Don’t settle for letting the Merrimack backslide

Trout Unlimited’s Keith Curley talks about growing up on the Merrimack River and how he wants to promote a healthy river for future generations to enjoy.

Merrimack River|Keith Curley

Guest post by Keith Curley is a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series spotlighting the Merrimack River.

“You fish in the Merrimack River?”  

I can still remember the surprised reactions I got as a kid when I’d tell my parents’ friends where I liked to fish.

Fishing on the Merrimack| Keith Curley
Fishing on the Merrimack

Many people in my home town of Concord, N.H., had become so used to the Merrimack being polluted in the years before the Clean Water Act that they seemed to think it would always be that way.

But the Merrimack River I knew as a kid was a vibrant place where my dad and I would catch smallmouth bass, and where my friends and I would cool off with a quick swim between football practices on hot August days. The success story of the Merrimack River cleanup was one of the things that led me to a career in conservation—I wanted to do for other rivers what had been done for the Merrimack.

That’s why it was so troubling to see the Merrimack listed as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2016. We’ve come too far to let the Merrimack backslide.

Last summer I took my son fishing at one of my old favorite spots in the Merrimack for the first time.  Let’s make sure his generation gets to experience the same vibrant river that I enjoyed as a kid.


Keith Curley is Trout Unlimited’s Vice President of Eastern Conservation. He is based in Arlington, VA. Trout Unlimited is a national organization dedicated to protecting and improving cold water fishing resources. The Merrimack River Chapter is a key building block and local members volunteer their time, money and energy to improving cold-water fishing resources in New Hampshire.

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