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Retaining the city’s waterways

Ya gotta love water.

One of the things we sometimes take for granted, living in an area as lush as ours, is the water that surrounds us, cleanses us and our environs and nourishes us. The fact that we get a fairly stable amount of precipitation allows the flowers, trees and grass around us to thrive.

OK, so maybe this isn’t the best year to make that case, what with the area being in a pretty serious drought and all; but most years, according to the website
usclimatedata.com, Nashua gets about 48 inches of rain and 56 inches of snow. There are some parts of the country that would gladly trade their seats in the U.S. Senate for that kind of moisture falling from the heavens on a regular basis.

It is life-giving stuff, to be sure. It is also life-
enhancing. When it’s scorching hot, people seek it out to swim in, drink, freeze into ice cubes to cool those drinks and sometimes just to float upon.

There is something delightfully relaxing about being on the water.

We are fortunate to live in a region where lakes and rivers are abundant, and lots of people take advantage of that, but our public waterways are not always as accessible as they might be. In fact, people can be fairly territorial when it comes to access to waterways. Witness, for instance, the dispute currently playing out in Merrimack, where the town is addressing the issue of nonresidents’ use of Naticook Lake after a flap out that broke out on social media.

We understand and appreciate that residents view their lakes and rivers as precious resources that ought to be protected from all manner of threats, including overcrowding.

But we very much like the idea that public waterways ought to be accessible to the public, and are encouraged that the city of Nashua is taking steps to make the two rivers that are one of the city’s defining characteristics more accessible.

A large-but-aging ramp into the Merrimack River could see a facelift if Nashua can clear up an issue of public access and secure some grant money to help the project along. Besides making the Merrimack more accessible for public use, improving the ramp in the city’s north end could also give first responders better, quicker access to when they are called to emergencies on the river.

Meanwhile, the Nashua Board of Aldermen has authorized the city to enter into a license agreement with Indian Head Realty that will allow public use of a boat ramp and adjacent parking lot at the Millyard Technology Park and open up a 4-mile stretch of the Nashua River between the Jackson Falls and Mine Falls dams. Paddlers have been using the Millyard’s crushed-stone ramp, but that use required notifying Indian Head Realty Trust and signing a waiver ahead of time – a process that required the office to be open and prevented spontaneous paddling trips unless people had already launched at the site and signed the required document.

But Nashua’s waterways manager, Madeleine Mineau, said adding a new kiosk near the ramp purchased with community development money means paddlers, bird watchers and anglers will be able to gain access anytime.

"It’s a gorgeous stretch of water to kayak," Mineau said.

Yup, ya gotta love water.