Town Forest Committee
March 2, 2011
Present: Pat Mainer, Stewart Pierson, Steve Russell, Jason Reed, Brent Francis, Brooke Scatchard (arrived at 6:50 p.m.)
Absent: Wayne Bissonette, Kristen Sharpless, Chuck Reiss
Guests: Chris Olson (arrived at 6:50 p.m.)
Opening: Steve Russell called the meeting of the Town Forest Committee to order at 6:41 p.m. on March 2, 2011 in the Town Hall.
Approval of February 16 Minutes: Stuart moved to approve the minutes of March 16 as written. Brent seconded. No discussion. Unanimously approved.
Chair Position: Brooke nominated Steve. Seconded by Brent. Unanimously approved.
FEMA Update: Steve reported we are not eligible for the money because the roads are not maintained by the town budget.
Bill is working on the road down to small red pine plantation. He is only making $130 per thousand board feet since red pine is only getting $900 per thousand. He could go to white pine or spruce so he could make $200 per thousand which is a living wage. He had been hoping for FEMA grant. Bill suggested the committee could pay him $40/hour plus material up to a max of $1200 or $1500. Steve recommended we pay him $30/hour plus material up to a max of $1200. He'd clean up tops and clean out ditches along the way, keeping track of his time on the logging.
Chris recommended looking at the whole timber sale contract and recognizing that it is not working and figure out what will make it work. What is happening up there, road clearing with some salvage, is not what the contract says. Chris noted that it might come to the same as Steve recommended. Those present agreed we might need to change the contract, but don't want to void contract since Bill may have time to do some logging of white pine and spruce. Steve doesn't want to complicate it too much. We can just say road needs to be cleared to a certain point with a maximum of $1500. Steve will work it out with Bill. Chris will write a contract up, perhaps as an addendum to current contract.
HTF Grants Update: Stewart reported that there are two grants ready to go. Rocky is the point person, along with Chris Olson for both grants. One is $24,600 to improve the Eagle's trail, including moving it if necessary where there are bad erosion problems. It includes an assessment, a restoration plan, and a VYCC crew on site for at least a week, potentially more, in the summer. The town is required to donate $500 in materials.
The other grant is to do an analysis of sections of the Economou Road extension. It includes GIS mapping by Arrowwood Environmental, assessment, planning and reconstruction. $17,530 is available for construction with up to $2000 or the equivalent in time or equipment from the town. It will include assessment to Hayden Hill west, but work only to the top of the hill.
Discussed a potential need for an access or logging road from Hayden Hill east to old Verboom property. There is a stream, and two seeps that come together and run down the access road. Wetlands folks would have concerns. There is no plan to log there now, so there is no need now.
Discussed that we should not be making decisions about trails before we have a big picture for the whole forest. We agreed that the Econmou road extension is a road that would be appropriate to keep and that the Eagle's trail serves a constituency. Economou Road extension might be one to consider for ATV use. Discussed the difference between ATV's and dirt bikes in terms of their impact on waterbars, etc.
Stewart noted that the state wants us to address the issue of ATV's. They were very clear about us needing to address it, although a certain policy is not required. Chris noted that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on private property without permission. That is a black and white policy. There can be shades of gray on public land.
- Review timeline - changes? Discussed meeting with neighbors and recreation groups in late April. Need to define neighbor and recreation groups and think about how to give/get info. Kristin may have ideas.
- Delegate tasks
Approved of Kristin's ideas
- Discuss forum, identify questions-
Jason noted that feedback is still coming in and that the Inventory is not a failsafe plan. It was written about same time FOTW got approval to build trails. Can/would the Selectboard change its mind about FOTW trails? Discussed traffic issues. Discussed whether there should be trails for just walkers? Pat noted that out of towners spend money in town.
Other Business: Steve brought up the liability issues. He reported that Andrea Morgante inquired from cities and towns and will investigate further. Brooke noted that State landowner protection law covers private landowners. It exempts municipalities, so there is some liability for towns, but we can add the trail system to the Trails and Greenways Council trails, which would provide liability coverage, but not put the system on maps, etc.
Next Meeting: The next meeting will be on April 6, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. Special meeting March 26, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Pat Mainer