Making Waves: Whitewater Park Construction Underway


Separating the waters of the Winnipesaukee River to create a new standing wave in the emerging Franklin Waterpark is no small feat.

Cranes hammered metal plates into the riverbed this week to temporarily divert the flow of water to create new paddling features, among the early work in the water at Mill City Park.

This surf wave will be created by lowering a huge concrete box into the river. Made of concrete, rebar and stone, these boxes are massive, over 10 feet wide and 8 feet high. They have a sloped top so that when the water slides off, it folds into itself, said Marty Parichand, the visionary behind New Hampshire’s first whitewater park.

This is the same technology used to create artificial rapids for the paddling events at the Summer Olympics.

Fieldwork progressed this summer along the Winnipesaukee River, creating parking lots and trails. Work in the water, authorized by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, was delayed for several weeks because the river flow was too high after the wettest July on record.

“It’s about 7 times too high,” Parichand said last month as he waited for water levels to drop. “It’s incredibly strange that we never have high water in July, which is why we chose it for our construction window. ”

When completed, the park will span 13 acres, with an additional 21 acres of protected land nearby, and feature three whitewater features.

Access to the river will be free to the public, but visitors will be able to rent equipment, take lessons, and then relax in Franklin after their daily adventure is over.

“We cannot own the river. It is immoral or unethical to try to charge people to go to the river, ”Parichand said. “Once you’ve built the functionality, if people have their own whitewater kayaks, their own boogie boards, their own surfboards, you can come here and surf for free.”

The construction comes at a time when investment in Franklin has increased, including the opening of new businesses and the renovation of historic mill buildings.

“If you add all of that, including a few other projects, around $ 70 million will be spent at Franklin over the next two years,” Parichand said.

Parichand, who owns an Outdoor New England equipment store in downtown Franklin, has been working on the Town of Mill project since 2016. Prior to that, he worked for Sikorsky Aircrafts, building helicopters.

“I wasn’t very happy doing the job I was doing and wanted to see if the sport I love the most could be beneficial for a city or region, so I started working on it,” did he declare.

Parichand said it was time for Franklin to reshape his identity.

“Places like Portsmouth or Burlington, these types of places have an identity,” Parichand said. “This sets the stage for turning the tide of a new era for Franklin, a second coming. One in which we absolutely let the Winnipesaukee River, kind of re-energize Franklin, and that will be through tourism and outdoor recreation. “

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