Friday, November 13, 2009

Preservation of Knight's Brook

Representatives of the NH Department of Transportation came to the Newington Conservation Commission's meeting on November 12, 2009 to discuss its proposal to acquire conservation easements around Knight's Brook in Newington as mitigation for expansion of the Spaulding Turnpike.

An earlier proposal under consideration was to acquire property on Great Bay in Newington. However, cost and other issues were prohibitive. As a result, a second alternative to acquire 60 to 70 acres of land around Knight's Brook is being considered. The plan shown above (click on it for a larger version), shows that three properties or portions thereof are being considered.

If the current discussions move forward, the NHDOT will purchase easements that would protect 60 to 70 acres as open space and then give the Newington Conservation Commission the right to manage those areas for conservation purposes. The Commission has proposed use of its own funds if the conservation areas could be expanded at a reasonable cost.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Town Forest Sign is UP!

The sign denoting the Town Forest opposite the old town hall is now in place. Local contractor John Bean out of Rochester NH did a great job and it looks very well.

The Conservation Commission will be meeting on Thursday November 12 at 6:30 PM to discuss a number of projects that remain to be completed for the Town Forest. First, a map will likely need to be prepared showing the location of trails and other features on the Town Forest and other public lands. There is an extensive network of trails branching off New Road that date back to the days when the Pease Air Force Base was active. There is some indication that the area was used for snow machines and cross country skiing.

Second, the Commission will also consider what rules and regulations should apply to the Town Forest and other lands managed by the Conservation Commission. One proposal to consider, especially as an interim measure, would be to make all Town-wide rules adopted by the Selectmen related to Town property applicable to conservation lands.

The third issue to consider in my mind is what to do with the many rocks and stones that have been stockpiled on New Road. The road is completely blocked at its beginning which is definately a deterrent to entering the Town Forest. This has been discussed with the Historic District Commission, the regulatory body that reviews proposals within the Historic District, and there appears to be support for moving the rocks to make a simple stone wall along New Road with the rocks that are currently there. They are far too large to be lifted by hand. It is unfortunate that they were not placed more carefully initially because they completely block the road resulting in the need to move them even though there is no real plan or need for their use at this time.

Stop by and check out the sign the next time you are at the Langdon Library, and, feel free to take a walk down New Road. It opens up after you pass the rocks and continues at least a mile beyond Arboretum Drive.