Londonderry Trailways President Bob Saur met with the Heritage Commission to discuss approval of the installation of a trail from the Town Common through the Town Forest to the overlook at Mack’s Orchard, an area zoned AR-1 in the Historic District.
At a special meeting called Thursday, June 13, Saur told the commission, “You’ve seen this before, but I wanted to share some feedback that we’ve received from the Conservation Commission, Londonderry Arts Council and the Londonderry Old Home Day Committee. Basically all those groups were in support of this proposal but there was some contradictory direction from the Londonderry Arts Council and the Londonderry Old Home Day Committee.”
Saur said the Arts Council asked that the part of the trail behind the bandstand parking lot be eliminated, as members thought it could be a distraction during events. “The Old Home Day Committee requested that that part remain and their reasoning was that it would improve access for those with walking disabilities,” Saur said. He said he knew from experience that pushing a wheelchair on the Town Common was difficult.
“I just wanted to be upfront that we did get varied feedback, and what the Trailways board came back with was that we will include the trail behind the bandstand parking lot, as it is a current use trail, it is pre-existing, and our concern is that if we try to block that trail off, users will simply migrate and create a new trail west into the woods,” Saur said.
He said they also agreed with the Old Home Day Committee that it would provide better access by allowing people to park at the bandstand parking lot and still access the trail without traversing the Common. Saur also said there would be a sign asking users not to use the trailhead behind the bandstand while events are taking place.
“The proposed trail will create a trail from the Town Common connecting with the existing North Orchard Loop Trail, providing woodlands connections from Town Common, to the three and a half mile Adams Pond trail network,” Saur said.
He said that the trail would provide recreation and walking options to Town Common users. According to Saur, the trail will be packed earth, with roots and rocks removed. “Trailways has been awarded a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED), which will fund trail surface improvements to a packed stone dust surface to allow the trail to be senior and stroller ready,” Saur said.
He noted the trail will not be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant because of the slope. Chairman Arthur Rugg asked the width of the trail and the depth of the stone dust. Saur said the trail would be 5 feet wide, and the stone dust would be 4 inches deep.
“Our goal is to not remove any trees that are more than 1.5 inches in diameter, so anything we take out will be almost at a brush level,” Saur said. He also said that benches that are on the overlook will be renovated using pressure treated lumber.
Saur said the DRED grant would pay for renovation and expansion of the in-town trail network.
“It is a $10,000 cost overall, and Trailways will be matching about 25 percent of that through private donations that we’ve already received,” Saur said.
Commissioner David Colglazier asked if stone dust was a manufactured product or a by-product and Saur said that it was a by-product and they had to be careful that there was no asphalt mingled with it so as not to contaminate the trails and water sources. Commissioner Pauline Caron made a motion to approve installation of the trail and Commissioner Jim Butler seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.