Pisgah Reservoir Kayak and Canoe Outing: Reservoir Trail to be open to the public Oct. 7

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WINCHESTER, N.H. — A trail leading to a giant, remote reservoir — one usually relegated to state officials and ATV riders — will be opened to the public next weekend as part of a special outing.

Friends of Pisgah will be hosting the Pisgah Reservoir Kayak and Canoe Outing Saturday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. The event marks what the group hopes will be the revival of a once popular event on the Pisgah

Reservoir.

"It has been several years since it was held due to the need to arrange with the state for the gate to be opened so boats can be hauled by truck up the steep half mile section to the Reservoir," said event coordinator Jack Kondos.

The reservoir is one of the more remote, large bodies of water in the area and is the largest in Pisgah, Kondos said. Typically only state officials and ATV riders have had access, said Matthew Edson, FOP president said.

At 21-square miles, Pisgah State Park is the largest in the New Hampshire State Park System. The park includes more than 13,300 acres of rough forested terrain, encompassing a complete watershed north of the Ashuelot River, according to the state parks web site. The park covers parks of Winchester, Chesterfield and Hinsdale and includes seven fishing, four highland ridges and myriad wetlands.

The climb to the reservoir is a steep mile and a half of switchbacks, Edson said, but making it to the water is worth it.

"It's absolutely gorgeous," he said. "Very pristine and very nice."

And Kondos describes it as having more than five miles of varied shoreline to explore which includes rock formations, heavily forested and marshy areas, blueberries and many islands.

"I enjoyed the previous Friends of Pisgah reservoir paddles so much I was happy to help bring it back," Kondos said.

Kondos said that the though the steep section leading to the reservoir had deteriorated, the state recently did extensive repairs.

The event is free and open to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Folks will assemble at the lower Pisgah State Park trailhead parking lot on Route 119 between Ashuelot and Winchester where the boats will be readied for hauling. FOP volunteers will shuttle boats and gear to the water up the steep road to the Reservoir where parking is limited. Officials suggested being prepared to hike from the upper parking lot since it a steep road to the Reservoir and parking is limited to boat transport vehicles.

Those unable to hike can be accommodated in boat transports upon request, officials said. Participants should bring their own boat; paddles; a life preserver for each person is mandatory; water and lunch. Registration is required. Contact FOP at FriendsofPisgah@gmail.com to register. The registration form can be signed and returned by mail to Friends of Pisgah, Inc., PO Box 134, Chesterfield, N.H., 03443 or at the event. The rain date will be the following day Sunday, Oct. 8.

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