Friday, July 1, 2016

June meeting minutes

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FNRT-MC, Draft Minutes of Meeting
June 15, 2016
Merrimack County Nursing Home, Boscawen

Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Charles Martin, Myra Mayman, Peter Southworth
Guest: Carla Heaton

Co-President Myra Mayman called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM; adjourned at 8:43 PM.
The meeting covered: 1) business matters and reports on actions taken; 2) status report and discussion of matters currently in progress; 3) the future agenda, near and long-term.

Business Matters and Reports:
  1. The Draft Minutes of the May, 2016 meeting were approved with one amendation: the indication that signs will be posted in various places along the Trail if and when a herbicide is used for vegetation control.
  2. The Treasurer’s report brought the good news of significant new receipts from grant applications – the Brown Foundation ($10,000) and the NH Charitable Foundation ($4000) – as well as continuing donations.

    Total assets as of 6/15/16 are $57,305, approximately $20,000 higher than a month ago. It should be noted that some of these funds -- i.e. those from grant applications – are restricted for use in trail maintenance and repair.

    A budgetary spread sheet that compared budgeted amounts with expenditures to date was reviewed.  This very helpful device will continue to be used.

  1. In the context of Community Relations, the FNRT-MC received an award at the Andover Middle School Graduation, honoring the Trail’s contribution to the community and its use for educational purposes. Charles Martin was present to accept the award.

    Correspondence has come in from members of the community concerned about the application of herbicides on the Trail. All such letters have been answered, and an invitation extended to these concerned citizens to attend Board meetings.

Matters Currently in Process:
  1. Vegetation Control
    The project for the experimental application of the herbicide Rodeo to a 6-mile section of the Trail in Franklin is ready to proceed, once the State of New Hampshire Trails Bureau gives approval. The Department of Agriculture has already given approval, and the Trails Bureau has recently been re-contacted by the Board (5/20/16) and the licensed applicator for the job (6/6/16) requesting final action.

    Although the Board previously voted unanimously to undertake the herbicide application, it continues to review this decision in light of citizen input and new scientific knowledge.

    A few letters have come in from interested citizens objecting to herbicide application. In each case, these letters have been answered with an explanation of the Board’s decision, and an invitation to attend a Board meeting so that further discussion is possible.

    An important new report from the WHO (World Health Organization) and FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) on “pesticide residues” has come to the attention of the Board. This report, issued on May 16, again surveys the literature on glyphosates, and documents the new consensus from a UN meeting earlier in the month. It somewhat revises prior opinion, and concludes that glyphosates are “unlikely” to create risks of carcinogenicity, genotoxicity and toxicity. (See JOINT FAO/WHO MEETING ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES, Geneva, 9–13 May 2016 SUMMARY REPORT, Issued 16 May 2016.)
  2. RTP (Recreational Trails Program) Grant Application
    Two FNRT-MC grant applications were recently submitted to the Trails Bureau under the Recreational Trails Program for funds to maintain/repair the Trail. Nita Tomaszewski prepared the application, with assistance from Chris Norris and Alex Bernhard and supporting letters from Towns and merchants along the Trail.

    The proposal this year utilized a new approach from the past, which would rely on contracts awarded from bids to perform much of the work, rather than volunteers. The State’s decision on the applications is not expected until November, which may mean that any funds awarded would not be spent until Spring 2017.

  1. Mowing

    Mowing will begin on the Trail soon; probably early July. Peter Southworth has made arrangements with John Schoeller to do this at the same cost as last year.

    The mowing will extend from the point of the Grafton Country Store (about two miles north of the Danbury Town Line) to the end of the Trail in S. Boscawen – approximately 36 miles. Arrangements are being made by Peter Southworth to assist John Schoeller in the opening of gates along the Trail.

Items for Future Action
In the realm of Technology, the much-appreciated voluntary maintenance of the FNRT-MC website by Heather Turner is being re-thought. Heather has recommended conversion to WordPress, which is a more modern format that would allow for self-administration of the site. Peter Southworth will discuss the matter further with Heather and report back.

The possibility of Trail Counts, to determine usage patterns and respond to them, has long been a goal of the Board. Various possibilities were discussed, including the use of a camera. As photographs of Trail users may raise privacy concerns, Tom Frantz has volunteered to get advice from the New Hampshire Attorney General on this question. The matter will be considered again in the future.

The need for a Trail Promotion Strategy was raised. While there was general agreement that FNRT-MC has proceeded through its “establishment phase” and is well involved with a “maintenance agenda,” what a new phase of Trail Promotion would consist of was less clear. The use of “Strava,” a mobile website, was discussed, as was a project for orienting signage along the Trail. These matters will be continued in future discussion.

Summer Projects of Trail improvement and maintenance may be undertaken with FNRT-MC’s own funds, as the State RTP grant, if obtained, will not be available until fall. Alex Bernhard will make proposals at the next meeting.
It was noted that the City of Franklin had provided assistance in ditching operations in Franklin. Steve Rayno was instrumental in obtaining this assistance.
Three Future Dates should be noted: 1) the FNRT-MC tent at the Andover 4th of July celebration; 2) a “Dough Raiser” at the Concord Pizzeria Uno on Aug 22, during which a percentage of all checks – when FNRT-MC is mentioned – will be donated to the organization; 3) the October 1 Rail Trail Rally and Special Olympics, for which planning is underway.

Note next meeting: July 20, Danbury Community Center, 7 PM

Respectfully submitted by George Heaton

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