Annual Peterson Canal Hike to be held Feb. 10

Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013 in Culture

Annual Peterson Canal Hike to be held Feb. 10

Hikers snowshoe along the frozen, snow-covered Peterson Canal in 2011. (Photo credit: Alicia Heyburn)

BATH — The public is invited to explore the scenery and history of Bath's Peterson Canal on Sunday, Feb. 10. The New Meadows Lake Association, Bath Historical Society, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust are sponsoring this annual hike starting at noon along Maine's first canal.

"You who enjoy a stroll in the country these crisp winter days can find no more interesting and enjoyable tramp than that along the old canal which was built over 100 years ago to connect the New Meadows and Kennebec rivers" — so wrote a reporter for the Bath Independent in 1911, over a century ago.

The canal was built around 1790 to connect Merrymeeting Bay with the New Meadows River, bypassing the strong currents of the Chops and facilitating downstream transportation of logs. “Today, this waterway, once built by men of industry and vision, is little more than a wet scar on the earth,” writes Ed Benedikt of the New Meadows Lake Association.

The guided, 2.5-mile scenic hike is only possible when the water is frozen. The hike will take approximately two hours. Participants should meet across from the boat launch to the New Meadows Lake on Old Brunswick Road in Bath; visit for a map of the meeting location. Participants are urged to bring skis or snowshoes, depending on the snow cover. Rides are available back to the starting point, or participants can return on foot via road or the canal.

For more information and to confirm that conditions are appropriate check the KELT website or contact Ed Benedikt at 442-0445.

Visit for more information on the history of the canal.


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