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Figuring out the Future of Livermore Falls

By Alexis Myers
On March 31, 2014


Livermore Falls is undergoing changes that will make things flow better for the community and park as a whole. Multiple discussions have taken place regarding the future of the falls in hopes to improve, preserve, and conserve its history, environment, and exploration of possible recreational usages. 

The first of two Livermore Falls visioning sessions took place on Wed., Mar. 26, at Holderness Central School. The session welcomed anyone interested in sharing their ideas about the future of Livermore Falls and the Pemigewasset River through Campton, Holderness, and Plymouth. The event was sponsored by the Plymouth Rotary Club in collaboration with The Friends of the Pemi Group and dozens of other regional partners. "The Friends of the Pemi" is a group that involves many other organizations, agencies, & individuals who care about the section of the Pemi from Livermore Falls to Secret Beach.

"Our mission is to identify issues related to our river, to define a future vision for its use, to build community consensus and execute the actions required to achieve our desired future steps," said Kenneth Evans, Member of the Plymouth Rotary Club, and co-leader of The Friends With Pemi Group. 

The potential of Livermore Falls is currently not being utilized due to past misuse and behavior; which as a result has turned some visitors away and tarnished the sites' reputation. With proper management, the site has the potential to improve its reputation and receive the treatment it rightfully deserves. The Friends of the Pemi's goal is to improve the site in order to attract more respectful behavior and encourage better stewardship. 

There will be an emphasis on the prohibition of alcohol at Livermore Falls. The ban will be strictly enforced by local law enforcement. The first offense is $100; the second offense is $250. Other fines have also been approved such as endangering oneself or others and for littering. The fines will also stay within the local town, so enforcement may be more vigilant than if the fines had gone to the State.

"The changes, I am told, are not a specific reaction to PSU students. Many PSU students enjoy going to the falls to relax and enjoy sunny days and most have been responsible in their use of the area," said Tim Kershner, PSU Chief of Public Relations Office.

In 2013 two PSU Students, David Coy a Geography Major and James McManus a Tourism Management and Policy Major, conducted a research project on Livermore Falls, which provided lots of new and factual information for The Friends of The Pemi Group. The information broke down the falls' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and recommendations for how problems with the falls could be improved. "We have engaged PSU in several ways, they have been extremely helpful, we have been working with the marketing, art, and environmental department to help us in varying activities over the past month," said Evans. 

40% of the arrests in Holderness, NH take place at Livermore Falls. For clarification purposes Livermore Falls is not the same place at Secret Beach, but share the same water source.

Livermore Falls is a NH State Park located in Campton NH, and connects to the Pemigewasset River. The falls follow State Park "carry in, carry out" policy for trash.  This particular waterfall is known for its strong white-water-kayaking encouraging currents. The Pemigewasset River is a very large water source that has housed many dams and mills over the years for producing clean energy. 

At the falls, remnants remain of the highly historical "Pumpkin Seed Bridge." This bridge is the only bridge consisting of pumpkin seed in the whole United States. It was built in 1886 by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company. It closed to traffic in 1959, and is now abandoned. It is most commonly used now for rope swinging, and bridge jumping, which the State advises for people to use extreme caution when taking part in these types of recreational activities. 

As of now, 20 deaths have taken place at Livermore Falls. Many of the deaths have been caused by jumping from the bridge and landing on rocks and/or falling on remnants of the bridge that has fallen in the river over the years. The river current has also consumed victims by pulling them under the water and falls to the point of death. 

Many locals were in attendance at this past listening meeting, and stressed the importance of safety, improved access points to the falls, more recreational opportunities such as fishing, canoeing/kayaking, more parking, and signs to promote safety, cleanliness and the bridge's historical importance. 

Donations have been made to support this cause and has currently raised $9000 for the falls and river improvements,  "This meeting is to help decide its use and if the equipment we could potentially need could be funded by the donations," said Evans.

"We have been working for a little over two years now on this project to help make The Pemi the best possible park area ever and we want to know what ideas local people interested in this cause have to say and propose," said Evans.

Another listening session to help plan the future of the Livermore Falls Recreation area will take place on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - noon at Plymouth Elementary School. The committees in charge of looking after Livermore Fall encourage local residents, PSU students, and any other concerned persons to contact them and share their opinions on what they would like to see happen to the future of the falls. For more info: 603-968-2145 or Also, visit "Friends of the Pemi- Livermore Chapter" on Facebook.

"In short, our goal is to transform it into a family friendly location where we all can enjoy the natural beauty, and peaceful tranquility of Livermore Falls and to enhance the dire of our Pemi asset by preserving it historical, conservation and recreational values," said Evans. 

Livermore Falls is a section of the Pemigewasset River located just south of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The falls are found in Grafton County at the meeting point of the three towns of Holderness, Campton, and Plymouth. The river is set back from the road, so arriving at the site requires a short walk through the woods. 

To access it from the Holderness side is the easier of the two entrances, one must walk down a dirt access road, and a few small single-track paths. The Campton entrance is a a little more difficult, requiring individuals to go down steep, eroded hills, and cross over railroad tracks to reach the river.

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