The River Valley Region gets its name from the Androscoggin and Swift Rivers which flow through northern Oxford County and in or near the incorporated towns of Andover, Byron, Canton, Dixfield, Mexico, Peru, Roxbury and Rumford. The hub of this region is Rumford, the largest community and home to the largest employer, NewPage Corp.
In addition to rivers, there are beautiful lakes and ponds as well as mountains that add to the River Valley’s scenic beauty and make it a four-season destination. In Rumford, Penacook Falls, highest east of the Niagara, plunges 180 feet over solid granite. Popular recreational activities include camping, golfing, hiking, hunting, bicycling, skiing – cross country and downhill—snowmobiling, tubing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and gold-panning to name a few. Black Mountain is one of the top Nordic skiing areas in North America and the site of two U.S. Cross Country Championships. The Androscoggin River has some of the best bass fishing in New England.
Historically the River Valley has been a manufacturing center for the wood products, lumber and paper manufacturing industries. Although the region still has several significant wood products- related employers, including Catalyst Paper and Irving Forest Products, business growth and expansion has shifted to the service sector.
The River Valley is also home to the first wind energy project in Oxford County. Twenty-two wind turbines run along Record Hill in Roxbury and produce 130 million kilowatt hours per year or roughly the amount of all residential electrical consumption in Oxford County. Another wind energy project in Dixfield is going through the approval process.