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Lake Winnipesaukee: Beautiful Water for Many a Generation

Lake Winnipesaukee

Some believe the translation of Winnipesaukee to be Beautiful Water in a High Place; an apt description, and one that has been in use for more than just a short while. After all, the earliest known community along Lake Winnipesaukees shores was the large village of Aquedoctan, established by the Abnaki Tribe along the Weirs channel some 500 years ago, perhaps a great deal earlier. The historical evidence leads to the great mystery surrounding the Big Lakethat being how this large lake can maintain its water quality in such a confined watershed. Winnipesaukee is extraordinarily pure for a body of fresh water, in spite of heavy and sustained use. The continuous efforts of the past and current inhabitants to preserve its rare qualities account for this end result.

Winnipesaukee 101: Lakes Region Facts

The basic facts: Winnipesaukee has 183 miles of shoreline and a surface area of nearly 72 square miles, is 21+ miles long and up to 9 miles wide, has a multitude of islands (300 or so, depending on who is doing the counting), and possesses some 600 navigation aids. It was born of the Wisconsin Glacier Period, when glaciers 2 miles thick gouged out fractured and less competent rock, leaving citadels of the more substantial host granite. At their end 13,000 years ago, the glaciers retreated, leaving their mark in the form of moraines, eskers, and kettle depressions, and in effect sculpted all of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

Why Do We Love to Live on Lake Winnipesaukee?

Of course, I have an opinion as to the major influence on the quality of the lake: I think that when people choose to live in a place rather than living somewhere out of necessity and receive continual visual inspiration, things on purpose turn out better. That, and the fact that very little mining was ever done in the surrounding mountains. The 19th century poet John Greenleaf Whittier thought this way about the view from the Melvin Village shoreline when he wrote, Where the great lakes sunny smiles Dimple round its hundred isles. When I try to imagine the lake a generation or so from now, I feel that the magical quality of the lake will more than endure; I believe it will grow in grace and serenity. Jim Ferriman 603-520-5385
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