Friends of the Northern Rail Trail Minutes – November 17, 2021

Condensed from draft minutes.

Thanks to One and All, and for All that is Given to our Trail!

Board Attendees:  Alex Bernhard, Amy Chan, Barbara Couturier, Steve Darling, George Heaton, Lindy Heim, Cody Hussey, Dustin Ladd, Charles Martin, Myra Mayman, Ricker Miller, Don Moyer, Jack Shields, Peter Southworth

Loyal Trail Supporters and Committee Members: Kurt Gotthardt (Enfield), Craig Heim

Business Matters

Treasurer’s Report: There was unanimous approval for Dustin Ladd’s report, which showed little change from last month, with substantial balances at the ready to be expended in the near future for maintenance and improvement projects.  We are much buoyed by the receipt of an anonymous maintenance grant, which is already being put to good use, and by continued contributions from PayPal and via “rack cards” at kiosks.

A plan for constructing our yearly budget was presented.  Committee chairs are asked to submit estimates of expenses and inflows by December 31.  Dustin will then assemble these and other relevant information into a budget proposal for discussion at the January meeting.

Committee Reports

Marketing and Promotion Committee:  Lindy Heim began her report by noting the publication of another photo-filled newsletter, “November on the Northern Rail Trail.” In addition, the Committee is engaged with a number of activities, including the use of a “Ride with GPS” app and map.

Of special note is the new, rebuilt, and improved Hannah Duston kiosk in Boscawen.  And distribution of flyers in kiosks at Mascoma Lake, Highland Lake, and Lebanon.

Amy Chan reported on new signage being planned in the City of Lebanon that allows users to easily connect the Mascoma River Greenway Trail and the Northern Rail Trail.

Technology Committee:   Cody Hussey reported that his major activities are two:  merge the preexisting websites of Grafton and Merrimack Counties;  and developing a site map.

As there are many useful, challenging, and fascinating activities on the Technology Committee horizon; volunteers to work with Cody would be most welcome!

Trail Building and Maintenance Committee:  Don Moyer’s PowerPoint slides summarized the many projects and people that are at the heart of our Trail enterprise.

With our already-budgeted projects supplemented by a recently received grant explicitly for this purpose, we are able to predict with confidence completion of five high-priority maintenance projects, “before the snow flies.”  All  are in Grafton County.

Now on the horizon is the drafting of a new Maintenance Agreement between FNRT and the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails.  The prior agreement is now 10 years old and in need of updating, a process in which Don Moyer is representing FNRT in ongoing discussions with the Trails Bureau.

The volunteer efforts received in the Committee’s work are extraordinary.  We recorded 372 hours of all kinds of work from 24 volunteers from May through October.  In particular, there has been 137 hours of chainsaw work in 2021, which is vital to keeping the Trail clear.

FNRT heartily thanks all these volunteers, and looks forward to days of recognition – and of course, Trail work – in 2022.  Don is planning a Trail-long Clean-Up Day in the spring.

The Committee is preparing for next year’s projects and proposals, including a likely RTP Grant Application for resurfacing near Potato Road in Canaan.  Don is beginning to scope this out and establish relationships with potential contractors.

Administration and Finance Committee:  Craig Heim presented a proposal drafted by the Committee to change wording in Articles 3 and 4 of the by-laws.  These articles had heretofore spoken of “dues” for “membership,” as well as donations, in a manner that did not reflect the reality of current practice.

The amended by-laws give “membership” in the FNRT to any individual, family, or organization that makes a monetary contribution.  Members are invited to the Annual Meeting and have a right to cast one vote in the election of the Board.  The FNRT will endeavor to make yearly contact with members, although yearly donations are not required.

Other Reports

Boscawen Extension: Jack Shields reported on NHDOT’s having received the executed Contribution Agreement from FNRT, setting forth our contribution, rights, and responsibilities in the Boscawen Extension project. With that agreement and the Purchase and Sale Agreement with PanAm, both awaiting execution by the State and the Governor’s Council, we come ever-closer to its start.

Documenting Rail Trail Contributions: Charles Martin offered a discussion of the many ways Rail Trails benefit their communities, as well as the engagement of volunteers in this effort through “in-kind” contributions. Don Moyer made the additional point that Trail projects, particularly those involving construction, are of great benefit to the local economy.  The Board agreed to consider ways to track and publicize these contributions – and to recognize and thank volunteers.

Trail Paving in Lebanon: Amy Chan noted plans by the City of Lebanon to pave a small portion of the Trail between Spencer Street and Bank Street. The Board welcomed this news.

Report on Enfield: Guest Kurt Gotthardt reported on the Town of Enfield’s consideration of possible uses for Town-owned parcels of land that abut the Trail. The Board expressed its support for easy access to the Trail, and welcomes further news.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, December 15, at 5 PM via Zoom