Ward Paddlers’ Campsite

Name of Project:  Ward Paddlers’ Campsite         campsite for website
Location:  Guildhall     

River:   Upper Connecticut River               

Type of Project:  Paddler’s Campsite    

Public Access:  Yes, via the Connecticut River 

Date Completed:  2009

Landowner:  Sam and Anne Ward          

Project Description:  A generous landowner and the Vermont River Conservancy have combined to create a new paddlers’ campsite on a beautiful stretch of the Connecticut River in northern Vermont, just south of Guildhall.  Sam Ward, a professor at the University of Arizona in the dry Southwest, loves being able to spend summers along the cool and clear-flowing Connecticut in northern Vermont, so he decided to make part of his land along the river available to paddlers.

“I feel so privileged to be able to be on a river like the Connecticut that I’ve been trying to help in any way I can to make the river accessible,” he said.

Ward contacted VRC, and —together with Noah Pollock, a consultant who works with VRC — they selected a site on the Ward’s land.  Ward and Pollock then collected wood donated by the Garland lumber mill in Lancaster, NH.  Working in Sam Ward’s shop, they and a crew of volunteers built a set of river-bank stairs, a picnic table, paddlers’ register, signs and a box privy.  On a weekend in late August, the group floated their work upstream to the site and installed it, creating a welcome, clearly marked and clean stop for paddlers.

The new site six miles south of Guildhall fits into VRC’s goal or making Vermont’s rivers accessible to more people.  It also fits into the concept of an Upper Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail that would create a series of paddlers’ campsites from the start of the river in northern New Hampshire to Vernon, VT.  The project was a collaborative effort with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which provided technical assistance with the campsite design, a boat to help shuttle materials and volunteer support.

“We appreciate Sam and Anne’s generosity in allowing us to build this site”, said VRC Executive Director Steve Libby.  “They realize that having sites spaced every 10 miles or so will make the Connecticut River much more usable by recreationists, and will benefit the local businesses that can provide services to the increased number of people on the river.”

Directions:  Launch below the old dam in Guildhall.  Campsite is about .5 miles downstream of old stone dam abutments, which are reached after paddling about five miles downstream of Guildhall.  Campsite is located on right side of the river, in a floodplain forest dominated by silver maples.  A timber ladder provides access to the campsite.

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