Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  November 11, 2020

Present: Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Wally Baker, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Chuck Bolduc; Debbie Lang; Lynn Wittman and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Barbara Hoffman. Lynn sat in for Barb.

This meeting was held remotely via GoToMeeting due to the Covid-19 emergency. Lynn volunteered to be the contact person for members of the public having difficulties connecting, and gave her phone number.


Call to order: Henry Howell stated that the meeting was being held remotely because of Covid-19, and summarized the rules for conducting remote meetings. Every person attending identified him/herself by name, gave their location, and listed other people that were or might be present. Henry called the meeting to order at 6:36 pm.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Debbie made a motion to approve the minutes from the 10/14/2020 meeting, and Chuck seconded. No one had any issues with the minutes, and they were approved unanimously by roll call.

Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report to the SCC members before the meeting. In the month of October, the only charge to the administrative account was $250 for our 2021 membership in NHACC.  YTD expenses are: Secretarial services – $666 out of $1267 total budget; Dues/Conferences – $700 out of $1300 total; Expenses – $500 out of $800 total; Supplies – $0 out of $170 total; Special Projects – $1255 out of $4000 total. Total expenses YTD are $3121 out of a total budget of $7537. The budget numbers above are all before the 10% reduction.  We now expect to take $500 from the Dues line.  The remaining $254 can probably come out of Expenses and Supplies, leaving Special Projects untouched.  Elly indicated the town is indifferent.  We’re just waiting for confirmation of this from the budget chair. The October balance in the Conservation Fund was $151,963.50 and King Hill was $2,773.39.  The Capital Reserve was $50,299.

Henry presented the SCC 2021 budget to the BOS on Monday. He showed us a slide showing the budget worksheet, which contains all the same amounts as last year, except for a 10% reduction in the Dues account. He presented the BOS with a list of all of the SCC’s accomplishments for 2020, as well as with a detailed list of planned expenditures for the Special Projects line item. The big ticket item is $2000 for the demolition of the old pump house at KHR. The select board said that since this is a town building, maybe the town should pay for it. Henry’s list was extremely specific, which pleased the BOS, and they said they were on board with asking for the $4000 for Special Projects. This will go before the full budget committee next Monday.  Wally said he would attend that meeting, and asked for a copy of Henry’s spreadsheet. Bob DeFelice said he would like to see the SCC meet with the BOS on a quarterly basis. Debbie asked about the expenditures for signs, and Henry said much of the KHR signage is for the sake of the neighbors. He is planning to attend the annual meeting of the Mountainside Asssoc. and hopes to iron out some property boundary issues. He said we shouldn’t have to pay for the signs that will be placed on their property. Also, the snowmobile club should pay for the signs that are snowmobile-related.


  • Email from Elly Phillips scheduling SCC to meet with the Budget Committee on 11/16 and the BOS on 11/9 regarding the 2021 budget.
  • Email from Lorri Himes regarding the kiosk at KLNA, asking us to notify her in future about building projects so the permitting is handled correctly.
  • Letter from NHACC thanking the SCC for membership renewal of $250.00
  • Email exchange between Debbie Lang and Elly Phillips regarding where to make the 10% budget reduction.
  • Email from Lorri Himes giving final dates for 2020 expenditure submissions.
  • Email from Elly Phillips regarding town travel policy changes due to covid-19.
  • Email from Ed Canane withdrawing his request for SCC to look into an agricultural easement on one of his properties.
  • Invoice from Travis Perkins for $3000 for parking lot work and email reply to Travis Perkins from Henry Howell.
  • Email exchange between Debbie Lang and Andy Deegan of ASLPT regarding the status of the Booker conservation easement. It’s still in progress.
  • Email exchange between Debbie Lang and Pat Tivnan of KLPA regarding the reimbursement of $245 for KLNA kiosk.
  • Email exchange between Elly Phillips and Bonnie Hill regarding questions from townspeople about work being done at the Stevens Lot (aka KLNA).
  • Email from Elly Phillips with updated document listing all conserved properties in Sutton.
  • NHACC October 2020 eNews newsletter with info about the Stand Up for Forests campaign.
  • UNH Extension’s Fall 2020 issue of the Taking Action for Wildlife Articles on bats, trail cameras, pollinators, citizen science, etc.
  • Letter from the Sutton Historical Society asking for donations to help with South Sutton Meetinghouse restoration. Wally made a motion that we send $100 to SHS, and Henry seconded. The roll call vote was unanimously in favor.
  • Forest Notes, SPNHF’s magazine, Summer 2020 issue. Article on the evolution of NH’s land conservation movement.
  • Lakeside, NH Lakes’ magazine, Fall 2020 issue. Supporter survey report, lake trend report, Wake Boat Commission report.
  • SRKG Coalition Fall 2020 newsletter. Profile of Dan Allen, Covid-19 trail etiquette.


Henry asked that Correspondence be put at the end of the agenda henceforth, and that it only include items that are requesting specific information or actions. Wally agreed and said to pick maybe half a dozen items. Bonnie said that she would do that, but she would still put the full list of correspondence items in the minutes. Don suggested that when Bonnie sends out the agenda, the full correspondence list could be sent as a separate attachment. That would allow the members to review them and see if there is something they would like to discuss. Chuck said some of the items could be placed under Old Business, such as today’s item about the Booker easement.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

  • Cover letter and pictures received regarding a Wetlands Restoration Plan for J. Hastings and M. Gross of Shaker Rd, T/L#09-668-062.
  • Restoration Plan Approval letter from NHDES for J. Hastings and M. Gross of Shaker Rd, T/L#09-668-062, DES File number 2020-02531.

Bonnie said an email was received from Meridian Land Services just before this meeting saying that Phase 1 of this project had been successfully completed. She asked Debbie if a wetlands permit had been received for it, and Debbie said no, but she would ask Lorri to check. Henry said we need to make sure these procedures are working as they should be.


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • None

Debbie reported that according to UNH Extension, the price of low-grade wood is low right now, so it’s possible the logging will slow down.


Old business

Report from Property Advisory Committee Barb sent an email informing the commission that the East Sutton property has been sold. Henry reported that Barb will try to negotiate with the new owner about a conservation easement.


Kiosk at Kezar Lake Natural Area (KLNA) Wally called the town office about this, and Lynn talked to Elly and to Peter Stanley, and everyone seems happy now.


Report on Sundell Natural Area Japanese knotweed reduction Wally reported that a work session was held last Sunday. He, Bonnie and Lynn cut and piled knotweed, and best of all, Ernie Brake was there with a weed whacker with a blade attachment that really knocked it down. The knotweed is all piled up and waiting to be picked up by the road crew and taken to the dump to be burned. Wally will contact Chris Kane about getting some pictures. He thinks it’s been a success. It will take 2 or 3 years to eradicate it totally, and in June we need to cut it down before it gets sprayed again. Henry reminded us that the SCC owns its own power weed whacker with a blade; it is at his house. Chuck asked how we make sure we get the DES guy to come back. Wally said we just need to follow up and he will come. There is no charge for this.


New Business

Report from NHACC Henry went to a session on interacting with town officials, and he got to apply what he learned when he went to the budget hearing. Lynn thought the session on the Gaia mapping app was really exciting. Bonnie went to the one on turtle conservation, and said that we should be cognizant of the needs of turtles when we lay out trails. Sutton does have Blandings turtles (in Lyons Brook, according to Don), which are a state-listed species. There are Turtle Crossing signs which are hinged and can be folded over when it is not turtle crossing season. Henry said these would be useful on Rt 114, but we would need to get permission from the state to put them up.


Public Comments on Proposed 5 Year Master Development/Environmental Management Plan for the ski lease area of Mount Sunapee State Park – Bonnie said this plan by Vail makes no mention of the NH Heritage Bureau’s having documented the presence of an Exemplary Northern Hardwood Conifer Forest System containing Old Growth Forest in the area under consideration for development. Public comments on the plan are due tomorrow and she intends to send a letter to the NH DCNR. She will send a copy of her letter to SCC for their information. Don said these ski companies should be held to the letter of the lease, and that they have not been honest about their actions in the past.


Potential logging of KHR – Chuck said this discussion began when Dave Carey noted that trees are encroaching from the sides of the mowed trails at KHR, and he suggested that money could be extracted from a timber harvest to offset some of the costs of trail maintenance. Chuck said that KHR is over 440 acres, has a lot of recreational use, and requires a lot of maintenance in the form of mowing, trail work, parking lot maintenance, etc. Chuck reviewed the original management plan for KHR and will send the documents out for us to look at. The primary objectives are for recreation and providing habitat. UNH Extension looked at the land in 2000 with a recommendation of doing patch cuts to maintain hardwood browse for wildlife. In 2004 a Woodland Examination Report by New England Forestry said that forestry was a viable option and should further the purposes of recreation and habitat. The forest was evaluated in terms of 9 segments, three of which were viable for timber harvesting, for a potential yield at that time of $21,000. Chuck pointed out that currently, the market for pulp and chips is not good. Chuck walked the property with two foresters. One has worked with the New London Conservation Commission and with Colby Sawyer College. Both said there is some possible money to be gained. Chuck said he could go either way on this. The pros in favor of logging include money and creating habitat diversity, with a long term benefit. The cons are the inconvenience of logging activity, and the negative aesthetics that will persist for several years. The cons of doing nothing are that we need to find other money to do maintenance, and that the value of the pine will go down over time as the trees are already at or past their prime harvest size. Debbie asked about the timeframe, and Chuck said we are early in the process, so sometime in the next couple of years. Henry said he would like to downplay the money aspect, and look at this from a standpoint of forest management and habitat creation. Best management practices require that we do some active management. We need to discuss how it would be logged and what kind of machinery would be used. Don asked if the foresters said anything about landings, and Chuck said they would use the existing ones. Don said these are at the Hominy Pot entrance and at Maple Leaf, and would be disruptive to recreation. He said it might be possible to go through Bean Quarry. Chuck said the distance from the timber has a big impact on the amount of money it will yield. He said the three segments that would be considered for logging are segment 6, close to the Penacook Path landing, segment 8, where the old triple is, and segment 5, at the north end of the property. Segment 6 has some good value in pine. It could be selectively logged, but that would not provide the habitat benefits of a patch cut. To get the habitat benefits we would need a substantial operation, and the high timber value in seg 6 will serve as motivation to the loggers to get in there and do the rest of the cuts. Henry pointed out that although large automated machines were not used at the Bean Quarry, the logging was still done in huge swathes. He would like to know how this compares with what the foresters are suggesting. He said we need to make it reasonable for the loggers to get in there, but he would like it to be less severe than in the Bean Quarry. Chuck said, no matter what method is used, a trail will need to be made to get the trees out. He said one local Sutton logger uses a “cut-to-length” machine that brings out cut and trimmed logs instead of whole trees. It has less impact to the ground because it drives over the cut-off branches. Bonnie said she would like to require the logging to be done in the winter, to do less damage to the land. Chuck said one of the foresters actually suggested doing it during the dry time of summer, for the same reason. Bonnie asked whether logs could be skidded down the ski slopes during the winter, but Chuck said the loggers wouldn’t be cutting those encroaching trees – we need to do that using something like a brontosaurus. Don said we got a grant during the 90’s to open habitat with a brontosaurus, and there were lots of deer and moose afterwards. Chuck said the encroachment interferes with drainage at the edges of the trails, and washouts can cause sediment to wash into Lyons Brook. Henry pointed out the very comprehensive report written in 2004 by Brooks McCandlish. He said he proposes that we pursue the logging option. He would like Chuck to combine the reports from the different foresters. Chuck said we need to either keep thinking about this, or move forward and pay for someone to put together a proposal. A Forest Examination Report would cost a couple of thousand dollars. One problem is we have no boundary markings. Henry said we don’t need a report as detailed as the 2004 one; just a plan for what would be cut and how. Chuck said the plan is to cut the highest value pine in seg 6, then some less valuable timber in seg 8 would be cut with a cut-to-length machine, creating a habitat benefit area between the ski trails. Wally said he sees two issues, one, maintenance of the area vs two, aesthetics. We need to weigh long term benefits against a few years of disruption. Lynn asked how long the loggers would be there, and was told it would be a matter of weeks. Henry polled the members individually about whether they wanted to pursue the logging idea and everyone agreed. He said he would get the existing management plan documents out to us. He would like to get a new report, just covering logging and aesthetic issues. He asked Chuck to find out how much the foresters would charge to write up an abbreviated forest management plan, or to update the plan we have now.


25-year plaque from the Forest Society – A package came for Wally and Henry that contained a beautiful carved wooden plaque commemorating the SCC’s 25 years of membership. Bonnie held it up to the webcam, but she will send out a picture of it so people can see it more clearly.


Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

Update on sign-making for our conservation lands – Henry said the signs have all been painted and look beautiful. Chris Brahan from KRHS helped to install more signs. Lynn is updating the trail markers on the KHR trails using different colors, as specified on a map that Henry created with color-coded trails. Henry told her that Voss Signs has all colors of markers.

KRHS student and team to work on new Maple Leaf trail – Chris will be doing this.

KRHS student to work on map-making for Sutton’s trails – Another student, Matthew Ulrich will be working with Chuck on maps.

Hominy Pot trailhead parking lot upgrade – Henry said this is done and looks really nice. There is head-in parking.

Maple Leaf parking lot upgrade – Wally said he is planning to bring in a load of ¾ inch crushed stone before Thanksgiving.

Snow plowing for trailhead parking: (A) KHR Hominy Pot, (B) KHR Maple Leaf,  (C) Webb/Crowell – Chuck said Travis Perkins has been hired to plow the Hominy Pot parking lot. Bonnie asked if he is going to be plowing it every time we get a half inch of snow and sending us a bill. Chuck said that’s how the business usually works, and he said Travis did eat some of the cost of the parking lot upgrade. Henry said we need to set some kind of threshold for the plowing, like 3 inches of snow. Don asked if sanding was included and Chuck did not know. Chuck is also negotiating with the Angelis about plowing the road all the way to Maple Leaf. Bonnie said Mike McManus has plowed the Webb/Crowell lot in the past, just as a favor. She said Betsy Forsham suggested we offer him something in return, like gas money, if he would continue to do it. Henry said he will look into it.


Boulder replacement needed at Webb/Crowell parking lot – Bonnie was there last week and noticed that there were ruts from a vehicle driving through the gap where the boulder was. Wally said he would push a boulder into place to block it.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, December 9th, 2020, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary