On Wednesday, July 29th, the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County finished extending the rail trail from Dyer’s Crossing in East Andover to Webster Lake at Chance Pond Road in West Franklin. The finished rail trail is now 10 miles in length from Potter Place in Andover to West Franklin. The first step in this process was grading the abandoned rail bed to make it level. Next the graded rail bed was compacted with a compactor operated by volunteer Ed Hiller of Andover. The grader was operated by Ed Larpenter of Candia. Then stone dust from Colebrook Gravel in Boscawen was spread by the grader and compacted again by Ed and Ed. Use of a brand new 12 ton Volvo compactor was donated by Dave Libby of Chadwich-BaRoss of Concord. Use of the grader was contributed by Durgin & Crowell Lumber Company, Inc. of Springfield.
This year a new specification for stone dust was used which produced a surface substantially smoother and easier for walkers and bicyclists to use then in prior years. Numerous FNRT members, oordinated by Lindy Heim of Wilmot, volunteered their time to log in the stone dust trucks and coordinate the work. The new two mile segment travels on a high berm overlooking Webster Lake. The elevated dirt berm was designed to bring the old rail line down from the heights of East Andover to the lower Merrimack River Valley in West Franklin. A Trail Extension Celebration is being planned for September at the Franklin trailhead.