In the Heart of the Valley
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
by Doug Sparks, Merrimack Valley Magazine
The Merrimack River provides drinking water to more than 600,000 people, and access for fishing, boating and paddling. Massachusetts’ busiest state park (at Salisbury Beach) and busiest boat ramp (Cashman Park in Newburyport) are located on the river.
The trip started as a recreational outing for Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn. Follow him on Instagram [@lane_a_glenn] to see what he does in his spare time. His recent exploits include hiking in Canada’s Banff National Park and participating in the 2019 Tough Mountain Challenge.
Forming the initial group were Dougan Sherwood, president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Derek Mitchell, executive director of the Lawrence Partnership and president of the Merrimack River Watershed Council Board of Directors Dan Graovac. As planning continued and enthusiasm grew, others signed on to join the MRV Voyagers team.
As Lane Glenn explains, “In the Merrimack Valley, we all work together to promote economic development and the river is central to just about everything we do. By paddling together, we thought it would symbolically demonstrate the importance of our partnerships and also the beautiful resource that flows through our communities.”
Each of the lawmakers paddling on the voyage has sponsored legislation or amendments addressing the environmental concerns of cities and towns along the Merrimack.