Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Places to Play in Northern New England

I thought I would share a peek into my book, Outdoor Play “Fun 4 4 Seasons”. 

The first section, How to be an Outdoor Enthusiast, is for beginners and those who hesitate because of age, limited time, family commitments, or seek “How to” for an activity.  It describes the process of being an outdoor enthusiast.  The middle sections are divided into the year's seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, with glimpses of my outdoor treks taken from this Outdoor Enthusiast blog. 

The following section, Places to Play in Northern New England, provides web references to local activities and clubs as incentives to learn and participate in the outdoors.

Two sections, The Outdoors as a Daily Component of Life, and Eclectic  Sharing, deal with outdoor book reviews and tips such as smartphone Apps for the Outdoors and Cooking an Egg in an Onion Over an Open Campfire.

The last section, The Beginning, is my personal story of becoming a committed daily outdoor enthusiast.

Below is a look into the section titled, Places to Play in Northern New England.   The Appalachian Trail, Androscoggin River,  Great North WoodsNorthern Forest Canoe Trailand Maine Island Trail will be highlighted.


Inter-State Opportunities for Outdoor Play

Northern New England has some scenic, relaxing, simply exciting inter-state outdoor opportunities for all seasons.  Certainly waterways, forest trails and mountains have no sense of state boundaries.  Here are five non-profit organizations offering unique places to play in northern New England.

Androscoggin River

The Androscoggin River is a major river in northern New England. The Androscoggin begins in Errol, New Hampshire, where the Magalloway River joins the outlet of Umbagog Lake.  It is 178 miles long and joins the Kennebec River at Merrymeeting Bay in Maine before its water empties into the Gulf of Maine on the Atlantic Ocean. Its drainage basin is 3,530 square miles (9,100 km2) in area.

The Androscoggin River Watershed Council offers protection, history and paddling of the Androscoggin River.  The ARWC sponsors Source to the Sea.  Outdoor Steve has paddled twelve sections of this Trek and you can find descriptions of this fabulous paddle in Steve's Outdoor Play books.

Interestingly, 19 miles of the Androscoggin River headwaters are also part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT)!

Great North Woods

Northern New Hampshire, also known as the Great North Woods Region, is the official state tourist region located in Coos County. This area includes Northern New Hampshire, bordering Northeast Kingdom Vermont, and unincorporated townships in the northern and northwestern part of Maine.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Qu├ębec, New Hampshire and Maine.

The NFCT is a long-distance paddling trail connecting the major watersheds across the Adirondacks and Northern New England. The Trail links communities and wild places offering canoeists and kayakers a lifetime of paddling destinations within the 740-mile traverse across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine.  The NFCT includes flat and whitewater paddling, poling, lining, and portaging (62 portages totaling 55 miles).

A visit to the NFCT can be a day-trip, an overnight, weeks, or months. As hikers do sections of the Appalachian Trail, so do paddlers do the NFCT.  You can put-in and take-out at any appropriate location.  The NFCT organization is a great resource for your trip plan, web links, and contacts.
Scheduled regional presentations by NFCT staff can be viewed on the NFCT web site.  See the Planning link at the site for guidebooksand maps.

Three of my NFCT blog posts are below:

Appalachian Trail

The AT in northern New England passes through Vermont, New Hampshire with its northern terminus at the peak of Mt Katahdin, Maine.
I recommend two references to get started with the AT:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy preserves and manages the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.

 The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region.

The AMC staff offers outdoor experiences and programs focused on their Maine and New Hampshire huts and lodges.  Four of my Blog posts on the AT:

The Maine Island Trail

The Maine Island Trail begins at Maine's border with New Hampshire and ends in Machias, Maine, with an additional collection of two islands in the Passamaquoddy/New Brunswick region of Canada.
The Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile-long waterway along the coast of Maine that connects approximately 200 islands and mainland sites available for day visits or overnight camping.  The trail is operated by the Maine Island Trail Association(MITA). Through partnerships with the State of Maine, as well as land trusts, non-profit organizations, and generous private property owners, MITA ensures access to these sites for visitors in kayaks, sailboats, motorboats, and other watercraft. In exchange for access, MITA members agree to visitation guidelines set by the island owners and provide a wide range of stewardship services including island monitoring and management by trained volunteers and 10 organized regional island cleanups each year.

This is the Maine Island Trail Association’s 25th Season, so they have a lot of fun activities in store to celebrate that, including a photo contest.  MITA wants to get photos from all 200 sites that they will geo-coded on the web for all to view.  Send your photos!
FAQ on MIT Site Reservations

The only sites (public or private) on the Maine Island Trail that take reservations are Warren Island, Swan Island (Kennebec), Cobscook Bay State Park, and Butter and Burnt Islands.  All others are first-come first-served (FCFS). Details are in the member Trail Guide.  The MITA advises people to have a backup in mind and arrive with time to spare.  However, the fact is that except for peak weekends on smaller most favored islands, people typically do not report difficulties.  There are a lot of islands to go around!

See Outdoor Steve’s Blog post on his Maine Island Trail trek:

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest

Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle and hardcopy at Harborside Trading Company, 81 Main St, Sunapee, NHWild Goose Country Store, 77 Main St, Sunapee, NHMorgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Bookstore at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH, and Village Sports, New London, NH.

  Outdoor Play has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. 

Additional Sources of Books at:
Hardcopy at: and
E-book at: