In the Heart of the Valley

Merrimack River Valley Voyagers Expedition, Day Three

From August 7-10, the Merrimack River Valley Voyagers, a group of community leaders from the Merrimack Valley, will kayak and camp the entire length of the Merrimack River — 117 miles from Franklin, N.H. to Plum Island, Mass. — stopping in cities along the way for public events highlighting the river, including environmental issues; economic development; education and the workforce; and recreational opportunities.

The Merrimack River provides drinking water to more than 600,000 people, and access for fishing, boating and paddling. Massachusetts’ busiest state park (at Salisbury Beach) and busiest boat ramp (Cashman Park in Newburyport) are located on the river.

The trip started as a recreational outing for Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn. Follow him on Instagram [@lane_a_glenn] to see what he does in his spare time. His recent exploits include hiking in Canada’s Banff National Park and participating in the 2019 Tough Mountain Challenge.

Left: The scouting report for Lowell is a challenging one: It is sometimes possible to navigage around the Pawtucket Falls by taking the canal and locks, but for safety, we’ll drive around. Right: The Heritage State Park boat ramp. Photos courtesy Lane Glenn.

Forming the initial group were Dougan Sherwood, president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Derek Mitchell, executive director of the Lawrence Partnership and president of the Merrimack River Watershed Council Board of Directors Dan Graovac. As planning continued and enthusiasm grew, others signed on to join the MRV Voyagers team.

As Lane Glenn explains, “In the Merrimack Valley, we all work together to promote economic development and the river is central to just about everything we do. By paddling together, we thought it would symbolically demonstrate the importance of our partnerships and also the beautiful resource that flows through our communities.”

Each of the lawmakers paddling on the voyage has sponsored legislation or amendments addressing the environmental concerns of cities and towns along the Merrimack.

Follow mvm on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for interviews, live streaming and updates on the expedition. You should also follow #mrvvoyagers on Instagram and Twitter to see what the other Voyagers are posting. 

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