Friends of the Northern Rail Trail Minutes – April 19, 2023

Draft Minutes of FNRT Board of Directors Meeting
(held via Zoom)
April 19, 2023, 5 PM

Spring’s Abloom:  A Plethora of Plans and Projects

Board Attendees:  Alex Bernhard, Amy Chan, Barbara Couturier, George Heaton, Lindy Heim, Cody Hussey, Myra Mayman, Ricker Miller, Don Moyer, Joe Olimpio, Tom Rousseau, Peter Southworth.

Committee Members:  Craig Heim (Administration);  Patrice Rasche;  (Promotion)

Welcome Guest:  Gary LeBlanc, Scenic Railriders

Business Matters:

1. Minutes.  Approval of  Minutes for both February and March 2023 – by unanimous vote.

2. Treasurer’s  Report.  Treasurer Tom Rousseau’s report had been distributed in advance of the meeting.  Its clear and complete financial picture, showing healthy balances in advance of spring and summer commitments spoke for itself, without questions.

Tom noted the cooperative effort with Don Moyer to secure RTP (Recreational Trails Program) funding and for Advances under this program to cover costs before final project reimbursements.

Tom also noted the imminent filing of tax returns in the coming week, and asked all Board members to inform him of the average number of volunteer hours they spend per week for the FNRT.

The Treasurer’s Report was unanimously accepted.

Committee Reports:

1. Maintenance Committee.  The Maintenance Committee report, in its many dimensions and accomplishments, absorbed most of the meeting.  Committee Chair Don Moyer called the current moment a “Crazy Season,” when everything is happening at once.  The Board was impressed.

The Maintenance initiatives are capsulized below:

1) Advance funds need to be requested to move RTP Projects. forward. The Board unanimously authorized Don Moyer and Ricker Miller to proceed with this rather detailed application to the New Hampshire Trails Bureau.

2) “Boscawen Phase II” is a convenient description of the various plans and issues being faced in the area at the end of the FNRT Trail and around the Hannah Duston site and in connection with Scenic Railriders.  A “Stakeholders Meeting” was held on April 14, among the State, FNRT, and Scenic Railriders, offering a productive discussion of possible scenarios for a parking lot and trail extensions and improvements.  Contractors and quotes are the next step.

3) Sources of Stone Dust.  To satisfy the ever-present need for stone dust that meets our Trail specifications, Don has reached out to Jon Champagne of J&B Landscaping in Andover, who is willing to offer us a test bed for his product.

4) FNRT-MOA. The Memorandum of Agreement between the New Hampshire Trails Bureau and FNRT is still in process.  It was suggested that other MOA’s such as between the Bureau and Lebanon, may offer improved ideas.  Don continues to work on this complicated and necessary matter with State officials.

5) Maintenance Inventory.  Spring brings the need, every year, to determine what most needs doing.  Don and volunteers are at work on this, from end-to-end of the Trail.

6) Ditching Volunteer!  Volunteer help would be much appreciated in our perennial ditching efforts along the Trail.  Anyone interested, contact Don Moyer at:

2. Other Reports

Joe Olimpio reported on good progress with informational kiosks along the Trail. Joe’s inventory shows models to emulate, such as at Gerrish Depot, and clear needs, such as the parking lot in Danbury.  In addition, benches are a hoped for addition.

Joe also raised the issue of mowing incidental to the main yearly mowing effort, in which smaller machines could be used.  As this raises insurance and ‘special use permit” issues, the matter is referred to the Administrative Committee for further consideration.

An initiative is also afoot to enlist volunteers, such as Boy Scouts, in the installation of posts with “E-911” signage.

Amy Chan presented the prospect of pollinator gardens along the Trail, with Enfield as a particular target.  Amy asked to represent FNRT volunteers in the planting of the gardens, to which the Board responded with a unanimous yes!

Gary LeBlanc presented a positive report on the “Stakeholders Meeting” referred to above, and looks forward to improvements in the Hannah Duston area.  Gary also requested permission from FNRT to include his organization’s flyers in FNRT kiosks.  We are glad to oblige.

The Town of Canaan, recognizing the need for new bridges along the Trail, is preparing applications for funding.  FNRT supports this fully!

A Possible Campground, along the Trail at Webster Place in Boscawen, may raise issues for Trail users.  FNRT will monitor and reach out to this effort as appropriate.

Cody Hussey informed the Board of upcoming New Hampshire legislation that would change the terms of charitable giving in the context of gaming.  This issue will be discussed more in the Administration Committee and the full Board.

Fundraising in the recent past has been impressive.  We are thrilled to report approximately $36,000 in new funds since the December fundraiser.  A huge “thanks” to all who support the Trail so generously.

Upcoming Events:

1. Board of Directors Meeting, Wednesday May  17, 2023, 5 PM by Zoom.

Respectfully submitted, George Heaton, Secretary FNRT
(Zoom time:  5:01 – 6:45)