Field Trip: Blackwater Dam, Webster NH

The first in what I hope will be a series of field trip photo-reports of beautiful, quirky, weird, and/or interesting places.

On Saturday, we stumbled upon Blackwater Dam on the Blackwater River in Webster, NH, while doing a loop of exploration that included Wilmot, Andover, Salisbury, Webster and Warner, NH.

It was surprising to see it in the middle of a rural area that probably has more cows and horses than people and after driving state roads that were little more than paved lanes.

The dam, which is one of five flood control dams in the Merrimack River Basin, is an Army Corps of Engineers project that was completed in 1941 for $1.32 million.

According to the brochure, the dam has “already prevented $15.3 million in damages” to the towns of Concord,  Manchester and Nashua NH and Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill, MA, among others.

Although on the day we visited the water level in the river seemed quite low (despite a wet spring and summer) and no water was falling over the dam, the high water mark hit 564 feet in 1987, filling the reservoir to 93% of its capacity.

The brochure notes that the Blackwater Dam area “offers visitors approximately 3,600 acres of land and water for recreational opportunities,” including hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hunting (gun and bow), fishing (brown and rainbow trout, perch, sunfish, pickerel), canoeing, and snowmobiling. We saw one other car parked during the 20 minutes or more that we were there — a woman was walking her two small dogs on a path behind the dam.

Since it’s the height of  hunting season and we were not wearing orange, we decided not to walk except on the berm atop the dam building (below).

The ravine in front was dotted with wild autumn weeds and pines:

There were some places we weren’t supposed to go:

But we got as close as we could!

We’ll be back, maybe next time with snowshoes and skis.


2 thoughts on “Field Trip: Blackwater Dam, Webster NH

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