Category: <span>In the Press</span>

Trail Update

This article appeared in the August 6, 2015 edition of the Winnisquam Echo.

Written by: Eliza Conde

Perseverance pays off for Tilton Conservation Commission TILTON — Seven years ago this month, the Tilton Conservation Commission began considering the purchase of a small parcel of land along the Winnipesaukee River. Even earlier than that, the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association was studying ways to continue the Winnipesaukee River Trail through Tilton into Northfield. Both groups have worked tirelessly toward a project that will finally be completed by this fall. People who drive through town toward Exit 20 can’t help but notice the vast improvements to the land along the river that have been gradually happening over the past few years. The Tilton Conservation Commission did purchase the land along the river and began cleaning up trash and removing invasive species along the river. Later, members of WRTA approached the Commission about purchasing the abutting property known as “Ernie’s” to help accommodate the rail trail. After reviewing environmental reports and being assured of federal grants to pay for cleanup of the property the Conservation Commission agreed to purchase the land. A $200,000 EPA grant was received in August 2012, and planning for the final look and use of the property began. Many meetings with the Tilton Board of Selectmen, Tilton Conservation Commission and Winnipesaukee River Trail Association took place to develop final agreements between the organization and the town, to decide upon the location of the trail, parking, etc. as well as to determine the intended use of the property as a conservation area rather than a park. In the meantime, WRTA applied for and received federal funding for 80 percent of the cost of completing the trail, including a bridge across the river from the end of Granite St. in Northfield to the Tilton property. As the group was unable to raise the entire funding they needed to complete this project, it was decided to forego the bridge at this time and have the trail end at a new parking area across from the police station. Trail users will be advised to use the sidewalk into town and cross the river on the Cannon Bridge and continue on Elm Street to the trail at Surrette Park in Northfield. Work on the trail from the Maher’s Welding building to the former “Ernie’s” site is set to begin Aug. 10 and should be completed in about eight weeks. When this stage is completed, the parking area and remaining landscaping will need to be finished, and fencing installed, before the project will finally be completed. The Tilton Conservation Commission has steadfastly kept their final goal in mind to create an attractive conservation area with an emphasis on the river. The original property has been named the Salmon Run Conservation Area which will be maintained as an open space with wildflowers and will allow access to the river for fishermen and kayaks. Funding for the purchase of the properties and landscaping of Salmon Run has come from the Tilton Conservation Fund which is funded by “Land Use Change” Tax when land is removed from Current Use and developed. The Belknap Master Gardeners generously contributed money toward topsoil and landscaping in the name of Tilton Master Gardener, Theresa Schneider. Special thanks go to the Tilton Northfield Aqueduct Co. who donated time, manpower, and equipment to provide water access for site maintaining the property. More information can be found at tiltoncc. org, and on Facebook.

Two more miles added to Winnipesaukee River Trail

by Meghan Siegler
Editor of The Meredith News, Winnisquam Echo and Gilford Steamer

October 13, 2010

TILTON — Phase II of the Winnipesaukee River Trail is complete and ready for use, just in time for fall foliage season.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Thursday near the trail’s intersection with Route 140. Work on Phase II, which runs from the train station in Northfield to Route 140, started this spring, though the project itself is more than 10 years in the making.

“Bit by bit we’ve gotten there,” trail association member Ken Norton told the crowd gathered at Thursday’s ceremony.

The first meeting about the possibility of building a trail parallel to the Winnispesaukee River was held in 1998. Board of Directors Vice President Rick Silverberg said that for the first few years, board members walked along the river to decide which side the trail could go on.

“We got our feet wet quite a few times,” he said.

After spending several years submitting grant applications and fundraising, construction for Phase 1 began in 2004 and was completed in 2005. That portion of the trail is 3.1 miles long and runs from Trestle View Park in Franklin to the Northfield train station.

It took another five years to get the funding, easements and safety concerns taken care of for Phase II. This 2-mile section of trail is the first “rail with trail” approved in the state, and there were some liability issues that had to be resolved before the project could move forward.

The construction easement was given by Dick and Shirley Maher, and the Towns of Tilton and Northfield have worked on several aspects of the project alongside the trail association.

“This is all about collaboration,” Silverberg said.

Silverberg joked about the project’s lengthy timeline.

“Don’t ever underestimate how long it’s going to take,” he said.

Eventually the Winnipesaukee River Trail will connect to the Winnisquam-Opechee-Winnipesaukee Trail in the Laconia area, the Belmont Recreation Alternative Trail in Belmont, and the Northern Rail Trail that moves west from Franklin into Lebanon.

“The vision long term is to go from Lebanon all the way to Meredith,” Silverberg said.

Currently there is a temporary route through Tilton, on a sidewalk on Route 3; the next phase will build a bridge over the river to move that portion of the trail off of Route 3.

Silverberg said they do have some alternative transportation grants at this point, and fundraising continues.

“With any luck next summer we’ll be building a bridge,” he said.

The next fundraiser is “Taste of the Trails,” scheduled for Oct. 21. There is a trail clean-up day Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon, starting at Trestle View Park in Franklin.