Minutes for the Regular Meeting of the
Walpole Conservation Commission (via Zoom)
March 1, 2021
Members Present: Alicia Flammia, John Peska, Lewis Shelley, , Steven Dumont, Laura Hayes, France Menk, Jackie Kensen, Cheryl Mayberry (Selectboard Liason), Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Member), Jean Kobeski (Secretary)
Members Absent: none
Alternate Present: None
Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
Review and Approval of Minutes: France moved, Lew seconded, and all voted to accept the February 1, 2021 minutes.
Treasury: ForestryAccount – $30,829.91
Conservation – $154,270.72
Walker Road – $3,363.95
Report from the Chair: Alicia reported that the WCC was under budget last year. No money was spent on trail expenses. $1550 of the available $2000 was spent, and no money was spent on maps.
Alicia collected the comments left in the box at the library. When questioned how they use the Gateway, respondents replied: snowmobiling, dog walks, mountain biking, and walks. The suggestion was made to create a fenced-in dog park. Others asked where the trails are. Some requested better access for kayaking and a suggestion was made to put in picnic tables or benches with a view of the river.
Correspondence: Alicia reported she received a note from the NH Charitable Foundation with a check for the amount of $9159.70 from the Robert Hubbard Trust.
NH Fish and Game updated their trails handbook.
Annual Easement Monitoring: The Monadnock Conservancy notified the WCC that easements need to be monitored. Alicia stated that the WCC should start annual easement monitoring of the Walpole properties. Steven asked if there is a form to use when monitoring; Alicia said she would put it on Google Drive. Jackie then offered to monitor Ballam Farm and France said she would do Fanny Mason.
Invasive Species Woods Walk: Alicia was rereading Alex Barrett’s list of of things to do and he suggested an invasive species woods walk in the late spring. Laura agreed spring would be the best time because the invasives are just starting to appear. Alex said he would contact a local invasives expert to join the walk. Alicia said she would invite Michael Nerrie and Helen Dalbeck as well.
Management of Fanny Mason Forest: Alicia talked briefly about getting Long View to harvest Fanny Mason Forest. Laura moved that the membership authorize Long View to harvest Fanny Mason. John seconded, and by a roll call vote, all voted in favor hiring Long View.
Formation of Subcommittees within the WCC: A Trail Subcommittee has been formed with Steven, Lew, France, and several community volunteers. It was decided to form a second subcommittee monitoring boundaries and easement. Steven, Jackie, France, and Alicia volunteered to be on that committee. Cheryl suggested subcommittee reports become part of Other Business at monthly meetings.
Trail Maps Update: Lew enlisted Rick Brackett to do the trail maps. The plan is to start with the Mill Pond. One side of the map will be a “You are here” in Walpole; the reverse side will be a blow up of the trail. The map will contain information on elevation, use, etc. Lew said he would work with Rick to have a new template to present at the next trail meeting as well as an estimate once the template is done.
Steven asked what the process is for obtaining money for subcommittees. Alicia broke the monies down:7
$750 Trail Use
$200 Maps and Charts
$150 Tools, Equipment
There are also conservation savings account funds for Walker Road and Fanny Mason.
Cheryl said estimates should be brought to the WCC meetings. The membership can approve expenditures up to a certain amount.
Trail Subcommittee Report: There was a meeting to discuss the continuation of the Rail Trail past the Cold River to Bellows Falls. Wendy and Will Grossman, as well as members of the Selectboard participated.
John stated that Town Hall has received numerous requests for trail maps. He cautioned that the more information that is available to the public, the heavier the traffic on the trails will be. This will lead to more littering. Lew stated that the plus side of this is, the more the trails are used by hikers, bikers, etc., the less undesirable usage there will be.
Reservoir Road: John stated that Fuss and O’Neill designated the Reservoir Dam a high hazard dam. Repairs will cost around $420,000 or more. He asked Peggy if the modeling report was in; she stated it was not. Once it is in (perhaps by next meeting) it can be sent to the WCC and the future of the dam can be determined.
John suggested beginning the grant process for dam removal. Peggy said it is important to read the report first. Alicia suggested contacting the Connecticut River Conservancy and The Connecticut River Joint Commission for advice about dam removal.
Walker Road Bench: Alicia asked if there was any interest in putting in a bench so people could sit and view the river. Lew suggested building a Leopold bench; it is easy to construct. He said he would send a link to a website where members could see a picture. He suggested building the bench on the backside of the kiosk.
Membership Renewal: Alicia reminded Laura, Lew, John, and Steven that they need to send letters of interest to serve on the WCC to Sarah.
Adjournment: John moved, Steven seconded, and all voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:57 p.m.
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 5, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.
Jean Kobeski, Recording Secretary
*** These minutes are in draft form until approved by the Commission on April 5, 2021.