The monthly board meeting for the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail Committee – Merrimack County was held July 17 at the Andover Community Hub, Andover.
Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, George Heaton, Craig Heim, Lindy Heim, Charles Martin, Myra Mayman, Chris Norris, Jack Shields.
Loyal Trail Supporters: Charles Baer, Walter Durack, Ricker Miller, Patrice Rasche, Steve Rasche.
Routine Business Matters:
- Minutes of June 2019 Board Meeting, accepted unanimously without amendment.
- Treasurer’s Report. Given the absence of Treasurer Steve Darling, this report will be carried until next meeting.
Two community celebrations showcased the Northern Rail Trail, and brought out a wide range of supporters:
- Three local Trails — the Northern Rail Trail, the Concord-Sunapee Trail and the Merrimack River Greenway – were represented at Concord Market Days, June 20 – 22. In excess of 170 people signed on to express interest in riding the Trails, being part of our databases and/or volunteering.
- The FNRT-MC mounted its usual booth at the Andover 4th of July celebration. The bicycle raffle and other donations brought in close to $600. (Bicycle winner will be drawn and announced at the August 4 Andover Old Time Fair.)
Current Trail Projects:
- Mowing. Contractor Jim Shaw has begun the long job of mowing the Trail start to finish. At a rate of about 4 miles per day, mowing activity will appear on the Trail well into August.
- Culverts, Ditches, Bridges, Railings and Surfaces. Chris Norris, from a systematic survey of needs on the Trail, has developed a list of about a dozen specific projects. Most of these will be undertaken this summer by contractor Jon Champagne. Others are being considered as the basis for an RTP (Recreational Trails Program) grant application in 2020.
Reports on Other Developments of Interest:
- Rail Trail Continuation into Concord. Negotiations between the City of Concord and PanAm Railways continue over purchase the right-of-way between Boscawen and the center of Concord, with the intention of converting it into a recreational trail.
FNRT-MC is highly supportive of an extended Trail, and our representatives, Jack Shields and Patrice Rasche, are involved in this ongoing process along with the Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway.
- Rail Bikes in Concord. Under a lease from PanAm Railways, Scenic RailRiders, Inc. has begun to operate rail bike excursions of two hours on the existing rails, from Sewalls Falls Road north and south in Concord. How this operation will affect plans for a rail-free recreational trail is not clear.
- New Hampshire State Law on E-Bikes. Charles Martin reported that New Hampshire has recently joined about 20 other states in enacting a uniform law on the definition and use of e-bikes. Class 1 and 2 e-bikes may now be used on recreational trails throughout the state. Classes 1 and 2 cover bikes with power assistance during pedaling, or with a throttle-actuated motor, which cease to provide power when speed reaches 20 mph. (Class 3 e-bikes – which provide power-assist up to 28 mph – are allowed only on roadways.)
July 20, 2019 – Wilmot Farmers’ Market, including a FNRT-MC table.
August 4, 2019 – Andover Historical Society’s Old Time Fair, in Potter Place, with a FNRT-MC table
September 21, 2019, 11 AM, Boscawen/Jamie Welch Field – Second And Seeming More Likely To Be Annual Why Does The Northern Rail Trail End In A Cornfield? Bike Ride
Next Meeting: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 7 PM, The Andover Community Hub, Andover. All are invited!