Skip to content



NASHOBA VALLEY VOICE/ANNE O’CONNOR The Nashua River Watershed Association released a new edition of their popular canoe guide. It tells paddlers about access points, hazards and landmarks for navigation. Nashoba Paddler in West Groton has been providing rentals and tours for individuals and groups for over two decades.

GROTON — One of the best but not very well-kept secrets about Nashoba Valley is the great outdoors.

Folks come from the Boston and Worcester area to explore the woodlands and wetlands of the region, said Wynne Treanor-Kvenvold, the communication manager at the Nashua River Watershed Association.

With the publication of the sixth edition of “The Nashua River Canoe and Kayak Guide” paddlers will have latest information. Places to put the boats in, portages and descriptions of the sections will be at their fingertips.

The guide is not just an update, said Al Futterman, land programs and outreach director at the NRWA. It is a complete redo of the last edition.

The last edition was released sometime around 2001, Treanor-Kvenvold said.

Futterman paddled the all the sections at least a couple of times over the past three years while working on the guide. Fellow paddlers and a committee helped put everything together.

“The guide is geared to people who are not familiar with the river,” he said. The first half of the book describes the different sections. The last part is filled with maps.

The sturdy, palm-sized book is jam-packed with information that Futterman and his fellow travelers know is important. Maps of each section show important spots in red: access points, hazards like rapids and dams that a kayaker should never, ever try to go over.

They show portages, some more difficult than others. The narratives include seasonal recommendations, noting very shallow sections that should usually be avoided during the summer.

“Choose an outing that is safe and enjoyable for everyone in your group,” the guide says on the first page. The rest of the spiral-bound book makes planning that trip fun.

Paddlers still need to keep an eye out for dangerous conditions that might not be in the guide.

“Rivers change on a daily basis, from one night to the next day,” he said. A tree falling down or a storm can change the waterways.

The guide explores the Nashua, Nissitissit, Squannacook, North Nashua and Stillwater rivers. They are all part of the Nashua River watershed.

The smaller rivers flow into the Nashua River which empties into the Merrimack River in Nashua, N.H. Unlike most rivers, the Nashua flows north.

Novice paddlers can get a taste of the Nashua River at Nashoba Paddler in Groton. Co-owner Diane Carson was part of the committee, and one of the paddlers, who put the guide together.

The dock in West Groton is a good place to start.

“The river by us is a really friendly river,” she said. “It’s easy to paddle.”

“We try to make it as easy as possible,” she said. They provide instruction and help people in and out of the boats, which can be a tricky maneuver at a dock.

Paddlers get a map, with estimated times, so they can leave their watches and cellphones behind. Customers can choose to rent a dry bag and bring those items while keeping them safe and dry.

Her customers range from individuals who walk in and large groups from schools and recreation program. One couple held their wedding on the river.

Most paddlers are from the watershed area, which extends north to Nashua and south to the Wachusett Reservoir. Some are from further away and might stay at a local campground or hotel.

“The Nashua River Canoe and Kayak Guide” can be purchased at the NRWA, 592 Main St., Groton between 9 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at

They are also available at Nashoba Paddler, 398 West Main St., Groton.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.