The Pemigewasset River flows for approximately 70 miles through the north central section of New Hampshire. The river's headwaters are in Profile Lake and the river flows in a southerly direction to its confluence with the Winnipesaukee and Merrimack Rivers. The Pemigewasset River Council has nominated 60 miles of the Pemigewasset River for designation into the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. There are approximately ten miles of the river that the Pemigewasset River Council have not included in this nomination, they include the segments through the towns of Lincoln and Woodstock. The nominated segments include ten miles through Franconia Notch State Park and from the northernmost Thornton town line to its confluence with the Winnipesaukee and Merrimack Rivers. The river segments have been evaluated by the Department of Environmental Services and are found to qualify for designation.
The Rivers Management and Protection Program Act (RSA Ch. 483) was passed by the General Court in 1988 and amended in 1990. The Act states in part: "It is the policy of the state to ensure the continued viability of New Hampshire rivers for the benefit of present and future generations. The state shall encourage and assist in the development of river corridor management plans and regulate the quantity and quality of in-stream flow along certain protected rivers or segments of rivers to conserve and protect outstanding characteristics including recreational, fisheries, wildlife, environmental, cultural, historical, archaeological, scientific, ecological, aesthetic, and community significance so that these valued characteristics shall endure as part of the river uses to be enjoyed by New Hampshire people."
The Act directs the Department of Environmental Services to receive and evaluate nominations for the designation of rivers or river segments to protect outstanding values and characteristics under the Rivers Management and Protection Program. The Rivers Management Advisory Committee and the Rivers Coordinator make recommendations to the Commissioner who in turn forwards a recommendation to the General Court for review and approval.
In fulfillment of this statutory directive, the nomination of the Pemigewasset River is hereby forwarded to the General Court. The Department of Environmental Services recommends that these river segments be designated into the Rivers Management and Protection Program and classified as stated in the summary and recommendations section of this report under the provisions of the protection measures in RSA Ch. 483. The outstanding statewide and local resource values and characteristics which qualify these river segments for designation are described in this report.