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April 09. 2013 8:55PM

This weekend's Milford Expo offers tips for making most of the outdoors

MILFORD ­- There are endless opportunities for getting outdoors in the Milford area including hiking, fishing, kayaking and snowmobiling, the Southern New Hampshire Outdoor Recreation Expo is designed to help people wander beyond the beaten path.

On Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hampshire Dome in Milford, the Milford Conservation Commission will host its fourth Outdoor Recreation Expo, bringing together dozens of organizations and exhibitors.

"We host this expo every two years," said Chris Costatino, Milford's conservation coordinator. "It's another way to reach out to people to let them know about all of our trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities."

Throughout the day there will be nearly a dozen speakers and demonstrations. Ed Boyle of New Hampshire Fish and Game will talk about the state's black bear population at 10 a.m., and at 11:15 am, Peggy Barter of the UNH Cooperative Extension will give a gardening talk on making a comfortable habitat for wildlife in the backyard.

There will be a talk about birds, bats and butterflies by Chris Bogard of the extension service at 12:30 p.m., and Cynthia Nichols will discuss the impact of white noise on the Granite State's bat population at 1:30 p.m.

Equestrians will present vaulting demonstrations, Boy Scouts will offer tips for camping, GeoCaching will be explained and local nature authors will talk about their work.

Fish and Game representatives will be handing out maps showing fishing and boating access and birding trails, plus information on shoreline fishing and OHRV trail riding opportunities.

Environmental groups including Trout Unlimited, Souhegan Valley Land Trust, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, along with local conservation commissions, will be on hand to discuss the importance of preserving open space in southern New Hampshire.

The expo also serves as an opportunity to raise money to improve Milford's Rail Trail, a three-mile system that connects to a similar trail in Brookline.

Costatino said the goal of the Conservation Commission is to raise $120,000 to tunnel under Melendy Road, a busy street that cuts the trail off.

"The train used to run under Melendy Road," she said, "But the tunnel was filled in in the 1950s. We want to dig it out again, so we're working toward achieving that goal."

For more information including a complete schedule, visit milford.nh.gov/town/boards-committees-and-commissions/conservation/southern-nh-outdoor-recreation-expo.

nfoster@newstote.com


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