Meeting Minutes, Draft, January 15, 2020

By George Heaton, Secretary

 Board Attendees:  Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, George Heaton, Myra Mayman, Chris Norris, Jack Shields.  By external link; Lindy Heim, Charles Martin

Loyal Trail Supporters in Attendance:  Ricker Miller, Patrice Rasche, Steve Rasche

Routine Business Matters:

1. Minutes of November 2019 Board Meeting, accepted unanimously with a minor technical amendment.

2. Treasurer’s Report.  The unanimously approved Treasurer’s report by Steve Darling found FNRT-MC to be “in good financial shape.”  A year-end tally from 2019 showed donations higher than ever – about $15,000 for the calendar year – as well as an increase in grants.  We note with gratitude the inclusion of FNRT-MC in memorials, including the generous example of a memorial to James Angwin, a devoted Trail user and supporter.

The positive financial situation of FNRT-MC at this moment represents good news for the Trail.  Except for extremely slight administrative costs, all donations and grants to FNRT-MC go toward its maintenance and improvement.  Because Nature makes continuing demands, and diverse users of the Trail suggest new initiatives, FNRT-MC continues to plan and expend for Trail purposes – as discussed below.

Issues and Projects of the FNRT-MC:

1. Culverts, Ditches, Bridges, Railings, and Surfaces.  Planning is beginning now for the maintenance and improvement work that is always necessary in the spring/summer/fall.  In particular, $5000 will be added to budget projections to repair the bridge over route 127 in Franklin.

Work to restore the railings of two bridges in Danbury – one, worn down over time;  and a second, damaged by unknown vehicles – was completed before the end of the year.  As the unforeseen vehicular damage caused cost to exceed the predicted budget, payment for the entire repair project, completed by T.E. Austin Associates of Danbury, was newly authorized.

2. State of New Hampshire “Brushing Back.” This past fall, the State of New Hampshire undertook “brushing back” along the length of the Trail.  We understand that the State will continue to do this work in the future.

3. 2020 RTP (Recreational Trails Program) Grant Application to the State of New Hampshire.  Jack Shields and Lindy Heim have been hard at work assembling materials for a grant application to New Hampshire RTP this spring. The purpose of this grant is to construct a new culvert, with associated ditchwork and tree removal, at Eagle Pond, to solve the drainage problems and water damage to the Trail that recur in this area.

With an assumed June 2020 application date – not yet specified by the State – Jack Shields is soliciting plans and bids from contractors.  Lindy Heim has prepared letters of support to submit to Selectmen in all the towns along the Trail, and various Board members agreed to do so for their towns.

4. Reporting FNRT-MC Financials.  Over the past few months, discussion has taken place among the Board as to the best and most appropriate ways to report the financial position of FNRT-MC to its interested public. The goals we work toward are transparency, clarity, and feasibility.  With this in mind, Alex Bernhard offered a motion that captured our consensus: include the Federal Tax Form 990 (due yearly from all 501(c)(3) charitable entities) on the FNRT-MC website, with the notation: Additional details are freely available upon request at

5. E-bike Charging Stations.  With increased use of e-bikes, the need for charging stations grows. Happily, two Trail Hospitality Centers – the Danbury Country Store and the Highland Lake Inn – are now established as charging points.  Recognizing the need for signage to direct Trail users to these and other sites, Jack Shields will procure and install such signs, with the vote of up to $200 expenditure authority.

Reports on External Activities of Importance to the Trail

1. The New Hampshire Rail Trails Coalition.  Charles Martin, founder of the New Hampshire Rail Trails Coalition, gave a valuable report on its current activities, which are blossoming in size and scope. In addition, Ricker Miller reported on his participation in the recent Coalition conference, and his pledge of membership by FNRT-MC. We are happy to be part of this worthy endeavor, and urge a look at the (New!) web site:

2. Andover Historical Society/MUSE (Museums Sharing Experience).  These organizations are sponsoring a yearlong project called “All Aboard,” to celebrate the impact of the railroad in our area, and its effect on culture, economy, and other aspects of local life.  FNRT-MC applauds this effort.

3. Rail Trail Extension from Boscawen into Concord.  It is noted that the discussion of this long-desired extension of the Northern Rail Trail continues to be ongoing in the City of Concord.

Adjournment:  8:35 PM

Next Meeting: Wednesday, April 15, 2020; 7 PM;  The Hub, Andover. All are invited! (Note: no meetings scheduled for February or March.)