Ballast Problem: Most of the railroad right-of-way in Merrimack County has been cleared of the rails and ties. However, the course, crushed rock used to hold the ties in place (called “ballast”) remains. This is an amazingly poor surface for walking, bicycle riding, or riding horses. Even in the winter time, these rocks pose a hazard for snowmobile equipment and can be ejected by their treads making a hazard for their riders.
Re-Surfacing Solution: The solution is to move most of the ballast aside with a road grader and replace it with compacted ledge pack. This leaves a reasonably smooth, hard surface that makes a fine, natural-looking trail.