Up the Merrimack River with Thoreau

thoreauOn this day, Aug. 31, 175 years ago, Henry David Thoreau and his elder brother John set out on an expedition from Concord, Massachusetts, in a homemade wooden boat. Over the course of two weeks they traveled first downstream on the Concord River, then upstream along the Merrimack River past Nashua, Manchester, and Concord, NH. That trip would become the backbone of Thoreau’s first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, published ten years later in 1849.

Today, 175 years after Thoreau’s river expedition, the Merrimack still flows. But it is threatened. In 2010 the US Forest Service identified the Merrimack watershed as the most threatened in the nation, due to projections of population growth and our reliance on land intensive suburban development patterns. In response, 33 organizations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts recently completed a comprehensive land conservation plan for the Merrimack River watershed. The good news is that there is still forestland that, once conserved, can help maintain the health and vitality of the river.

– Excerpted from the Forest Journal, published August 31, 2014. Read More…