Capital Comments: The Election Results and the Legislative Process

By State Senator Bob Odell

Legislators have often worked to impose mandates on local schools to teach civics.  It is natural that politically active people would want to make sure that public schools engage and motivate students to become good citizens.

And while school work is important, the power of an idea to pay respect to the staff and graduates of a high school who are serving or have served in our military seemed to this writer a very powerful addition to our attempts at civic engagement for students.

With the support of Stevens High School principal Paul Couture, substitute teacher Carol Thebarge’s idea for a Veterans Day ceremony for the students and staff to honor alumni who have served in the military was a new approach for involving students in our annual Veterans Day holiday.

An American flag, which had been saluted by our fighting men and women, and sent to Carol by Stevens High School graduate Army Sergeant David Carrier now serving in Afghanistan, was raised during an emotional ceremony.

I was at the ceremony to read a letter of support and congratulations to Stevens High School from Governor John Lynch.  Standing during the ceremony at the top of the stairs at the entryway to the school, I could see the attentiveness and respect the students showed during the program.

The highlights of the program were the reading of names of staff and alumni who have served and the raising the flag that so recently had flown in Afghanistan by Stevens High School teacher and nearly 40 year veteran of the Coast Guard, Tom Liveston.

I saw no texting, no cell phones in use and general student appreciation as all of us learned a new way to show our respect and to honor our men and women who have served or are serving our nation in the military.  Congratulations and thanks to Carol Thebarge for implementing a wonderful idea that is as good as any civics mandate from Concord.

While the majority in the new Senate has decided that Peter Bragdon (Milford) will be the Senate President and the House majority will determine the next Speaker of the House this week, there are hundreds of decisions on standing committee appointments, committee chairmanships, assignments of office space and parking spaces to be made.

There are dozens of statutory committees, commissions and councils that have members appointed by the House Speaker or the Senate President.  I canceled a meeting last week of the legislative subcommittee of the State Parks System Advisory Council. There are two Senators on the subcommittee and one was defeated in the election.  There are three House members; one was defeated, one did not seek re-election.  Only two of the five legislators are left on the committee.  Subcommittee work will have to await new appointments.

The Commission to Study Business Taxes has been meeting weekly to insure that we meet our statutory obligation to submit an interim report by December 1. The final report is not due for two years.  Business taxes are a complicated subject on the best of days and the input of veteran legislators with professional tax experience is important.

There are four House members on the commission; two were defeated.  One is a CPA and the other is a lawyer and CPA.  Three members are from the Senate.  One was defeated. And she is an experienced attorney with a practice involving general business and real estate matters.

The ripple effect of the decisions of voters on Election Day is forcing change throughout the legislative process. The new House Speaker and Senate President will need to move quickly to fill dozens of vacancies on study commissions and other committees.

The new leadership teams in the House and Senate will have full court presses put on them by members seeking appointments to favored committees.  A letter has been circulated to all newly elected House members asking them to submit their three choices for committee assignment.  The process in the Senate is no less deliberate, just a bit more subtle.

Our local Chambers of Commerce provides many services to our small business community. We all know it is those small businesses that are at the core of our successful regional economy.

Twice a year, for example, the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a “salute” breakfast to recognize businesses being established, moving into the area or changing location.  It is an opportunity to have chamber members see what is going on and to encourage and possibly help the new or expanding businesses.

The new businesses in the area recognized last week at the Fall Salute Breakfast included People’s United Bank, a mortgage lender; Watts Bakery, a new Main Street store; City Auto Sales, a trailer and used cars dealer; Pinnacle, a bait and tackle shop that will also sell hunting and fishing licenses; and, Northwood Power Equipment, a new location for a major regional dealer of tractors, backhoes and other power equipment.

The Community Alliance has a new volunteer driver program which will match volunteer drivers with people who need rides to go shopping, to get to medical appointments and other daily tasks that require transportation.

Two businesses were recognized as they expand and move to new locations.  Lake Sunapee Plumbing and Heating has relocated to their newly renovated building on Sunapee Street.  NAPA Auto Parts has also moved to their new location on Sunapee Street.

Keeping up with what’s going on in Concord

Front Door Politics (in NH) says, “We’ve got something for everyone.” And they sure do. Whether you’re a casual observer, political junkie or have a special interest, check out it out. Last week’s daily updates, all about Granite State politics and policy decisions, covered:

For more…visit Front Door Politics.

Capital Comments: State Budget Watchers Still Nervous

By State Senator Bob Odell

The Senate’s weekly calendar is available on line on Thursday night and delivered to Senate offices in print form each Friday morning.  Printed on bright yellow paper, the weekly calendar lists the bills coming up in the next Senate session, committee schedules for the upcoming week and what bills each will be addressing, and other meeting and event notices.  The House, too, has a weekly calendar differentiated by a blue cover from our yellow calendar.

In just a few pages, the calendar becomes a basic tool for Senators and staff, lobbyists and journalists.  It is the basic document to tell you where you need to be each day of the week. Continue reading

NH State Parks Policy Forum Jan. 25 in Sunapee

Three local legislators will be discussing at a public forum in Sunapee proposed policy changes for NH state parks. Senator Bob Odell, Rep. Ricia McMahon, and Rep. Sue Gottling, at a meeting hosted by Friends of Mount Sunapee, will speak about several legislative initiatives that focus on parks and the state park system. The forum will be held at the Sunapee Methodist Church, Lower Main Street, Sunapee on Monday January 25 starting at 6:45 p.m. (with greetings. The forum will begin at 7 p.m.) Continue reading

New Draft Plan for NH State Parks: Change is Needed

Mount Sunapee State Park Beach in Newbury, NH

A recently released, new draft of the Ten-Year Strategic Development and Capital Improvement Plan for New Hampshire’s state parks says change is needed. The plan proposes new funding models, capital investment, and new directions in management and operations.

The Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) released the report November 23 in Concord, and is accepting public comment on the plan through December 24, 2009. Comments can be made by emailing, writing or attending one of the remaining public hearings, in Peterborough on December 7 (at the Peterborough Town Hall at 6 p.m.)  and in Lancaster on December 8 (at DRED North Country Resource Center at 6 p.m.) Details are available via http://www.nhstateparks.org or by calling 603-271-3556.

According to Ted Austin, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation, the plan is intended to reverse the trend from gradual decline to a vibrant, sustainable State Park System. It will act as a catalyst for change and a template for management to take advantage of opportunities to improve the system.

Managing the State Parks more effectively will require new partnerships, new thinking, new collaboration between DRED, Friends groups, the legislature, and host communities. — Ted Austin, director of the NH Division of Parks and Recreation

The Division of Parks and Recreation, one of four divisions of DRED, manages 74 properties, including state parks, beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, waysides, and natural areas and is comprised of the Parks Bureau, Bureau of Historic Sites, Bureau of Trails, and Cannon Mountain.

Austin explained that the Division faces financial and operational challenges. The funding challenge is that in 1991 the Division became a self-funding agency and has consistently has been running a deficit. That deficit has averaged, on an annual basis for the past 20 years, $404,746. The result has been deferred maintenance, reduced programming, and a growing backlog of capital needs. Recent capital appropriations in 2007 and 2009 have begun to turn the tide, but more is needed.

The plan calls for eliminating a carry-forward loss created by the annual deficit, projected as $1.8 million for FY ’09. It also calls for:

·         $750,000 in non-capital needs to replace worn-out equipment, needed for the next operating season

·         $ 1.7 million in capital investments for immediate stabilization of facilities in the next three years

·         $28.5 million in capital to attend to deferred maintenance needs in the next five years

·         Some four dozen strategies for more effective management and stewardship

·         New models for management, stewardship, and revenue generation

Austin also acknowledged that the Division must be managed and operated better.  “The parks culture must change to one of accepting responsibility, of tracking results, of establishing baselines for measurement and comparison of results, and for benchmarking performance.”

The plan includes the following:

·         Comprehensive assessment of the condition of each state park

·         Strategic goals and recommendations

·         First ever Opinion Survey of Park Users

·         Financial Overview of the Park System

·         Economic Impact of State Parks

·         Extensive Park by Park Capital Improvement Plan

·         A proposed new Approach to Managing State Parks

Comments on the plan can be emailed to johanna.lyons@dred.state.nh.us.

Read related articles:

New draft plan: NH state parks need direct funding (Nashua Telegraph)

Poor Parks – N.H. Funding Strategy Has Failed (Valley News editorial)

Parks hopes to keep ‘Friends’ in mind-Volunteers critical to revitalization (Concord Monitor)

See ConservationNH YouTube video of DRED’s press conference announcing the plan with Commissioner George Bald (DRED) and Director Ted Austin (Division of Parks and Recreation).

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Capital Comments: Governor Lynch in Clarement last week to discuss jobs

By New Hampshire State Senator Bob Odell

Governor John Lynch was in Claremont last week hosting the first in a series of Jobs Cabinet Roundtables to be held around the state.  Some area employers and civic leaders were invited to sit down and discuss the employment picture in our area with the Governor, Labor Commissioner George Copadis, Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon, Commissioner George Bald of the Department of Resources and Economic Development and other Concord officials.  Senator Matt Houde (Plainfield) and I were also asked to participate.

The Governor is following the pattern of his successful Jobs Roundtables three years ago.  And he took action on some of the suggestions he heard then and restarted the job training fund and encouraged the legislature to create the research and development tax credit and NH HealthFirst.

The economic environment has certainly changed since 2006.  The Governor kicked off the meeting saying: “My priorities are helping our businesses grow and become more competitive; helping families struggling in these tough times; and continuing to make government more responsive and efficient.”

What was the overriding theme of the discussion with employers?  There are jobs that need to be filled but finding qualified employees is not easy.  Qualified means a prospective employee has technical skills but also life skills.  Life skills include being presentable at an interview, getting to work every day and on time, working hard in the workplace, no violations of rules on drug and alcohol use and many others.  At least five employers cited the lack of these basic personal attributes as why they cannot find workers to fill current openings.  The same situation is raised at every business meeting and plant tour I take.

To reduce or eliminate this problem will take decades.  But it needs to be addressed if our region is going to be competitive in the United States and around the world.

*   *   *

I have enjoyed going to the annual Sarah Josepha Hale Award at the Newport Opera House for more than 20 years.  As I look at the list of New England authors honored with the Hale award since the award was first given to Robert Frost in 1956, the list has many of the greatest writers and poets of the last half century.

In my time I remember Tom Wicker talking about the focus of one his books, the historic year of 1968.  And William Manchester who I always think of as the biographer of Winston Churchill but in his Hale presentation he read dramatic passages from his book on his experiences as a soldier in the Korean War.  Ernest Hebert before becoming a novelist had worked as a lineman out of a utility substation right in Newport.  He said he wrote to lift up the working person, often those at the bottom of the job ladder.

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the first African American to win the Hale award which was presented to him recently.  Not simply reading from one of his books, he went high tech using a computer generated presentation that awed the large crowd.  He told the story of his family within the context of genealogy and the use of DNA to trace a person’s heritage.  Thanks to DNA he traces his own heritage several generations back to an Irishman and an English woman.  While he heads the African American studies program at Harvard University, he is just barely African American genetically.  He is 49.4% white and 50.6% black.

Using stories from his own PBS series, “African American Lives, Their Past Was Lost Until Now,” Professor Gates’ fact filled presentation was a real change from traditional acceptance speeches.  And I think it will be long remembered.

Professor Gates, in his answer to a question from the audience, let us know he is in regular contact with the Cambridge, MA police officer who arrested him.  And that they drank cold Sam Adams beer at their White House meeting with President Barack Obama.

*   *   *

One satisfaction for legislators is to see that legislation they worked to pass is having a real impact.

In February, 2005, I was the prime sponsor of legislation (Senate Bill 5) to create a study committee to look at the operations and finances of our state parks system.  The bill passed without dissension and was signed into law in June, 2005.

I chaired what became known as the “SB 5 study committee.”  We traveled around the state and collected data on the park system and produced a report.  The recommendations included state funding for capital improvements, creation of a bureau of historic sites and a State Parks Advisory Council.  In the last biennial budget, there was the first appropriation of funds for capital improvements in 40 years.  Another appropriation is in the current budget.  The historic sites bureau is up and running and the State Parks Advisory Council meets regularly and has substantial input to the department on important park system policies and long range planning.

In my first term, I was asked to chair a study committee on school drop outs.  There were many important issues that came before the committee but the overriding one, surprisingly, was that we could not track school children.  They were being lost.

The proposed answer was a unique student identification number.  I co-sponsored legislation introduced by Senator Jane O’Hearn (Nashua) to create this number.  At a meeting of the Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program Legislative Oversight Committee, on which I serve, the Department of Education reported that the student number system is working and giving local school officials a new tool to measure progress and make adjustments in their curriculum and programming.  And we also know where to find our students.

NH State Senator Bob Odell (District 8) is chairman of Ways and Means, a member of the Energy, Environment and Economic Development Committee, and the Finance Committee. Senate District 8 comprises: Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Claremont, Gilsum, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, New London, Newbury, Newport, Roxbury, Stoddard, Sullivan, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Washington and Westmoreland.

Advisory Panel Works on Plan for NH State Parks

The AP reports: An advisory council continues to work on a master plan for New Hampshire’s state parks after an earlier draft raised concerns that the state was planning to get rid of a large chunk of property. Brought to you via Nashuatelegraph.com.

Lorie McClorey, the Sunacom.com columnist for Grantham, writes: “Make reservations to attend the symposium ‘Water… More important than oil?’ from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at the South Cove Activity Center. Sponsored by the Eastman Charitable Foundation, the program will address conserving water and land resources in Grantham, Springfield and Enfield. Participants will come from the conservation commissions in all three towns, the Eastman Lakes & Streams and SustainAbility committees, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Ausbon-Sargent Land Preservation Trust, the Nature Conservancy and the Upper Valley Land Trust.” Read more via Sunacom.com

The New Hampshire Energy and Climate Collaborative will hold a meeting on Thursday, October 8 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Local Government Center, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord. The public and media are welcome to attend the working meeting, which is a continuation of the Collaborative’s efforts to facilitate the implementation of the NH Climate Action Plan, which was released by Governor Lynch in March 2009.

The Collaborative is in the process of developing the support and resources necessary to carry out its long-term efforts, including the development of a speakers bureau organized in cooperation with Clean Air – Cool Planet, and an inventory of the efforts already underway to address energy and climate issues across the state.

Further information about the NH Climate Action Plan can be found at: www.des.nh.gov by clicking on Hot Topics. For more information about the Collaborative and the upcoming meeting, contact Chris Skoglund, Energy and Transportation Analyst for NH Dept. of Environmental Services, 603 271-7624 or Christopher.Skoglund@des.nh.gov.

While at the NH-DES website, one can see the 2009 Fall drawdown dates for lakes and ponds around the Granite State. For Lake Sunapee, a 3-foot drawdown “from full” is to start October 13. It takes place in Sunapee into the Sugar River.

More about NH State Park System…

A discussion about New Hampshire state parks with State Parks Director Ted Austin and Richard Ober, chairman of the State Park System Advisory Council, is available on NH Public Radio. On the Exchange May 27 with Laura Knoy, Austin and Ober talked about the challenges and opportunities facing the state park system including park management and funding. NH is the only state in the country that requires its parks to be self-funding, which is not sufficient to support the park system, Ober said. Listen via NHPR…

Long Term Planning for NH Parks Continues–Public Comment Invited

The NH State Parks Advisory Council chaired by DIck Ober will hold a meeting Thursday, July 16 in Concord to discuss the 10—Year Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan and the feedback gathered at recent public sessions concerning the state park system. The Council will also receive a legislative update. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building (Rooms 305-307) on North State Street, Concord. Senator Bob Odell (R-Lempster) is the committee vice-chair.

“If folks have not e-mailed their comments [about the plan],” Rep. Ricia McMahon (D-Sutton) said, “now would be a good time, as they will be considered at this meeting on July 16th, even though the deadline [for public comment] remains the 27th [of July].”

In late June, McMahon and area residents met over their concern for the future of Wadleigh State Park in Sutton. The draft plan identified  the small, local park as “under performing” and subject to “alternative management.” Although later withdrawn, the first draft of the plan also identified Cardigan State Park in Orange and the Pisgah State Park, 13,300 acres in Cheshire County amongst the 27 parks, waysides and natural areas that fail to meet the division’s “core values.”

Commissioner George Bald, Dept. of Resources and Economic Development (DRED), pulled the draft, 10-year plan in early July, however, is still accepting public comment. (For contact info, see below.) Parks and Recreation is a division of DRED.

“There was an impression in this draft plan that a potential strategy would be to divest ourselves of properties. This was never the intent of this methodology,” Bald said in a department release July 2. “The Division, in cooperation with the State Park Systems Advisory Council, will present a more comprehensive draft plan that makes that clear. The public comment period will remain open until July 27th.”

“A revised draft plan will be available for public comment in August, allowing further public input before the plan is finalized. The state park system is an integral component of what makes New Hampshire special for its residents and visitors. It is critical that we take the time now to be strategic in our thinking to ensure that these wonderful assets are available for our children and grandchildren to enjoy well in to the future.”

Rep. Suzanne “Sue” Gottling (D-Sunapee) decribes the situation for NH’s smaller parks as a “lose-lose situation.”

“We expect fees to pay for their upkeep, yet don’t charge fees at many of them. Why? The money isn’t there to pay for staff to collect fees nor can we figure out how to install (and collect from) an iron ranger for voluntary fees.”

Gottling is a member of the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee in the House. Gottling and other committee members, Chairman Judith Spang, Jim McClammer and Susan Kepner, addressed the challenges facing the parks system in a “State House Memo” titled: The future of our parks – Money is tight. Repairs are needed. Now what? published by the Concord Monitor.

As for state parks in the Sunapee-area, some think the time is over-due for a regional commission that can better involve local interests in  a master plans for Winslow, Wadleigh, Rollins, Sunapee and Pillsbury state parks.  In 2007,  McMahon introduced HB 810 to do just that, but it was unsuccessful.

“In retrospect,” Gottling said, “our bill would have begun what the Parks are now looking for several years later. We will try again.”

The State Park System Advisory Council was established to advise the Division of Parks and Recreation on issues relating to the operation and development of the state park system. The division manages 72 state parks, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, wayside and natural areas.

The impetus for producing a 10-year plan was a result of the Senate Bill 5 study commission, chaired by Odell, which directed Parks and Recreation to publish a comprehensive development plan for the state park system including a plan for capital improvements and management of facilities. The SB5 final report, released in 2006, can be viewed on-line.

To send comments about long-term planning for NH parks:

Email: johanna.lyons@dred.state.nh.us

Fax: 603-271-2629      Phone: 603-271-2553

Or mail (must be postmarked by July 27, 2009) to:

Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED)
Attn. Commissioner Bald
Division of Parks and Recreation
State of New Hampshire
172 Pembroke Road
P.O. Box 1856
Concord, NH 03302-1856

A Call to Action to Save Wadleigh State Park

In early June, the NH Division of Parks and Recreation released a draft strategic plan that identified three of the six state parks and waysides located in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area as under performing and subject to an “alternative management strategy.” Media reports about the plan are finally getting out, and people are asking questions and voicing concerns. In Sutton, people are organizing.

Wadleigh State Park, Sutton, the Gardner Memorial Wayside Park on 4A in Wilmot and the Sculptured Rocks Natural Area in Groton, the plan said, would be subject to “decommissioning, transfer to another state agency, transfer to another public recreation provider, lease or other management agreement, or disposal through the state’s surplus land process.”

The plan also identified Cardigan State Park in Orange and the Pisgah State Park, 13,300 acres in Cheshire County amongst the 27 parks, waysides and natural areas that fail to meet the division’s “core values.”

In Sutton, the proposal is seen as threatening a community cornerstone, and a call to action has gone out from a local group.

The North Sutton Improvement Society will hold a special meeting on Thursday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the North Sutton church to discuss the fate of Wadleigh State Park as outlined in the recently published strategic plan issued by the Division of Parks and Recreation.

State Representative Ricia MaMahon will give the background to the plan and answer questions concerning possible future actions by Sutton to preserve the park and protect Kezar Lake. Please ask your friends and neighbors to attend this important first step in protecting one of the cornerstones of Sutton.  Everyone is invited. – Steve Enroth, president of the North Sutton Improvement Society.

  • For more information about the 10-Year Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan, visit the parks division website.
  • The Division is accepting public comment until July 11, 2009, via fax (603-271-3553), e-mail (johanna.lyons@dred.state.nh.us), or mail (P.O. Box 1856, Concord, NH 03302).
  • Today, June 23, at the Peterborough Town Hall, 1 Grove Street, the the division will hold the last of four public information sessions on the plan. Time: 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Download the Plan below. Note, the file size is 6.7 MB.

pdf icon Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan – (June 8, 2009) Draft for Public Review and Comment

Plans for NH State Parks Spark Public Reaction

The Union Leader (article by staff writer Paula Tracy) reports today the reaction is largely unfavorable to a plan that could result in possible management change or, even, liquidation of 27 NH state parks. “Reaction was swift and mostly negative yesterday to a proposal to possibly jettison 27 state parks,” Tracy reported.

Cardigan State Park, Wadleigh State Park in Sutton, and state-owned properties in Wilmot and Bradford could be affected.

Officials in at least two towns — North Hampton and Hollis — said they will discuss the idea of assuming control, if not ownership, of parks in their towns at upcoming selectmen meetings.

And Jeff Taylor, a former state official noticed that land containing a monument to one of his ancestors — Hannah Dustin’s Memorial in Boscawen — was on the list.

“We have a public entity with taxing authority and we can’t make this work? How is a nonprofit going to do it?” said Taylor, a planning consultant and former director of the Office of State Planning.

“There is a philosophical piece to this. How could we give away these assets? And it raises a broader question: rather than dispose of these, the state should be thinking of finding a way to fund these,” he said.

Yesterday, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported about plans to sell, transfer or give away 27 properties that officials say don’t meet their criteria for state parks. The list includes oceanside beaches, massive tracts of park land and mountains as well as small wayside parks.  Read more…UnionLeader.com

For more information, read 27 NH parks could be up for grabs (Unionleader.com)

To read the State plan and public hearing notice, visit NH State Parks

The 27, so-called vulnerable, parks are:
Ahern State Park, Laconia
Annett Wayside, Rindge
Bear’s Den, Gilsum
Bedell Bridge State Park, Haverhill
Bradford Pines, Bradford
Cardigan State Park, Orange
Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area, Chesterfield
Clough State Park, Weare
Eisenhower Memorial Wayside Park, Carroll
Endicott Rock, Laconia
Forest Lake State Park, Dalton
Gardner Memorial Wayside, Wilmot
Governor Wentworth Historic Site, Wolfeboro
Hannah Duston Memorial, Boscawen
Jenness State Beach, Rye
Kingston State Park, Kingston
Lake Tarleton State Park, Piermont
Madison Boulder Natural Area, Madison
Nansan Wayside Park, Milan
North Hampton State Beach
Pisgah State Park in Winchester, Hinsdale and Chesterfield
Plummer’s Ledge, Wentworth
Sculptured Rocks Natural Area, Groton
Silver Lake State Park, Hollis
Wadleigh State Park, Sutton
Wentworth State Park, Wolfeboro

Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities in Dartmouth-Sunapee Area

June 6: On National Trails Day volunteers will be doing trail work in Mount Sunapee and Pillsbury State Parks. Led by the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club, several teams will form and remove fallen trees, clear water drainage channels, repair treadways and refresh paint blazes along the hiking trails. Read more…

June 10: The Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (ASLPT) will  hold its annual Monitoring Workshop from 2 to 6 p.m. in New London. The rain date is June 17.  “If you enjoy hiking in the woods and reading maps, you might like to join us and learn how to be a monitor for one of our easement properties,” says ASLPT. Read more…

The Cardigan Highlanders Trial Work team is also looking for experienced hikers and trail workers and those interested in learning how to do “high quality” trail bridge building. They have a lengthy project list this year including rebuilding an Appalachian Mountain Club bridge on Mount Cardigan. Tentative work dates for that project are May 30, June 13 or June 20, depending on available people and weather, according the work team chief Craig Sanborn. For more information, email Sanborn at crgsnbrn@yahoo.com.

The Cardigan Highlanders will also join area hiking groups and other trail work teams on Mount Sunapee June 6.

Hikers Plan Trail Work on National Trails Day

Hiking trails in Mount Sunapee and Pillsbury State Park will be happier, and neater, places after National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6. Led by the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club, four teams of volunteers will remove fallen trees, clear water drainage channels, repair treadways and refresh paint blazes.

There is extra trail work to be done this year, as last December’s ice storm left considerable damage to hiking trails in the area.

Volunteers will meet at 8:30 AM at the Mount Sunapee State Park ski area, at the parking lot off NH 103 circle in Newbury. Teams will be working on the Andrew Brook, Solitude, and Summit trails on Mount Sunapee as well as along the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway as it crosses Sunapee Ridge and heads south to Lucia’s Lookout and Pillsbury State Park.

Working with the MSGTC will be other volunteers from the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition, the Cardigan Highlanders Trail Crew and Trailwrights.

For more information visit the MSGTC website and to participate in the project on June 6, contact MSGTC’s Tim Symonds by email: tim@patchbays.com.

Volunteers in the Mount Sunapee area may contact Gerry Gold of the SRKGC at 603-526-2857.

This project is one of over 1,000 projects registered with the American Hiking Society nationwide. Founded in 1993, National Trail Day is now celebrated with volunteer events in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Sunapee Ski Resort Fails in Motion for Reconsideration

Following on her dismissal of a lawsuit against Governor Lynch and the state of NH last month over expansion at Mount Sunapee, Judge Nicolosi of the Merrimack Superior Court denied on Friday the ski resort’s motion for reconsideration. In her denial released yesterday morning, Judge Nicolosi found “no ambiguity  in the Lease nor any language directly guaranteeing expansion, the Court finds that Sunapee has no right to expand….”

Tim and Diane Mueller of Sunapee Difference LLC operate the ski area Mount Sunapee Resort located within Mount Sunapee State Park. The resort developers sought to change the leasehold area and gain an additional 175 acres to facilitate private condo development on  the western side of the mountain. They took their expansion argument to court in order to force Governor Lynch to approve their proposal for Mount Sunapee. They said expansion was always contemplated, even before the lease was signed in 1998.

The Mueller’s controversial request was formally made public in the resort’s 2005-2009 five-year master development plan for the state-owned ski area. However, the state refused to approve that aspect of the plan.

The next master plan is due in a few weeks and will be completed by June 1, according to the resort’s General Manager Jay Gamble. At a Mount Sunapee Ski Area Advisory Committee meeting held in Newbury on Thursday, Gamble did not say whether the new master plan for the ski area will again seek an expansion of the leasehold area.

Yesterday’s denial ends consideration in the Merrimack court. The Muellers have 30 days to file for an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Related articles:

NH judge denies motion in mount sunapee case (Boston.com)

Mount Sunapee asks judge for reconsideration (Eagle Times)

Judge sides with State in resort lawsuit (Concord Monitor)

Judge Dismisses Mt. Sunapee Lawsuit (SunapeeNews.com)

A copy of the court’s decisions can be found at Friends of Mount Sunapee.

Adopt-a-Trail at Rollins, Winslow and Bear Brook State Park

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Trails has a new Adopt-a-Trail Program. The program was created to assist in the maintenance of over 5,000 non motorized multi-use trails in select state parks and state forests throughout New Hampshire.

The Adopt–a-Trail Program gives trail users an excellent opportunity to volunteer with friends and family, as well as fill a much needed void in the maintenance of the trails. For this pilot program, trails that are available for adoption are located in Bear Brook State Park, Rollins State Park, and Winslow State Park (Mount Kearsarge State Forest).  The program will consist of a training for those that are approved for trail adoption. The Bureau of Trails has teamed up with the Appalachian Mountain Club to aid in training and outreach efforts.

Appalachian Mountain Club logo

Image via Wikipedia

Organizations and groups looking to adopt a trail should visit nhtrails.org for more information.

The Bureau of Trails is a part of the NH Division of Parks & Recreation.  The Division manages over 73 state parks, campgrounds, historic sites, waysides, natural areas, and thousands of miles of trails.  The division is part of the Department of Resources and Economic Development. For more information about the Bureau of Trails, call 603-271-3254 or visit www.nhtrails.org

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