates to the trail since then will be found on the interactive map at connecticutriverpaddlerstrail.org. 

 

$19.95

Available for purchase by emailing mmccaughey@ctriver.org


Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail Map

Laminated or Paper Recreation Maps - Six maps spanning the Connecticut River from Bellows Falls, VT to Hartford, CT. These maps are a compilation of useful information for the boater, sportsman, angler, or anyone who recreates along the Connecticut River. It includes information about public launch ramps, canoe and kayak put-ins, main channel with deep water, marinas and boating services, aerial photographs, dam portage and camp sites, and GPS positions.

 

Available for $17.00 each (laminated) or $7.95 each (paper) 

Purchase by emailing mmccaughey@ctriver.org 

 

Thank you for being a part of the Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail community. We couldn't do it without you!

- CRPT Executive Committee


There is much stewardship work to do along the Paddlers' Trail. You can make this work possible by making a donation today. Thank you for your support!


Click here to sign up for future Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail newsletters.


As use of the trail is free, we rely on contributions from paddlers like you to keep site infrastructure in good shape and to maintain positive landowner relations.


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