FNRT-MC Meeting May 16, 2018

Press Release

May 2018 Board Meeting Sees Trail Projects and Pleasures in Full Swing

Board Attendees: Steve Darling, Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Craig Heim, Lindy Heim, Chris Norris, Jack Shields, Nita Tomaszewski

Loyal Supporters:  Ricker Miller, Patrice Rasche, Steve Rasche, Prescott Towle

Most-Welcome Guests:  Sherry and Bruce Cook, of Grafton

Business Matters:
Minutes of April 2018 Board Meeting, accepted unanimously without amendment.
Treasurer’s Report, accepted unanimously.  
During the last month, two annual fund-raising events yielded new income for the Trail:  1) the Thursday’s Child dinner at the Coach House in New London; 2) the Annual Appeal.

The Annual Appeal begins with a “stuffing party” for the envelopes that carry information about the Trail and donation possibilities to many hundreds of supporters.  It ends with the happy receipt of contributions. At more than $2300 currently, these are running at about the usual rate.

NOTE:  It is never too late to make a contribution to the Annual Appeal!  Every dollar received is used exclusively for the maintenance and improvement of the Northern Rail Trail!!


Trail Maintenance Work:

Board member Chris Norris reported on the various maintenance projects, so vital to the Trail, and now in full swing.  Ricker Miller’s efforts on the ground have developed solutions at problem spots, and are much appreciated.

The State of New Hampshire Bureau of Trails gave its formal permission for trail maintenance activities in a letter to Vice-President Alex Bernhard dated May 9, 2018.  This permission extends until December 15, 2018.

The maintenance program for this period targets 5 bridges and at least 10 culverts.  Chris Norris has made formal arrangements with contractors, as previously authorized, and work is proceeding.

As of the Meeting date, the long-problematic culverts at Eagle Pond have been put in good shape by Ricker Miller and Chris Norris.

Reports on Other Projects:

1. Trail Counts.  Tom Frantz reported on the acquisition of cameras and counting devices, which will be installed on a small section of the Trail in Andover.  This experiment will test the feasibility of counting Trail users, which has long been of interest.

2. Route 4 Bridge Reconstruction and Painting.  George Heaton and Lindy Heim reported on DOT’s plans for two bridge projects in Danbury, which were presented at the Board of Selectmen meeting on May 2.  As these projects affect the Trail, FNRT-MC is a designated “consulting party.”

The bridge just south of Danbury Center is slated for full reconstruction, with accompanying changes in roadway configuration, during 2021.  The “historic” nature of this structure triggers special consideration for design, and its impact on the Trail. The design now proposed would replicate the Potter Place “tunnel” through which the Trail passes.  In addition, care would be taken to preserve historic elements such as the “tell-tales,” installed as bridge warnings by the railroad. Ditching and drainage will also be taken into account.

As the bridge is both dangerous and in bad repair, the Danbury townspeople were strongly in favor of the reconstruction plan.  FNRT-MC representatives were similarly disposed. We will be kept informed as the project progresses.

The overpass at Gungemwam Creek – about a mile farther south — will be repainted this summer.  As this will require scaffolding under the bridge, there may be a period when the Trail is re-routed.  DOT and contractors will notify and consult with FNRT-MC as the work unfolds.

TO DO:  Monitor the Gungewam project.

Trail Vegetation.  Prescott Towle reported on the current status of parts of the Trail where vegetation removal was undertaken last year.  In general, the results continue to be satisfactory, with little new growth. Nevertheless, encroachment on the Trail is a continuing concern.  More examination of the Trail will occur during the next month, and this issue addressed again.

TO DO:  Examine Trail vegetation.

Blackwater Park Improvements.   Tom Frantz reported that various improvements to Blackwater Park – notably, the possibility of lighting in the Lawrence St. culvert – will be presented to the Andover Board of Selectmen.

Other Items of Note:

Publications about the Trail.  Two recent publications highlight the Northern Rail Trail:  1) Rail Trails of New England” published by the National Rail Trails Association;  2) an article in the Washington Post

TO DO:  Links to these publications will appear in Facebook page

QR Codes:  A New Volunteer Opportunity.  The Board approved the idea of attaching QR codes to Trail signage, and creating access in this manner to useful Trail information.  Lindy Heim is the contact person for any volunteers interesting in helping make this a reality. lindycraig@nullheimfamily.org

TO DO:  Publicize volunteer opportunity.

Signage in Franklin to Connect NRT and “Winni” Trail

TO DO:  Lindy Heim will make contact in Franklin

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, June 2:  National Trails Day.  Come onto the Trail – and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20:  Board Meeting, Andover Hub, 7 PM.  All welcome!

July 21 – 23:  Concord Market Days, with FNRT-MC publicity

July 4 Celebration, Andover Town Green, FNRT-MC booth, with bicycle raffle

Wednesday, October 10:  Annual FNRT-MC Pot Luck Supper, at Highland Lake Inn, E. Andover.  All welcome!

Respectfully submitted, George Heaton