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October 02. 2012 8:42PM

Pumpkin paddling may be prudent at annual regatta

GOFFSTOWN — Captains of the giant pumpkins set to make their way down the Piscataquog River at Goffstown’s annual Pumpkin Regatta Oct. 14 may have to resort to some old-fashioned rowing, as the presence of milfoil may prohibit the use of motors.

“We’re going to have to be very cautious this year,” said Robbie Grady, executive director of the Main Street Program, which hosts the event.

Grady said the water was inspected yesterday to see how much of the invasive weed is present, and a decision will be made by next week as to whether or not motors can be used.

“We don’t know how extensive it is,” Grady said. “We’ve asked all boaters to bring a paddle this year.”

According to the N.H. Department of Environmental Services, milfoil spreads quickly and easily. Grady is concerned that the use of motors at the regatta may make it worse.

“Milfoil can get chopped up by a motor and spread,” she said, and combined with the safety issue of weeds clogging boat motors, banning pumpkin-propelling motors is a definite possibility.

“Once we see the extent of the problem, we’ll decide on how we’re going to proceed,” said Grady.

At Monday’s meeting, the board of selectmen voted to allow access to the shoreline for milfoil removal, providing that state regulations are met and the town does not incur any cost.

Grady said Larry Pilotte, who is certified in milfoil eradication by the state of New Hampshire, was hired by the Main Street Program to remove some of the milfoil at the launch site, but would not indicate how much his services cost.

“We’ve secured the work of Larry to take care of the area that’s of most concern to us,” Grady said.

Pilotte is expected to report his findings to the state.

Grady said the complication won’t do much to change the rest of the weekend, which will feature trolley rides, live music, and several pumpkin-themed activities and events, including a weigh-off, cook-off, a catapult and pumpkin carving and painting.

kremillard@newstote.com


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