Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Members present:  Harry Wolhandler, Les LaMois, Don Scott, Kathy Scott, Ralph Zingaro
Absent:  Diana Shonk
Members of the public: Winston Sims, Eric Aldrich, Barbara Watkins, Eric Masterson

Patton Conservation Easement – The Chair shared information on the 10- acre parcel deeded to the town and containing a conservation easement. The parcel abuts Skatutakee Road and Dublin Road and lies adjacent to the Skatutakee spring. Mr. Wolhandler walked the property with a representative of the Monadnock Conservancy, which oversees the easement.  Barbara Watkins noted theTrails Committee has walked it several times and will work with the Conservancy to improve the old trail, which offers a safe and beautiful route off Dublin Road to Skatutakee Road.  The Trails Committee is working with abutting landowners to allow the public to access and walk the trail. Don Scott has offered to prepare a map of the land and its key features.

Rocky Ridge – Eric Aldrich of Hancock spoke to the HCC to request its support in an initiative to have the Class VI road known as Rocky Ridge reclassified to a Class A Trail. Lying in the northeast corner of Harrisville, the road connects Nelson and Hancock, via Harrisville, but becomes a Class A trail upon reaching the Hancock town line. Mr. Aldrich is approaching the Town of Nelson with the same reclassification request of the Class VI section that lies there.

The problem, Mr. Alrich explained, is that motorized wheeled vehicles are prohibited on the section of road, Jaquith Road, in Hancock, where it is posted as Class A Trail, but are currently allowed on the Harrisville and Nelson sections. Vehicles traveling toward Hancock from Nelson, where the road is called Nubanusit Road, or from Harrisville, where it’s called Rocky Ridge, must traverse difficult terrain suitable for only certain vehicles. It is very rough and eroded and contains historic features. They then are challenged with turning around or else proceeding illegally. Similarly, vehicles traveling from Hancock sometimes traverse the Class A trail section illegally to reach the Class VI sections that allow motorized wheeled vehicles. Mr. Aldrich and Eric Masterson of the Harris Center, an abutter to Rocky Ridge who supports the initiative, suggest one classification, a Class A trail, for the entire length of road. The Harrisville portion is .48 miles; the Nelson portion is .16 miles.

Mr. Masterson did note that, at this time, e-bikes still are allowed on trails.  Three property owners, including the Harris Center, own the land abutting Rocky Ridge, and much of it is in conservation.

The HCC has the option of asking the Select Board to put forth a warrant article at the next Town Meeting. This is how Hancock proceeded in 2009. A petitioned article is also an option, but it was suggested that it come from the Select Board.

Kathy Scott offered to share with HCC members chapter 8 of NHMA’s A Hard Road to Travel, which addresses Class VI roads.  She raised possible concerns the SB may have, noting such a proposal would require more research into the potential impact to the town. Kathy would like to make sure all legal bases are covered and all of town’s interests are considered.

In discussing outreach to abutters, Mr. Aldrich noted he would defer to the SB or Conservation Commission to reach out to these parties.

Lake Host program – Mr. Wolhandler noted that the SB approved and has distributed funds to the three lake associations in support of their Lake Host programs.

Common Threads – Mr. Wolhandler submitted the article on milfoil and risk of invasive species for the upcoming issue.

Knotweed/plant invasives – Ralph Zingaro reported he reached out to several researchers and they’ve informed him that no new products have come on the market to combat knotweed. The Chair reviewed the best management practices offered to treat and dispose of knotweed and information about the cost and length of time to treat it. Members also noted the pervasiveness of buckthorn. Mr. Wolhandler would like to show two videos on risk vs. hazard in pesticide use at a future meeting with those concerned about the use of glyphosate.

Old Home Days – Members discussed signage and booth ideas.

Rain Garden – Harry shared a draft outline of text for the rain garden signage, including information on the purpose and goals of a rain garden, descriptions of plants, and information on invasive species and the lake associations. He and Diana Shonk hope to have a final draft for the next meeting.

Updates from other boards and committees
-Select Board – Kathy Scott noted there is lots of discussion about Class VI roads

-Planning Board – The Planning Board determined the applicant for a subdivision on a Class VI road is required to go the Zoning Board for a variance for inadequate frontage.

-Historic District Commission – The HDC will hear an application on June 28 for a roof replacement and mini-split installation.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.