Lamprey River Partner Spotlight and Designation Origin Story



Date Study was Enacted

Public Law

Congressional Sponsors

Date Enacted

Public Law

Lamprey River


December 11 1991

PL 102-214

William H. Zeliff (R-NH)*

November 12, 1996
Additional Designation May 2, 2000

PL 104-333PL 106-192

Miles Designated

Congressional Sponsors

Designated ORVs


Outstanding Resources


Don E. Young (R-AK)
John E. Sununu (R-NH)

Cultural, Fish, Historic, Wildlife, Botany, Ecologic, Hydrology

Lamprey River Advisory Committee

Anadromous fish, including herring and shad, historical sites, and diverse habitats

*U.S. Senator Judd Greg (R-NH) was chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and was a strong advocate for designation of the Lamprey River. He also helped the Lamprey to receive $5 million in land protection funding

Reflections on a River: 30 Years of Protecting the Lamprey River

Since 1983 volunteers have worked to protect the rich resource that flows through our communities. The Lamprey River Watershed Association (LRWA) successfully pursued state recognition for a section of the river and later the entire watershed. The Lamprey River Advisory Committee (LRAC) successfully pursued federal designation. We hope you are inspired by this Lamprey designation video!

LRAC: Twenty Years of Progress

In 2016, the committee received a grant from the National Park Service to create a report covering the history and progress of twenty years as a national Wild and Scenic River. The report was finalized and published in September 2017.

Dick Lord on board from the beginning

When I was eleven years old in 1957, my parents and I moved to our new home beside the Lamprey River, just down from Packers Falls in Durham, NH. I spent my boyhood hopping on rocks across the stream, harassing bullfrogs, and otherwise getting to know and love all the creatures who made the river their home. While away for college and for a few years as an aerospace engineer, I was always drawn back to my Lamprey home, and subsequently made career choices that continued to let me live in my childhood home, now for more than 63 years.

Dick Lord at LRWA booth promoting tube races.  Photo provided by LRWA.
Dick Lord at LRWA booth promoting tube races.  Photo provided by RH Lord.
In the early 1980s, the Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) received a grant to build community involvement for the guardianship of its local rivers, and SRPC staffer Francesca Latawiec set about to locate volunteers to revive an earlier watershed association. I was among the early recruits, and in 1983 we incorporated the Lamprey River Watershed Association (LRWA) to help protect the river and to educate the public about its importance. I was elected President and served in that role for the next decade. In addition to our more serious efforts, our activities included several “tube races” from Packers Falls to Newmarket to help promote the River.

As the LRWA explored ways to protect and preserve the natural state of the river, we learned that the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) was considering the formation of local advisory committees to assist in identifying problems, crafting shoreland protection rules, and providing local input for DES issued permits within the river corridors. Through LRWA’s efforts, support was gained in the towns of Durham and Lee in 1990 to have that portion of the Lamprey become a part of one of the first five State Rivers Management Advisory Committees. Members received their appointment from the DES Commissioner upon recommendation from their local town government and I was among several LRWA members appointed to the new Lamprey River Advisory Committee (LRAC).

The LRWA had also been tracking the efforts of the National Park Service (NPS) to develop a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and the Lamprey had many of the outstanding resource values needed to qualify. Participation in the NPS program required major local support and ultimately Congressional action to amend the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to include each new river into the Act. LRWA and LRAC members launched a major campaign to survey local riparian landowners, develop community support, combat “threats of government takeover” disinformation efforts, and persuade our Congressional representatives to support designation. After a two year Study effort, in 1996, the portion of the Lamprey River in Newmarket, Durham, and Lee, NH became part of the NPS Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers. The State appointed LRAC now serves as the designation Advisory Board.

Along with NPS designation, we now had help from NPS Staff to draft a Management Plan, and funding to carry out the goals of that Plan. Thanks to the enthusiasm of our leading Senator, the LRAC had a separate five million dollar land protection fund to be used toward conservation easements in partnership with town conservation commissions and local land trusts.

As someone who gets to see the Lamprey every day as I look out my windows, I have felt a lifelong obligation to support the efforts to preserve and protect the natural beauty of the River. I am now in my 31st year of serving on the Lamprey River Advisory Committee (LRAC), and am proud to see my contributions bear fruit.
Dick Lord at John Hatch Park kiosk.  Photo provided by LRWA.
Dick Lord at John Hatch Park kiosk.  Photo provided by RH Lord.

I help lead the development of informational kiosks at a number of sites, and actively participate in improving recreational access, developing maps and public information programs, inventorying wildlife, surveying archeological sites and helping preserve over 3,500 acres of land along the rivers. Our quarter-century partnership with the National Park Service has been very fruitful, indeed, and made many wonderful projects possible. It has been a joy to be part of this effort for nearly four decades, and I hope to continue to participate for as long as I am able. More information on Dick Lord’s recent conservation efforts may be found in this Nature Conservancy article.

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Last updated: November 30, 2020