Another NH rail trail link completed: Manchester-Goffstown

The Singer family's behind many philanthropic efforts in the Manchester area. It's fitting that the bridge carries the Singer name.

The Singer family’s behind many philanthropic efforts in the Manchester area. It’s fitting that the bridge carry the Singer name.

New Hampshire’s Piscataquog Rail Trail finally reaches across the Piscataquog River, connecting Manchester with Goffstown. I put off some workday tasks long enough to walk the trail from its east end all the way across the new bridge. With all due respect and gratitude to the many people who made the project happen (Manchester Moves and the Singer family, for starters), I didn’t stay for the ribbon-cutting and speechifyin’. Trails are for walking.

On the Manchester side, looking toward Goffstown, at long last.

On the Manchester side, looking toward Goffstown, at long last.

On the Goffstown side.

On the Goffstown side.

I call this right neighborly.

I call this right neighborly.

It was a good morning to walk along the trail all the way to the Merrimack River flowing past Manchester’s millyard. It’s mid-autumn and the foliage might be considered past peak, but it’s still beautiful as far as I’m concerned.

Second Street bridge, near east end of Piscataquog Rail Trail.

Second Street bridge, near east end of Piscataquog Rail Trail.

The Queen City: Manchester, New Hampshire.

The Queen City: Manchester, New Hampshire.

Manchester-Goffstown connector: the new span is in place

August 2015: new span will soon link the Goffstown and Piscataquog (Manchester NH) rail trails. Ellen Kolb photo.

August 2015: new span will soon link the Goffstown and Piscataquog (Manchester NH) rail trails. Ellen Kolb photo.

I take back every pessimistic word I ever wrote about the difficulties that would have to be overcome in order to link the rail trails in Goffstown and Manchester, New Hampshire. The previous post on this blog, from one month ago, showed a great big empty spot where the old railroad trestle over the Piscataquog River used to be. Now, sooner than I thought possible, a new bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists is in place. It’s not yet open, but I checked out the area today and saw a serious construction effort underway on the approach to the Manchester end.

Good news, I say.

Progress on the Goffstown/Manchester NH link

Nice to see that the proposed rail trail link connecting Goffstown and Manchester is moving forward. My afternoon walk on Manchester’s west side included a stop at the end of Bremer Street to see how construction is going. The old rail trestle is gone, moving us closer to the day when we’ll have a bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the Piscataquog River. In the meantime, the Piscataquog trail on the Manchester side is in fine summer form, with plenty of shade.

To Weare & the Everett Dam

Clough State Park with its little beach on Everett Lake in Weare is still awaiting its opening day, but walkers are welcome on the nearby Everett Dam. This would have been a mountaintop day if I’d had the time; the air was amazingly clear. I settled for a half-hour walk along the dam and the quiet roads nearby.

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View across the dam from the parking area on Clough Park Road

Everett Dam spillway in a very dry spring

Spillway downstream: empty today

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Everett Lake, with Mount Kearsarge in the distance

North Uncanoonuc from Everett Dam

Looking south towards Goffstown’s North Uncanoonuc

A short Manchester stroll: no bridge, but plenty of sunshine

I reported last April on plans to build a pedestrian bridge over the Piscataquog River to link rail trails in Manchester and Goffstown. How’s that going? Alas, very slowly, it appears. The old trestle is still in place, still fenced off, with no new bridge next to it.  I know these things take time. Here’s hoping that all the factors come together soon.

I couldn’t visit Manchester’s side of the trail on a fall afternoon without spending a half hour on it. My last visit to this segment was three years ago. I took these photos today to show how the leaves aren’t at peak color yet in this area. I should have another couple of weekends for leaf-peeping.

This will be a pedestrian crossing, someday.

This will be a pedestrian crossing, someday.

Piscataquog River upstream of the old rail crossing

Piscataquog River upstream of the old rail crossing

Fences between the trail and private yards are softened by blossoms like this.

Fences between the trail and private yards are softened by blossoms like this. Note the lack of fall color. The best is yet to come.

 

 

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New Boston Rail Trail

New Boston is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year, with festivities going on all summer. Today, I intended to take a house tour being offered by the town’s historical society. When I arrived on this perfect June day, though, it was clear that the house tour was already doing good business without my help. This gave me time to visit a nearby trail I haven’t seen in too long. The New Boston rail trail follows the Piscataquog River. This is actually a remnant of the same line that is being rehabilitated for recreational use in Goffstown and that runs through Manchester to the baseball stadium. This leafy and cool trail is perfect on a summer day as long as you carry bug repellent. This is a dirt trail, which means it’s occasionally muddy, and it’s open to horses, which means watch your step.

My favorite feature of the trail is the footbridge over the Middle Branch of the Piscataquog. It’s a simple but lovely piece of work. I’ve included a photo of the bridge in this post’s photo gallery. (Hover your computer mouse over each photo for a descriptive caption.)

The trail runs northeast from near the center of New Boston to the Goffstown line. Parking is available at three locations off NH Rt. 13 north of New Boston’s town center: the 4-H Fairgrounds (Hilldale Lane), Gregg Mill Road, and Parker Station.  See the rail trail page on the town web site for further information, including a schedule of trail work days.