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.)