WATERVILLE VALLEY — The Rey Center presents the third lecture of their summer lecture series entitled "Lost in the Great North Woods" on Friday August 30, at 8 p.m.
Kim Nilsen, founder of the Coos Trail, shares reasons "why one shouldn't build a long distance trail in the middle of nowhere" and other humorous stories.
(An excerpt from Boston Globe article, October 2011 "The Path Less Traveled) In 1978, a young newspaper reporter in northernmost New Hampshire wrote an editorial calling for the creation of a grand hiking trail spanning the length of Coos County, from the White Mountains in the south to the Canadian border. The young man, Kim Nilsen, dreamed of opening this remote part of New England, dense with natural wonders but scant on people, to new eyes.
His plan was bold. It was sweeping. And it elicited absolutely no response. So he set out to build it himself. Two weeks ago (2011), under a misty fall sky just a few miles from the Quebec border, Nilsen, now 63, finished his 162-mile trail. It had only taken 33 years.
As the last maple sapling was cut, Nilsen produced a bottle of champagne and addressed the small group of volunteers who had come out to help clear the final mile of what he has named the Cohos Trail.
"This is cheap champagne for a cheap organization,'' Nilsen said with a big smile as a blast of bubbly splattered onto the autumn leaves around him.
And with that, his "ridiculous, foolish'' idea had finally come to fruition, though it is much more than a personal accomplishment. The Cohos Trail is the largest trail system to be built in the northeast in generations, and it becomes the third long-distance trail in New England, alongside the Appalachian Trail and Vermont's Long Trail.
The Rey Center Friday Night Lecture Series is held in the Margret and H.A. Rey Center Art Gallery on the second floor in Town Square. Lectures are free for Rey Center members and only $5 for non-members.