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November 20. 2013 6:23PM

Friends of Pisgah create camp area by state park

CHESTERFIELD — Members of the Friends of Pisgah Council finished a lean-to shelter Saturday on land the group owns abutting Pisgah State Park.

The site is near a Pisgah State Park trail, running water and a composting latrine the group erected this summer, creating an ideal overnight spot for campers or hikers passing through.

The state does not allow camping in the more than 13,000-acre park that sits in Chesterfield, Hinsdale and Winchester, however, park trails connect with trails that run from Keene to Brattleboro, Vt.

Friends of Pisgah Council member Kim Nilsen of Spofford said he knows hikers who have passed through Pisgah on trips from Connecticut to Canada.

Nilsen joined the Friends of Pisgah Council about a year and a half ago with more than a decade of experience with the Cohos Trail Association, with which he has worked to create a system of lean-to shelters and latrines along trials connecting the White Mountains to the Canadian border.

After joining the Friends of Pisgah, he realized, “There’s really no infrastructure that people can use overnight or a typical hiking structure in Pisgah,” Nilsen said.

John Hudachek, a member of the Friends of Pisgah, said the state park Davis Hill Trail carries over onto the 100-acre property owned by the Friends of Pisgah. The camp area with the latrine and lean-to shelter was created less than mile from the trail, so the volunteers plan to erect signs on the property leading campers and hikers to the site.

Offering overnight camping in Pisgah has been something the group has wanted to do for years, but the state hasn’t allowed it Hudachek said.

“I just feel that that is our mission to enhance people’s experience in the park. What better way than to give them another avenue to experience, where they can hike there, camp overnight and then continue hiking,” Hudachek said.

Nilsen said he has worked extensively with state officials when creating a system of campsites along the trails in Coos County and would like to work with state officials to do the same in the Monadnock region where campsites are needed, but it will take time, he said.

The Friends of Pisgah site will serve as a trial run and example, he said.

“I’d love to be able to build a shelter or two in Pisgah,” he said. “I love doing that kind of work and developing trails in remote places and giving people a chance to experience what it is like being out in the woods at night, and that’s a whole different experience.”

mpierce@newstote.com


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