NORTHFIELD — Friends of the Winnipesaukee River is pleased to announce White Water Slalom Racing will be held on the Winnipesaukee River on June 14-15. The event is made possible through a collaborative effort involving the NH Department of Environmental Services, the towns and Conservation Commissions of Northfield and Tilton, Friends of the Winnipesaukee River and private land owners who are allowing access to their land.
The race will be hosted by Sonny Hunt and his daughter Amy who have run the slalom race on the Blackwater River in Webster for over 30 years. Sonny Hunt stated, "We had as very successful inaugural event last year and based on the enthusiastic response from racers, this year's event will be part of the New England Whitewater Slalom Point series. " White water slalom racing combines precise boat handling skills with speed. Paddlers are timed racing through a series of gates (poles dangling from wires across the river which include both downstream (with the current) and upstream (against the current) gates. Penalties (seconds) are added for every pole touched or gate missed with the fastest times winning the race. There are a variety of categories for canoes and kayaks including men and women, combined and solo and tandem boats. Novices are encouraged to come out and give it a try.
The race will highlight efforts of the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association and Towns of Northfield and Tilton to close the gap between the two existing sections of the Winnipesaukee River trail and to complete soil remediation at the former Ernies Garage site which is currently being cleaned up under a Federal Brownfields grant and to provide trail head parking. Donations toward the matching funds for the project can be made to the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association PO Box 464 Franklin, NH 03235 or www.winnitrail.org or find us on Facebook.
Franklin will also see white water boaters over the weekend with downriver play boaters paddling the class III and IV rapids from Cross Mill Road to Trestle View Park in Franklin. Best viewing there will be at Trestle View Park and along the Winnipesaukee River Trail.
Ken Norton from Friends of the Winnipesaukee River stated "The communities of Franklin, Tilton and Northfield and groups like Choose Franklin have promoted conservation and recreation efforts on the Winnipesaukee River as a vehicle for economic development by attracting people to the downtown areas of our communities. Last year's slalom race and down river boating brought paddlers from across New England as well as New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as a strong contingent of New Hampshire paddlers and many spectators" Norton also offered special thanks to Commissioner Tom Burack and his staff at the NH Department of Environmental Services for their efforts to work closely with community leaders on this event as well as their assistance with the Brownfield clean-up at the Ernie's site.