Lyman Falls River Access and Paddler Campsite

Name of Project: Lyman Falls River Access and Paddler Campsite

Lyman Falls NH

Location: Columbia, NH

River: Connecticut River

Type of Project: Public Access, River Corridor Protection

Public Access: Yes

Date Completed: December 2013

Size: 21.2 acres

Water Frontage: 7,850 feet

Landowner: Town of Columbia

Funding Partners: New Hampshire Charitable Trust, Plum Creek Foundation, Tillotson Foundation, TransCanada Foundation, National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program.

Property Description: Lyman Falls is a special property located on a scenic stretch of the upper Connecticut River. It is immediately across the river from Lyman Falls State Park, previously conserved by the state of Vermont and the VRC. The property includes an extensive cobble beach, a forested island, and over a mile of river frontage. Part of the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail, it serves as a river access for paddlers, as well as a picnicking and camping destination.

The property is also popular with anglers, as the breached Lyman Falls dam creates a large, well-oxygenated pool that provides outstanding fish habitat. With sustained moderate gradient and consistent rapids and riffles, this is some of the best trout water on the Connecticut River.

Project Background: Washburn Lumber Company purchased the property (and other parcels in Vermont) from Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) in 1963. For many years, the Washburn family has permitted public access. To ensure permanent public access and protect the parcel’s important ecological values, the VRC purchased the parcel from the Washburn Lumber Company In the summer of 2013. It was transferred to the town of Columbia in December, 2013.

Directions:

From the land: Access is possible by following a farm road situated off Route 3, 2.3 miles north of the intersection of Rt. 105 and Rt. 3 in North Stratford. Drive through a gravel quarry, down a steep hill, and across a set of railroad tracks. Please note that this road can be rough. A parking area has been established near a kiosk – do not drive onto the beach.

From the river: Lyman Falls is approximately five miles below the Lemington River Access. The river here is characterized by quick water and Class I rapids, and is best paddled at medium levels in the spring, fall, or during a wet summer. Warning: the breached dam at Lyman Falls is a hazard for paddlers. Old sections of concrete create pinning hazards at all levels and hydraulics at high water. It is best navigated by paddling or lining on the New Hampshire side. It is best to stop in at the parcel (or walk in from Lyman Falls State Park) to scout the rapid. In addition, be sure to bring a map of the river with you. On the south-western edge of the island above the breached dam is a trail providing access to a camping area for paddlers.

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