BETHEL – The 18th annual Fall Foliage Flotilla held on Oct. 11 by the Mahoosuc Land Trust was heralded as a success by all participants.

The paddling event was first held in 1987 as a means of raising awareness of the recreational potential of the Androscoggin River after the cleanup efforts prescribed by the Federal Clean Water Act and state legislation transformed it from the sewer that it had once been.

In past years the flotilla was held on a section of the river between the Shelburne Dam and the Rumford Dam, where the land trust has created a “canoe trail” with public access points every few miles.

This year the paddling party of 17 participants with 11 boats traveled to Wilsons Mills to explore the Magalloway River, a tributary of the Androscoggin. The group followed the river past the site of Bennett Covered Bridge and along the base of the Diamond Peaks to the take-out in Magalloway.

Local stories and lore were provided along the way by Karen Wilson and Todd Papianou, operators of Northern Waters paddling school in Errol, N.H.

Mahoosuc Land Trust offers events throughout the year designed to acquaint members and friends with the natural resources of western Maine and northern New Hampshire. For information on how to get involved, contact the office in Bethel at 824-3806.

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