Monday, November 30, 2015

Minutes of Nov.18 Meeting

FNRT-MC logo
FNRT-MC Minutes
November 18, 2015
Franklin Regional Hospital
Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Craig Heim, Lindy Heim, Myra Mayman, Steve Rayno, Nita Tomaszewski, Jack Shields
Guests: Heather Deardorff, Ed Hiller, Ricker Miller, Prescott Towle
Meeting began at 7:08 PM; adjourned at 8:57 PM.

Two presentations began the meeting: 1) milepost markers, from Ed Hiller; 2) vegetation control in Franklin, from Prescott Towle.
The discovery and reclaiming of granite milepost markers for the trail has been pursued avidly by Ed Hiller and others, and has involved considerable liaison with the State of New Hampshire. (See FNRT-MC News Release of November 16, 2015.) Last month, the State DOT agreed to release three mileposts, currently at a remote location. Ed Hiller has arranged to have the 3 mileposts trucked to the VA Cemetery in Boscawen for safekeeping until the spring, when they can be installed on the trail. (See further discussion of budget implications below.)
Prescott Towle presented a plan for vegetation control on a 12-foot swath on the trail in Franklin. The application proposed would be two herbicides – non-persistent – to eliminate both grasses and invasives. The need for this application is particularly strong in Franklin, and trail abutters seem in favor, making Franklin a test case for the remainder of the trail. If herbicide were applied, a DOA permit is required, but not abutter notification if the work starts by May 25, 2016. Prescott’s estimate is $4800. (Note the action item below, authorizing additional quotes and the consideration of different possible approaches.)
After these presentations, and the exit of Ed and Prescott, various reports and items of business were covered.
  1. Heather Deardorff was welcomed as a new Board Member. Heather is a resident of Belmont, and Associate Director of College Advising at St. Paul’s School. Welcome!
  2. The minutes from the October 21 meeting were unanimously accepted.
  3. Steve Darling’s Treasurer’s Report was unanimously accepted. Steve noted that 2015 donations – currently $8444 – are poised to exceed 2014, and that Bank of America will provide matching funds to employees. Steve has made the requisite filing with the State of New Hampshire for a charitable corporation for this year. He also suggested that Heather Turner be given $200 for her web site work. This was so moved, seconded and unanimously accepted.
  4. Carried or Deferred items included: reports on technology and hotel and restaurant mapping, given nothing new to report; and maintenance, given the coming of winter, and Peter Southworth’s absence.
  5. The Board wished to recognize Peter Southworth in absentia, and to send its best wishes to him and his family with a card.
  6. George Heaton reported on the status of the Federal Transportation Alternatives program funding, now before Congress. Prospects for funding at prior levels look good, as amendments to eliminate the program were defeated. December 5 is the date for the Conference Committee of House and Senate to agree on a final version.
  7. Nita Tomaszewski began discussion of a grant application for Recreational Trails to the State of New Hampshire, which was pursued in more general discussion later.
  8. The prospect of a first-time annual budget was put before the group. While budgeting is recognized to be a good idea, it is currently complicated by existing bills, new grant applications to be made, and the lack of precise estimates of costs. Alex Bernhard offered to pull together all such information and circulate a draft budget to the Board by email. If necessary, this can be discussed at a special and/or a later meeting.
  9. As no meeting will be held in December, the next will occur on January 20, 2016, at the Boscawen Church basement. Heather Deardorff will make the arrangements for this and notify all.
Some motions were made, seconded and approved:
  1. Authority to spend up to $1330, for milepost restoration project.
  2. Authorization to Jack Shieldto solicit two new quotes for different approaches to vegetation control of the trail in Franklin.
Respectfully submitted by George Heaton

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 20 meeting minutes Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Franklin Regional Hospital Conference 7:00 p.m.

FNRT Board Members Present: Steve Darling, Tom Frantz, Craig Heim, Charles Martin, Joyce Morton, Ellsworth Morton, Steve Rayno, Peter Southworth, Nita Tomaszewski, Bob Ward, and guests Chuck North (Franklin), Cheryl Tedford, and Iris Ianno (Tilton).

  1. Approval of April 15, 2015 minutes. Passed.
  2. Treasurer’s Report. Steve reported income from the April & May membership drive was over $5000.
  3. Correspondence. Steve shared some correspondence on the Dyers Crossing engineering work. Charles shared the news that other trails are moving toward securing a ‘user count’ in their hopes for some economic data and analysis. Hearing support for exploring this, Charles will look into the costs and technology.
  4. Old Business
    1. Maintenance (Peter) Steve submitted receipts for painting & sandblasting graffiti ($75) as well as some trail clearing ($80 gas and oil expenses). Reimbursement for these expenses were approved. Alex and Steve recommend trail work clearing brush and RR ties around a proposed kiosk location by the East Andover Fire Dept. ($1800). Discussion around this recommendation questioned if that is a good location for a kiosk (is there parking nearby?). It was voted to carry this discussion and vote until next months meeting. Steve proposed retrenching the drainage ($600) south of Carr St. across from Chance Pond. There was a request for maps or photographs, and discussion and voting on this action was also carried. Craig wondered about a system to report bigger maintenance projects to a member of the maintenance committee who will then bring it to the board with necessary information in preparation for discussion and voting.
    2. Technology report. (Steve Darling) Reported that each set of meeting minutes will be accessible on the home page of our website.
    3. Map with hotels and restaurants (Steve R.) carried. Steve worked with Leigh Webb to identify about five sites for interpretive/historical photographs in Franklin, to be installed by Trails Day. Approval for this project was received from Trails Bureau.
    4. Kiosks at 2 Welcome Centers. (Ellsworth) Carried. Bob observed that we need a larger, coordinated plan for kiosks before deciding where we install kiosks.
    5. Report on Boscawen signage (Alex) Carried.
    6. National Trails Day (June 6) exhibition opening with Andover Historical Society. We will support the event by advertising this event to the FNRT database.   Schedule of meetings rotating in Trail towns (Alex) Carry to June.
    7. Action Items (All)
  5. New Business
    1. Upcoming meetings and events:  July 4 plans-proposal to share our space with Special Olympics Rail Trail event on the green. Peter will pursue this with Pecco to see if your interests conflict.
    2. Bob is looking for the location of the new, smaller sized FNRT Trail Map.
    3. Bob raised his concerns over the very high, annual maintenance cost estimates from Trails Bureau and if we can create a sustainable, long term solution with no help from Trails Bureau. Bob wants to prepare to ask Merrimack County Commissioners for their support. There was discussion about snowmobile clubs, collecting trail use data, and determining our annual maintenance costs before proceeding with any action. We heard from our guests about the Winnie Trail issues and budget.
    4. June 17 Meeting – Boscawen (specific location TBD).

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Peter Southworth, Recording Secretary

Monday, May 4, 2015

State-wide trail group meeting notes

Below are minutes of the meeting of a state wide trail group that may be of interest to those of you who want to know what is going on in rail trail work in New Hampshire outside of our Merrimack County organization.
Alex Bernhard, Vice President, FNRT/MC

NH-RTC Conference Call Notes – March 23, 2015
Draft text by Tim Blagden

Attending: Alex Bernhard, Thom Little, Greg Bakos, Dave Topham, Charles Martin, Tim Blagden
Updates were shared in advance of the meeting from Keene, Hooksett, and Nashua River Rail Trail.
Alex reported the Northern Rail Trail had purchased four Blue Signs from NH-DOT at a cost of $400 each. There is an annual maintenance cost of approximately $10 per sign. More details can be found here:

Greg Bakos provided an update on the Goffstown Rail Trail. Their TE grant is ready to go to bid at the end of the month. The project covers the two route 114 crossings and the Mast Rd. and Old Henry Bridge Road Crossing discussed on pages 5 and 7 of this trail review

This is project 16029, and 16029A, as shown on page 5 here:

This NRPC doc echoes Greg’s comments saying the project will go out to bid late this month:

Greg Bakos provided an update on the Salem/Windham Rail Trail. VHB submitted comments on January 16th of 2015. NH-DOT was to get back with a response by 3/23/15. This is NH DOT project 16031. A recent request for an additional $9,000 in PE funds and $1000 in construction was approved in late February.

The project has a target ad date of March 24th according to page 6 of this doc:

Greg said construction bids are coming in 20% higher this year than last. He thinks those contractors who weathered the recession are now trying to turn a profit. He’s very nervous about the Salem project.
Alex mentioned the Northern Rail Trail had asked DRED to renew their maintenance agreement. They received a revised maintenance agreement that included language requiring the rail trail group to indemnify the state. He opined that other rail trail groups might not be in such a hurry to request updates to their maintenance agreements on DRED managed rail trail corridors.

Alex reported a technical note. Benches and signs should be 10’ from the centerline of trails.
This is a DRED standard and allows the groomers and maintenance vehicles sufficient room to operate.
Alex also addressed the topic of bridge decks that are narrower than the railings of the bridges, something that occurs repeatedly on sections of the Northern Rail Trail. He wondered if this was a liability. The answer he received back from Chris Gamache that was it was a riders risk if they left the center of the trail. A comparison was made to poison ivy alongside a trail.

That led to Greg Bakos stating the fencing requirements in official engineering book and then saying VHB met with VTRANS on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to discuss fencing requirements. If they went strictly by the guidebook the trail would need miles of railings. The conclusion reached in that case was if the slope had exposed rip-rap or the bottom of the slope was a river then fencing would be required. If the bottom of the slope was a field no fencing needed.

Charles Martin joined the call and reported he would have a new version of his Guide to NH Rail Trails book out in the spring of 2016. He indicated it would be his final version and cover over 50 trails. The lead off trail would be the Granite State Rail Trail.

Tim Blagden mentioned Senate Bill 80
Dave Topham added that the bill had a streaming audio of the senate hearing. The bill passed the senate and is currently in the House Committee of Resources, Recreation and Development.

Next meeting will be May 18th at 7:30 PM. This is one week earlier than usual to avoid Memorial Day.
(Draft notes received from Tim Blagden via email on March 23, 2015, 11:45 pm; distributed by Dave T. on March 24, 2015.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 15 meeting minutes Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Andover Fire House
7:00 p.m.

FNRT Board Members Present: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, Craig Heim, Myra Mayman, Joyce Morton, Ellsworth Morton, Peter Southworth, Bob Ward, and guest Larry Chase.


  1. Approval of March 18, 2015 minutes
  2. Treasurer’s Report Steve shared the current changes and additions to our accounts.
  3. Correspondence: There was a letter of appreciation with some photos of the trail and historic stone culvert arches.
  4. Old Business
    1. Maintenance. We reviewed our last maintenance meeting with Chris Gamache, Chief, Bureau of Trails, and local snowmobile club members. Bob Ward (President) noted that Chris Gamache estimated a cost of $600-$2000 on a NH trail (per mile) annual maintenance which is much higher than we have experienced in our 10 years of trail maintenance. We discussed our annual maintenance budget; liability issues & RR guard rails, and insurance to cover the FNRT board. Alex suggested Peter ask the Andover Board of Selectmen if the town could mow the Andover portion of the Trail. Bob wondered about the five towns along the Rail Trail also contributing to trail maintenance as well as Merrimack County. He will contact the County Commissioners.
    2. Technology report. Steve reported he is considering a small web site upgrade.
    3. Map with hotels and restaurants. Steve Rayno is working on this.
    4. Kiosks at 2 Welcome Centers. Ellsworth is making progress for the two locations, E. Andover Fire Dept. & the Boscawen Jamie Welch Park.
    5. Rotating Meeting Locations. Alex suggested we meet in Franklin for our May meeting and continue with a regular meeting rotation in Andover, Boscawen, Franklin and Danbury. We will send out a targeted email notification to the members of the host town.
    6. Report on Boscawen signage. Jack Shields is working on the blue DOT signs around the Hannah Dustin rest area (at the rotary). People would be directed to Commercial St. where they could park and then ride on River Rd. to the River Rd. trailhead. When the design is completed, Alex will bring us a budget to approve. Bob will arrange for the June meeting to take place in Boscawen.
  5. Action Items (All)
  6. New Business
    1. Bob reviewed a Franklin growth initiative meeting focused on attracting an elderly population that highlighted the Northern Rail Trail. Bob also identified a proposed link from the Rail Trail to the ‘Winnie’ Trail.
    2. Representing the Andover Historical Society, Larry Chase asked if FNRT would co-sponsor the opening of an exhibition of Charley Freiberg’s photographs of the Trail on National Trails Day, June 6. We will invite FNRT members. The idea received lots of support as we share the Potter Place trailhead. Larry also notified us that the Andover Historical Society is planning to raze the Lull house next to the Potter Place store to provide restrooms for the public. The AHS is hoping we can help out with maintenance.
    3. Joyce reported that there was a healthy and helpful response to a postcard mailing, asking for people’s emails.
    4. Upcoming meetings and events:
      1. April 23 Thursday’s Child dinner at New London Inn.
      2. National Trails Day, Saturday, June 6, 2015.
      3. May 20th meeting will be held at the Franklin Regional Hospital.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00.
Respectfully Submitted,
Peter Southworth, Recording Secretary

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 18 Meeting Minutes Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County

FNRT-MC logo
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Andover Town Offices building, basement meeting room

7:00 p.m.

Minutes of the Meeting

FNRT Board Members Present: Tom Frantz, Ellsworth Morton, Joyce Morton, Steve Rayno, Peter Southworth, and Bob Ward.

Discussion of maintenance with Special Guests Chris Gamache, Chief of NH Bureau of Trails and District 3 Supervisor Shawn Violette; Leon Nelson, Mike Henderson, Greg Miller - Andover Snowmobile Club, Jack Shields (Penacook Village Assoc.), Boyd Smith (Newfound Lake Region Assoc.), Steve Robinson (Danbury FNRT Trail Master), Ricker Miller (Andover FNRT Trail Master), Prescott Towle (ASC insurance), Steve Proulx & Ken Lind - Lakes Region Snowmobile Club.

  1. All business was carried to begin the discussion on maintenance issues.
    1. Maintenance Discussion. Bob began with the overview that with 35 miles of rail trail now complete, the FNRT shifts into clarifying maintenance agreements with the state and begins planning for annual budgeting. Chris noted there are three year cooperative agreements (just like with snowmobile clubs) that depend on volunteer groups. He highlighted the limitations of money & staff and the reality that Bureau of Trails (BoT) can help with major trail crises (blow downs & wash outs, etc. due to wind and rain) but not much else. He asserted the state’s dependence and appreciation for the volunteer groups such as FNRT and snowmobile clubs.
    2. Chris noted the changing demographics of trail users and the shift away from interest in financial or volunteer support. Mike H. inquired about the Adopt-a-Trail model for trail management and this was discussed. Ricker Miller and Steve Robinson had questions about when to notify BoT for projects and shared some specifics of Danbury work.
    3. In regard to the issue of RR bridges and safety (bridges lacking guard rails), Chris stated this is a cooperative issue that volunteer clubs and the BoT should communicate on. There are many bridges that don’t have guard rails and the BoT does not consider this a safety problem. The ASC had plans to rebuild the wooden guard rails on some Andover RR bridges but Chris noted that all the bridges should be consistent with no guard rails. The wooden guard rails are a liability concern (someone could be injured while climbing on the rails).
    4. The ASC and FNRT agreed that we are going to focus on the quality and safety of trail and bridge surfaces (other issues such as pruning the sides of the trail, etc. will happen as possible). The ASC asked about putting up year round stop signs and Chris had no objection. In regard to placement of benches, signs, kiosks, etc. on the trail, Chris identified that the distance from the center line is 10 feet. We need to check with BoT for placement of bench and sign areas. From the center of the trail, most right of way is 33’, but this varies. In regard to the washout between Dyer’s Crossing and Sam Hill Road, Ricker Miller has not received an estimate from Edmunds to present or show BoT. When the details of the project are complete, the FNRT must notify BoT who will come out & look at the job scope and plans (also to make sure the contractor has $2 million of insurance).

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM.
Respectfully Submitted,
Peter Southworth, Recording Secretary