Two more miles of smooth surfaced trail were added to eastern end of the rail trail in Franklin in October. In addition, FNRT just completed work along the ballast covered rail bed of the old Northern Railroad between Potter Place and the town shed in Danbury. With that work completed, the Nothern Rail Trail now follows Rte. 4, essentially, up to Enfield then on to West Lebanon going north from its Potter Place trailhead in Andover and follows Rte 11 east to Depot Street in Franklin. Preliminary work started back in September when culverts and banks were repaired. Then the parade of trucks carrying heavy loads of hard pack rolled in and covered the compacted ballast with finer material. Further compacting smoothed and stabilized the surface so as to be suitable for horses, dogs, bikes, walkers, skiers, wheelchairs and snow mobiles. As always, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the Northern Rail Trail, except for snow mobiles in winter. Now the rail trail is continuous through two counties for about 45 miles from South Franklin to West Lebanon.
Mayor Ken Merrifield
To celebrate, a trail extension celebration was held at Lagace Beach at Webster Lake on Oct. 9, that lovely Saturday of Columbus Day Weekend. 27 rail trail fans and dignitaries came out to cheer the ribbon cutting ceremony conducted by FNRT President, Bob Ward with Mayor Ken Merrifield doing the honors with the sissors. Bob pointed out the incredible amount of volunteer time, materials and effort that went into the trail extension and thanked all for their contributions.
27 rail trail fans & dignitaries
Us Congressional candidate, Charlie Bass, lent his support as did Jennifer Codispoti of the Trails Bureau, New Hampshire State Representatives Leigh Webb and Dennis Reed, Franklin City Council member Annette Andreozzi, Tilton Conservatrion Commision member Jim Cropsey, Franklin activist David Palfrey and politician Gene Chandler. FNRT board members present were Lindy Heim and Mike Loomis, who’s 2 year old daughter Siena assisted with the ribbon cutting.
FNRT volunteers who attended the ceremony included Project Manager Chris Norris and compactor driver and milepost restorer Ed Hiller, both of Andover, volunteer co-ordinator Taffy Johnson of the Webster Lake Association in Franklin and Photographer Lisah Carpenter of Wilmot. The FNRT board would like to express its gratitude to all those who volunteered their time on this project.
Taffy Johnson of the Webster Lake Association
After the ribbon cutting, Ed Hiller lead a walk down the new rail trail pointing out railroad historical features and explaining the process involved in converting old rail bed into 4 season rail trail. Most attendees returned to schmooze, enjoy refreshments provided by Hannaford’s of Franklin, and take home maps of the completed trail donated by the Tilton Staples. Thank you, Franklin Recreation, for allowing FNRT to use Lagace Park for its celebration. A fine time was had by all that blustery sunlit day. For more information, news, membership and downloadable maps, visit www.fnrt.org.
FNRT volunteers Ed Hiller and Chris Norris