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Beautiful Fall colors are reflected off the trees with reflections in the river at Mines Falls Park in Nashua New Hampshire.
Mine Falls Park is one of the most instantly recognizable and vital parts of the city of Nashua. The park is located in the heart of the city and was purchased in 1969 with city and federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) monies. The 325-acre park includes forest, wetlands, and open fields; it is bordered on the north by the Nashua River and on the south by the Millpond and canal system. Park provides numerous passive recreation opportunities such as walking, boating, fishing, cross-country skiing, and biking. The park includes several fields for organized sports. Route 3 bisects the park.
The name "Mine Falls" derives from the 1700s, when low-quality lead was thought to be mined from the island below the falls. In the early 1800s the potential of the Nashua River to drive the wheels of industry was recognized. Workers used shovels and mules to dig the three-mile long canal, which provides a vertical drop of 36 feet at the mills.
The Gatehouse near the falls was built in 1886—with the first gates being built in 1826—and it still brings the river to the Millpond. Currently, the gatehouse is the focus of a middle school student-lead restoration project. The hydroelectric plant near the falls was built in 1984.
In 1987 the Nashua River Canal and the Nashua Manufacturing Company Historic District (the Millyard) were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1992, the park trails were designated part of the New Hampshire Heritage Trail system, which extends 130 miles along the Merrimack River from Massachusetts to Canada.
Even though Mine Falls Park is surrounded by city, it boasts a wide variety of wildlife-viewing opportunities. From mid-May to June, look for evidence of large-mouth bass and a variety of sunfish nesting in the canals. The wetland in the middle of the park provides nesting sites for red-winged blackbirds, song sparrows, common yellowthroats and mallards. The large trees are summer homes for scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles and red-eyed vireos. Year round birds include chickadees, nuthatches and blue jays. Evidence of muskrat, beaver, otter, mink and raccoon can be found along the wetlands, river and canals.
March 31st, 2012
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