Friends of the Northern Rail Trail – Minutes of Oct. 18 Meeting

Board Attendees: Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Craig Heim, Lindy Heim

Guests: Elaine Clough and Bruce Crawford (Boscawen)

Business Matters:

1. Minutes of September meeting, accepted unanimously.

2. Treasurer’s Report, accepted unanimously

3. Technology report. The website continues to be kept current through the efforts of Volunteer Manager Cathy Liske. Contacts with new potential sponsors are being pursued.

4. Title Changes in Board Officers. Co-President Myra Mayman will no longer serve in the additional capacity of Secretary; and current Recording Secretary George Heaton will assume this additional title.

Trail Improvement Initiatives:

1. Signage. The strong sense of the meeting – coupled with inputs from other Board members in advance – favored installation of milepost interpretive signage on the Trail as soon as possible. Expenditures for this initiative have previously been authorized, thus allowing it to proceed.
The sign prototypes that have been under consideration for some time will soon be produced and installed on the Trail at all five current kiosks, as well as in Danbury. Co-President Lindy Heim is making arrangements to obtain signs of approximately 18″ (h) x 24″ (w) in laminated paper, which would utilize the designs heretofore considered. While these designs may warrant changes in the future, their installation now would be of significant benefit to Trail users.
The Board regards this signage as an initial effort, and solicits the input of all on possible improvements.
2. Maintenance Projects. Chris Norris has been overseeing the extensive maintenance work now being undertaken on three bridges, several culverts, in addition to ditching and resurfacing at various sites. As with many such jobs, the full extent of the work is not known until it is undertaken. This has proved true in many instances, such as bridge planking needing replacing, damaged supporting beams, and completely plugged culverts. Happily, these problems are being admirably resolved by our two contractors Rodney Judkins and Jon Champlain.

The Board wishes to acknowledge and thank these contractors for their excellent work, as well as Chris Norris for his time in supervising the work and reporting in detail to the Board.

Legal and Policy Issues:

1. ATV Controversy. The use of ATVs on rail trails – currently not a permitted use under Federal policy – has been advocated by certain New Hampshire towns, that have petitioned U.S. Senate and House Representatives to change Federal law in this regard.
The FNRT-MC is strongly opposed to any such change, which could destroy trail surfaces and create serious safety hazards. With this in mind, the FNRT-MC has brought a proposed resolution opposing change in Federal policy to the attention of the Selectmen in Andover, Danbury, Grafton and Lebanon. In all cases, the Selectmen have voted to ratify this resolution, and have sent it to all members of the NH Congressional delegation. Consideration of the same by Wilmot is scheduled for November.
The Board is gratified by this show of support for our position among the towns on the Trail, and it will continue to oppose any potential changes in use that would be damaging to the Trail.

2. Modification to Board Voting Procedure. The use of electronic and other means of casting votes at Board meetings – currently not utilized — has been under consideration for some time. The issue is a complicated by the existence of various possibilities, and has been a perennial subject of proposed legislation at the State level. The Board believes that additional action should be deferred until the legislative situation is clarified.

Future Dates of Note:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 – Board Meeting, 7 PM, Take Root Co-Working, 361 Central Street, Franklin