Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Meeting Minutes


The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting at town offices on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

     Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Les LaMois, Don Scott, Kathy Scott, Earl Horn, Diana Shonk
     Members of the public: Eric Masterson, Brett Thelen, Andrea Polizos, Winston Sims

Chairman Harry Wolhandler opened the meeting at 7:00 pm.

Members moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve the agenda.

Minutes of previous meeting
Members moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve the October minutes.

Trail Signage
HCC members, Harris Center Representative Eric Masterson, and members of the public discussed options and opinions about interpretive trail signage, with the consensus that the North Pond trail would be the pilot trail. The group discussed who should and could create the signs, what design would be most appropriate for hikers, and the best locations. Mr. Masterson, Ms. Thelen and HCC members agreed that a trail guide from a box at the trail head was preferred over posting signage to trees or man-made posts, for maintenance reasons and also to foster an unmediated experience in nature. They noted that the signs can become outdated quickly given seasonal changes in vegetation and the landscape. Also dead wood and falling trees can damage signs, which aren’t cheap. Brochures are more easily changed.

Brett Thelen suggested that the HCC reach out to the Antioch CSI (Collaborative Service Initiative), led by Sara Bacchus. The program contains student with varied skills who could assist. Harry Wolhandler will contact them.

An additional thought, if minimal signage is desired, is to place trail number signs, with numbers corresponding to trail maps, on trees. Don Scott recommended the paper map idea with descriptions of notable trail features. He described the categories of information from a recent visit to Maine (habitats, plant life, geology, etc.) – Earl Horn spoke to Rick Church’s informative work on the Nelson trails. Harry Wolhandler remarked that seems like a great model for the HCC and the Trails Committee.

There were differences of opinion on whether anything should be in digital form. Brett Thelen noted which trails the Harris Center already has online, suggesting this might be a place to start.

She noted the difference between everyday destinations for locals versus “destination” sites, whether cultural or environmental.

Eric Masterson noted his interest in discussing the ideas with his Harris Center colleagues and in remaining part of the discussion and decision making by the HCC. The HCC Chair will reach out to both Antioch and to Rick Church for ideas and opportunities to collaborate.  He hopes to report back with their input at the December meeting. Winston Sims also recommended reaching out to Rich Taylor and Alison Weber.

Other business
On a different matter, Mr. Masterson noted the Harris Center withdrew its Wetland Application for clearing around the Beaver Pond, following DES’s response that a permit was not required.

Recycle Center Committee– Earl Horn will connect with Jeff Cady tomorrow and get back to the HCC about the timetable for the Recycle Center committee.

A Shoreland PBN was granted to the Community Church. Don Scott spoke as church property manager regarding the pending HDC review . The church seeks ADA compliance for their ramp and entrance/egress and an interior bathroom. An advisory discussion will occur with the ZBA at their November 17 meeting unless the Church can submit their ZBA application in time for public noticing for full review.

Japanese knotweed – The Chair shared a couple of videos on the concept of hazard versus risk and on the risks of glyphosate for treating the invasive species. The overall themes were that, if used safely and responsibly, application of glyphosate can be an effective method for management and removal. During discussion, including the locations where the stands are thickest, some members were not ready to act on the information feeling it’s still too controversial a topic. Others feel townspeople wouldn’t have concerns if the HCC were involved in the process and a professional was doing the work.  The HCC will take up the conversation again in the spring.

Reports on action of other committees
Select Board – The SB is ramping up for budget season. Kathy Scott recommended that any warrant articles of interest to the HCC should be brought to the SB’s attention in December. The Chair spoke to the Lake Host program and a possible funding proposal to help defray the costs.

Planning Board –  The PB will hear an ADU application on November 10 for a Bancroft Road. The Master Plan synthesis project is ongoing with work by various topic subcommittees. Don Scott will serve on water quality committee.

Zoning Board – The ZBA will hear an application for a living room addition to a property on South Road.

HDC – The Historic District Commission will continue its public hearing on proposed regulations to Tuesday, November 23.

Trails Committee – The next meeting is Monday night, November 8.

Historic Harrisville – HHI is still working on the spinning mill move and the installation of solar panels. They also are working to develop the Zopher Willard Woods trails.

Community Power – The community power effort is underway, with Harrisville an early adopter and a member of the Community Power Coalition of NH along with numerous other NH towns and Cheshire County.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.