Draft Minutes of the FNRT-MC Board Meeting

By George Heaton

Condensed from draft minutes

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

Guests and Loyal Trail Supporters:  Barbara Couturier, Don Moyer, Patrice Rasche

Extending Ourselves

October’s Annual Meeting found the FNRT-MC in the happy position of renewing our Directors and Officers, embarking on a major effort to extend the Trail in Boscawen, welcoming new supporters and activities, and completing the season’s projects.

Business Matters:

Directors and Officers:  Led by Alex Bernhard, the meeting duly elected Directors and Officers for the coming year.

The following Directors were elected by the Members of the meeting:
Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Craig Heim, Lindy Heim, Charles Martin, Ricker Miller, Myra Mayman, Chris Norris, Steven Rasche, Jack Shields, Peter Southworth, Nita Tomaszewski.

In turn, the Directors present elected Officers for the year to come, as follows:
Lindy Heim and Myra Mayman, Co-Presidents;  Alex Bernhard, Vice-President;  George Heaton, Secretary;  Steve Darling, Treasurer.

September Minutes: The Draft Minutes of the September 2020 contained one error:  the report submitted to the State of New Hampshire is a Non-Profit Status report, not a financial report.  This report, due every five years, was filed by Treasurer Steve Darling in August.

With this amendment, the Minutes were unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer’s Report showed major changes in financial condition, due to the influx of significant funds to support a planned extension of the Trail in Boscawen. (See full discussion below.)  Monies for this new activity are separate from the normal operating budget.

The ongoing maintenance projects now being completed are running exactly according to budget projections.

Contribution to Andover Historical Society:  In response to a request from the Andover Historical Society, the Board voted to increase its contribution to the upkeep of the “Port-a-Potty” at Potter Place to $460, from a previous $350. This increase in cost reflects a decision to keep the Port-a-Potty in use through the winter, in view of a major increase in Trail usage. 

Reports on Ongoing Projects

Bridges, Ditches, and Surfaces: Chris Norris reported excellent progress in planned maintenance projects, all of which should be completed by the end of October, and exactly on budget.

Lawrence Street Tunnel, Andover: Lindy Heim reported on the much-improved surface of the tunnel, which awaits lighting.

Website Improvements: Lindy Heim and Cathe Lisk are undertaking improvements to the website, which will link it more successfully to other activities and sources of information.

Trail Extension, and Other Expansions 

Extension of Trail:  Funding for a Critical 0.6 Miles. During the continuing discussion of an extension of the Northern Rail Trail, two separate parcels have been focused on:  an approximately 6-mile segment within the City of Concord (outside of FNRT-MC territory);  and a 0.6 segment in Boscawen, from the Trail’s current terminus “in a cornfield” to the Hannah Duston Memorial site. The FNRT-MC is now actively embarked on an effort to secure this latter mileage for continuation of our Trail.

Our overall effort encompasses both legal/institutional/ownership questions, and fundraising. In the first case, the various parties at interest – FNRT-MC, the Town of Boscawen, the PanAm railroad owners, the state of New Hampshire, and others — are involved in ongoing communication and negotiation about structure and timing.

Most importantly for us, a fundraising drive has been unveiled. Its principal vehicle is a “Go Fund Me” platform developed by Jack Shields at gf.me/u/y3wb3w.

Another avenue to contribute is directly to FNRT-MC, where all so-designated contributions will become part of the Trail Extension effort.

The overall fundraising goal is approximately $130,000: $110,000 for purchase of the right-of-way, and $20,000 for construction of the new Trail. As of the moment of the Board meeting, approximately $39,000 had been contributed. We look forward to the continued generosity of Trail supporters in the months ahead, as legal matters are finalized.

Thank you! Both those who have donated, and those who will!

Trail Counts:  Following last month’s presentation by Craig Tufts of the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission about new trail counts on the Northern Rail Trail, Don Moyer agreed to take the role of liaison to the Commission and report on possibilities to enlarge the monitoring effort.

In Don’s report to the group, we were brought up to speed not only on the latest counting technology, but also on cost and on State plans for future counts.  Don will continue to work with State officials to ensure new counts on the Trail at different locations in the spring/summer/fall of 2021. And the Board will consider the possibility of mounting its own counting effort.

Interface with the National Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: The Conservancy being one of the most important national sources of information about recreational trails, the FNRT-MC is eager to have full and up-to-date information posted on their website about our Trails.  Barbara Couturier is now heading the effort to do so, along with Alex Bernhard and others.

More Matters for the Future

Improved Crossing at Route 11 and Plains Road, Andover:  Alex Bernhard brought to the Board’s attention a two-part crossing of the Trail at this location.  At the next meeting we will consider new and improved designs to recommend to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

QR Codes at Kiosks: Nita Tomaszewski proposed posting QR codes at kiosks so that Trail users will no longer need paper materials to guide them.

Unexpended Federal Funds: Alex Bernhard reported on the recent report from the Rails to Trails Conservancy which shows an apparent loss of unexpended Federal Recreational Trail funds in New Hampshire over the last year.  This inquiry will be pushed forward in order to find out why this has occurred.

Hippie Hill, Danbury:  George Heaton reported on the removal of the structures, apparatus and people that have been congregating on a piece of land between Route 4 and the Trail in the center of Danbury, known as “Hippie Hill.”  The State of New Hampshire, the Town of Danbury, and others are working toward a permanent solution to this situation.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, November 18, at 5 PM via Zoom.