Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, George Heaton, Lindy Heim, Craig Heim, Charles Martin, Myra Mayman, Jack Shields Guests: Marion Allen, Charles Cautley, Linda Howes, Ralph Jesseman, Tom Schamberg, Prescott Towle
Co-President Lindy Heim called meeting to order at 7:03 PM; adjourned at 8:40 PM. The meeting covered: 1) business matters and reports; 2) discussion and resolution of the issue of vegetation control on a small section of the trail in Franklin; 3) authority and plans to proceed with other action items. Business Matters and Reports:
The DraftMinutes of the April 20, 2016 meeting were approved without alteration.
The Treasurer’s report brought the good news of significant donations in April and May, as a result of the fundraising campaign. These ran at a higher rate than last year, and included a number of employer-matching grants, which are appreciated and encouraged for the future. Total donations for the two months amounted to $5661.90.
While funds from the Thursday’s Child event on April 14 have not yet been received, the large turnout that evening bodes well.
The current balance shows $41,471.63 in unrestricted funds, to be used for the benefit of the Trail.
As presented in Alex Bernhard’s report, preparation of the Recreational Trails Program Grant Application continues, in order to meet the June 3 deadline. Nita Tomaszewski is assembling the application materials, including letters of support that have been gained from the towns along the Trail as well as merchants. The exact specification of projects and requested amounts is being finalized.
Ralph Jesseman presented a report on the BenchProject. We happily anticipate the installation of two benches along the Trail in Andover (near Valley Road in E. Andover, and near the Continental Machine facility) by early June.
The SafetyRepairs on the Depot Street Bridge in Franklin have been completed quickly and well -- by Steve Rayno, Chris Norris and Rodney Judkins -- with photos submitted for the record.
FNRT-MC’s presenceat Community Events occurred at the bike tune-up/swap in Andover, with Prescott Towle and Lindy Heim staffing a tent. It is hoped that this presence can be annual.
A GrantApplication for permanent repairs to the Depot St. Bridge has been made to the Brown Foundation by Craig Heim.
Vegetation Control Over the past several months, the issue of vegetation control on a section of the Trail in Franklin has been researched and discussed in detail. This 6-mile section of the Trail is in danger of serious encroachment from invasive species and other growth, and the Board has therefore been considering the merits of an experimental application of the herbicide Rodeo, in contract with Prescott Towle, a licensed professional applicator. In preparation for a decision by the Board, various members have contacted scientific experts and public officials in New Hampshire, reviewed the scientific literature, and solicited and listened to advice from concerned citizens. Jack Shields presented a report on his discussion with the invasive species expert for the State of New Hampshire, in which alternative vegetation control methods were assessed. This research resulted in the recommendation that there were “no feasible alternative effective methods” to a limited herbicide application. Prescott Towle again presented a detailed application plan, to take place on one day, via liquid application in accordance with all applicable regulations and best practices. Linda Howes provided citizen input about the potential risks of glyphosate (a principal ingredient in the herbicide), as well as the need for signing to alert residents to the application process. It should be – and was -- noted that all pesticide applications are subject to approval by the State of New Hampshire, not the Board alone. At this meeting, formal approval from the Department of Agriculture was received as incoming correspondence. It was also reported that the Trails Bureau has been apprised of this action and is likely to issue its opinion soon. As a result of the above, the Board voted unanimously to take the following actions: 1) authorize Prescott Towle to undertake the vegetation control project in the limited 6-mile section in Franklin, if and when approval from the Trails Bureau is received; 2) post signs – at the beginning and end of the 6-mile stretch -- informing Trail users of the operation on the day it occurs.
Other Action Items
The expenditure of $100 was authorized to allow Steve Rayno to sandblast graffiti from the granite foundation of a bridge on the Trail in Franklin. Given that the bridge is an original railroad structure, the sandblasting expenditure is preferred to painting.
The decision was taken not to pay $50 for an advertisement in the Andover 4th of July celebration program.
Approval was given for Jack Shields to pursue actions to acquire two original historic mileposts, now in the possession of Mr. Sanborn in Boscawen.
The FNRT-MC board of directors would like to invite the FNRT-MC membership and all who love the Northern Rail Trail to venture out on the trail June 6th to celebrate National Trails Day. It is a lovely time of year to enjoy the beauty and diverse scenery the rail trail has to offer. And, in the spirit of maintaining all those wonderful views, we invite you to grab a bag to take with you for trail clean-up.
Our season opener Spring Clean-up effort was fabulous, so many people pitched in. Thank you! Note next meeting: June 15, Boscawen – located to be determined