On Saturday May 10th, a new kiosk was unveiled at Chesterfield Gorge to celebrate "the Gorge's" restoration by a group of hard-working volunteers. Formed two years ago, the Friends of the Gorge have worked hard to bring the Gorge back to it's status as one of the premier natural wonders of Cheshire County. Years of neglect had led to its gaining a reputation as the center of various unsavory activities. To celebrate the end of that era, more than 30 people were in attendance for this event, and most joined the walk down into the Gorge. Here the volunteers had cleaned out the large amounts of dead trees and brush so that there are now more wide open perspectives, sturdy bridges, and views of the rushing water, as they look down into what some have called "The Grand Canyon of Chesterfield." A loop trail of about a half hour makes it possible to circumvent the whole Gorge and see it from many different perspective.
One side of the Gorge’s new two-sided kiosk features the State of New Hampshire’s signage related to the expectations of visitors to the Gorge, as well as information on its geology and trails. The other side of the kiosk contains a newly created map of the recreational opportunities in Chesterfield. This map shows all the public lands hiking trails, bike routes, boat landings and snowmobiling trails in the town.
The group in attendance was treated to a table of refreshments as well as celebratory remarks describing and celebrating the collaboration of volunteers and organizations which made the event possible. Litter and brush from the parking area had been removed and new picnic tables are now in place. The kiosk itself was partially funded by the Quabbin to Cardigan (Q2C) Initiative, a grant secured by Lynne Borofsky of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission (CCC), with the remainder of the funding coming from the Commission itself. The inset map was prepared by Steve Woleryszak of Southwest Regional Planning Commission using GPS work completed by the Monadnock Conservancy, and again with funding from the CCC. The State of New Hampshire approved of the project and welcomed the opportunity to hang their information on one side. They have stepped forward with new plans for reopening the visitor's center at the Gorge.
The Friends of the Chesterfield Gorge were represented by John Koppmann, Jeff Scott, Neil Jenness and Steven Lowe. Others in attendance from the Conservation Commission, in addition to Borofsky, were Chair Tom Duston, Amy LaFontaine, Pam Walton and Commission Photographer Jeff Newcomer. Others of note attending included Chris Wells from the Forest Society, facilitator's of the grant, and Lucy Weber, New Hampshire State Representative from District 4 (???). The spirit of good conservation, collaboration and hiking, on a nice sunny day, were enjoyed by all ages at this beautiful spot.
Another kiosk has been placed outside the Chesterfield Town Offices to inform all the residents and visitors about the recreational opportunities in Chesterfield.