Friends of Northern Rail Trail Meeting

Warm-Weather Agenda for the Trail

By George Heaton

April 18,  2018

Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, George Heaton, Craig Heim, Lindy Heim, Charles Martin, Myra Mayman, Chris Norris

Other Supporters of the NRT:  Cathe Lisk, Ricker Miller, Prescott Towle,

Business Matters:

1. Minutes of March 2018 Board Meeting, accepted unanimously, after one amendment.  The amendment correctly characterizes FNRT-MC as a “consulting party” in the “consultative process” that is used by NH DOT in the planning of highway projects.  (See “Upcoming Events.”)

2. Treasurer’s Report, accepted unanimously.  

The asset position in April — approximately $29,000 in current account – is essentially unchanged from March, which is consistent with normal winter inactivity.  In the near future, increased revenue is anticipated from annual fundraising (see Upcoming Events) and other contributions. Thus, the Board continues its commitment to a wide variety of Trail maintenance and improvement projects, which are now getting underway.

Tax returns have been filed with the Federal and New Hampshire Revenue authorities in a timely fashion.  As May 1 is the deadline for such filings, this date will be inserted into the FNRT-MC calendar. (“To Do”)

In addition, correspondence has been received from the State of New Hampshire as to annual fees for road signs indicating the Trail.

3. Technology report.  Cathe Lisk — a most-welcome new attendee and much-appreciated volunteer technology manager – presented a report on the FNRT-MC website and related matters.  Cathe continues to keep the website up to date, with items such as past minutes, sponsor pages, new PayPal arrangements, and the use of “” as a “Charity of choice” by Amazon users.

Cathe will contact Jim Lerner about the use of PayPal, email solicitations and website notifications for the Annual Appeal.  (“To Do”)

4. Andover Hub Meeting Site.  As the Board continues to be pleased with the Andover Hub as a site for meetings, it was agreed to make this venue habitual place, and to remit $100 per year to the Andover Hub in gratitude.

Trail Maintenance Projects:

1. Maintenance.  Board member Chris Norris has actively pursued arrangements for maintenance projects vital to the Trail.  Six bridges – five in E. Andover, and one in N. Danbury — are slated for repair. Ten culverts needing cleaning/repair have been identified, as well as associated ditching.

Chris has received bids for the bridge repair from contractor Rodney Judkins, who has done similar good work for FNRT-MC in the past.  John Champaign has bid on the culverts and ditching.

These contracts should be concluded quickly, and work can begin as soon as N.H. Trails Bureau approval – which has been applied for — is received.

Chris and Alex Bernhard are overseeing the various aspects of this most-important work.  (“To Do”)

2. Mowing.  Over the last month, Peter Southworth and Alex Bernhard have received and discussed bids from potential mowing contractors.  Besides price, other important issues include type of mower, timing, and ability to deal with leaves and growth encroaching on the sides of the Trail.

A decision was made to accept the bid of Joe Poulin, subject to further discussion about mowing technique.  The operation should begin and be completed during the month of June, with liaison and inspection during the event.  (“To Do”)

3. Plans for Removal of Invasives.  The encroachment of invasive plants into the Trail – principally, poison ivy, honeysuckle and knotweed — is a perennial concern.  Two plans are being developed to deal anew with this problem.

Prescott Towle, a long-time Trail supporter who has addressed this issue in the past, will undertake an assessment of the areas most in need of invasive removal, and present a report to the Board at the next meeting. (“To Do”)
George Heaton and Lindy Heim will contact local goat owners in hopes of experimenting with goats as a natural means of invasive control.  (“To Do”)

Report on Regional Developments:

1. New Hampshire and Massachusetts Rail Trails.  Charles Martin, Board member and author of “New Hampshire Rail Trails,” presented a report on new rail trail developments in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The possibility of a continuous Rail Trail in New Hampshire from the Vermont border in Lebanon to the Massachusetts border in Salem is a bright possibility, with approximately two-thirds of the mileage now in place.  Nevertheless, there are significant gaps, and obstacles to be overcome before this becomes a reality — notably the PanAm rail line in Boscawen and Concord, which has been discussed before.

The Board fully supports the extension of the Northern Rail Trail south into Concord, and had agreed in prior meetings that Jack Shields should be our representative in this continuing effort.

Charles’ report on the extension of the Mascoma River Greenway by the City of Lebanon, now proceeding from the Northern Rail Trail, Grafton County, to the Powerhouse Mall in W. Lebanon near I-89, presents a particularly appealing prospect.

In Massachusetts, Rail Trail initiatives are being pursued with new vigor.  A “Golden Spike” conference will be held in Northampton (

Volunteer Opportunities:

FNRT-MC is always happy to welcome volunteers, whose activities may range from Trail clearing to envelope-stuffing for the Annual Appeal.

Craig Heim has volunteered to supply FNRT-MC information at the I-89 Rest Stop in Sutton. (“To Do”)

We particularly hope for volunteers at the Annual Appeal and National Trails Day.  (See below)

Co-President Lindy Heim, will be most happy to hear from you:

New Developments:

FNRT-MC has been selected as recipient of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag program for the month of May.  For every reusable bag bought in May at the Hannafords at 952 Central Street, Route 3, in Franklin Hannafords will contribute $1 to Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County.

Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County is a charity recognized by Amazon’s contribution program, AmazonSmile (  We urge you to make it your charity of choice when you buy through Amazon.

Upcoming Events of Note:

Wednesday, April 25:  FNRT-MC “Annual Appeal Mailing Party,” 3 PM, Highland Lake Inn, East Andover.  Volunteers solicited!

Wednesday, May 2:  Presentation by N.H. DOT to the Danbury Board of Selectmen – at Town Hall, High Street, Danbury — on plans for reconstruction of the Rte. 4 bridge over the Trail, approximately 1 mile south of Danbury Center.  George Heaton will represent FNRT-MC as a “Consulting Party.” All those interested are welcome. NH DOT at 6:30, after meeting start at 6:00

Wednesday, May 16: FNRT-MC Board Meeting, Andover Hub, 7:00 PM.  All welcome!

Saturday, June 2:  National Trails Day.  Fun walk and Trail clean-up.  Stay tuned for details next month!