Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

Sutton Conservation Commission (SCC)

DRAFT Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Present: Henry Howell, Chair; Don Davis; Debbie Lang; Yvonne Howard; Joanna Murphy; and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Chuck Bolduc; Lynn Wittman; Jim Morris.

Call to order: Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:42 pm.

Previous Meeting’s Minutes: The minutes from the last meeting on March 6th were unanimously approved.

Financial Report:

Our total 2024 admin budget is $7,839. $7,000 was added to our Capital Reserve for the year, and a new Non-Capital Reserve has been created with an initial amount of $1,000. This fund will be augmented every year. Since it will carry over from year to year, it can be used to accumulate funds for doing costly special projects. $2183.00 has been spent YTD for mowing and plowing out of our admin budget. The remaining balance in the KHR Fund account was rolled into the Conservation Fund and the KHR fund closed out. Here are the account balances as of the end of March:

  • Conservation Fund: $225,332.09 (sum of all sub-accounts)
    • Conservation Fund Unrestricted: $210,222.47
    • King Hill Reservation Fund: $0.00
    • Sievert King Hill Gift: $15,006.59
    • Donation Holding Account: $103.03
  • Capital Reserve: $79,649.59
  • Non-Capital Reserve: $1,000.00

Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

Update on the KHR donation system – None.

Update on status of Sievert donation – The re-issued check has been deposited.

KHR snowmobile trail usage – Don said his grandson reported that a lot of trees fell across the trails at KHR during the last storm. Instead of moving the trees, snowmobilers just drove around them, sometimes driving on to private property. As the snow has melted, this is now a moot point, but needs to be remembered.

KHR trail map guides – Henry went to KHR and posted trail maps at all of the trail intersections. The maps are laminated and waterproof, and they have a red mark showing “You are Here”. He showed pictures of the newly enhanced signposts.

Putnam Trail update – Henry said Gerry Putnam was enthusiastic about the proposal to have the Kezar Lake Running Club help with re-routing the Putnam Trail. Gerry, Henry, and some of the club members walked the trail and marked the proposed new route with ribbons. Since the SCC cannot allow volunteers to operate power equipment on their own, Gerry himself used a chainsaw to cut down any large trees that were blocking the new trail route. The running club will do the rest of the trail-clearing work. As for the bridge, Henry said it is actually in much better shape than he thought. Gerry’s son re-set it in place and Henry said it appears to be very stable, so no new footings are required. It does need steps to be built to allow better access, and the running club will take care of that.

KHR Penacook Path culvert rebuild/replacement – Henry said we will discuss what we need to do to get a grant for this when we have Chuck here to provide input.

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues

  • None 

Wetlands Review

Henry summarized a letter received from NH Lakes saying that invasive Spiny Water Flea has been found in some lakes. The Kezar Lake Protective Association was honored with the first Lake Smart Community Award, as over 50% of the property owners participated in the LakeSmart program. One of the properties, the Ritz’s, had LakeSmart landscaping designed and implemented by Joanna Murphy, and is featured as an example in their literature. Henry said he is in the program, too.


New Business

Report from ASLPT Outreach Meeting – Debbie reported that the two common themes were beaver issues and efforts to update Natural Resource Inventories. Bonnie asked if anyone had any helpful advice about beavers, and Debbie said Tim Blagden has reported some success with beaver deceivers. Debbie reminded Henry about the semi-annual ConCom chairs meeting on April 25.

Dog waste at KHR’s Hominy Pot Trail and Penacook Path – Don said his grandson has seen more and more waste appearing as the snow melts. He showed us some information about bags and holders : 2000 bags can be purchased for $45, and a stand holding a bag dispenser can cost about $80. Don will do some research to determine the most highly recommended systems. Henry would like us to have a bag dispenser at the trailheads for both the Hominy Pot trail and Penacook Path. He said the New London Conservation Commission has a bag dispenser stand at the Esther Currier trail, and they do not provide a trash can. He said people will be expected to carry out their bags of dog waste. We will, however, need someone to replenish the bags as needed. Joanna brought up the issue of unleashed dogs on these trails. She said it can be a bad situation when leashed dogs are faced with unleashed dogs. Also, many walkers, especially the elderly, are afraid of dogs jumping up on them. Bonnie agreed with this. It was suggested that maybe leashes should be required on the more popular, narrow trails such as Hominy Pot and the Lyon Brook trail. Joanna said she would look into signage. She also said she would help with the bag replenishment. Don said he had an idea for a Hospital Days parade float with a theme of “Trail Etiquette”. All orgs who have trails could participate, and rubber poop could be used as a prop.

SCC terms ending March 2024 – Debbie, Don and Jim all have terms ending now. The Select Board will need to re-appoint them, and then they will need to be sworn in by the Town Clerk.

Old Business

Update on Stockwell property donation – Henry said the Stockwells had their land assessed by the Stanhope Group. They did a very professional job for $900. The piece of land to be donated was assessed at $20,000. They spoke to the mortgage company, and unfortunately they are requiring a complete survey of the land, both of the piece to be donated and the piece to be kept. They also want a legal description of both pieces of land. They also require a letter from the homeowners stating their reasons for donating the land and detailing any compensation that they will be receiving. Henry said this survey could cost $2,000. The lawyer fees could add another $700 or so. Rick Stockwell told Henry that if this is too much, perhaps they could just donate an easement on the property. Henry said he thinks that we should pursue obtaining the actual property, and that we should foot the bill for the expenses required by the mortgage company. Bonnie asked if there is any chance we would not get the property, after paying that money, and Henry said yes. Bonnie asked if the Stockwells were still thinking of donating the other piece of property on the west side of the river, and Henry did not know. Bonnie said they would need to decide before the survey was done, since that piece would also have to be surveyed. Debbie asked if the Stockwells had anyone in mind for the survey, and she said Andy Deegan can give them names of surveyers. She asked what kind of expenses we would have if we got the property. Henry said we would have the expenses of building and maintaining trails. Bonnie asked if we would need to pay a stewardship fee to ASLPT, given that this land would be under the same easement as Webb/Crowell. Henry made a motion for the SCC to expend up to $8,000 from the Conservation Fund to pay the expenses associated with conveying the Stockwell property to the SCC. The vote was unanimously in favor.

5 year review of SCC Strategic Plan – Henry passed out a document he put together summarizing the Strategic Conservation Plan, and listing the data layers that go into it. He said the state Wildlife Action Plan is updated every 10 years, and they still asking for input for the 2025 version. He said it has been updated sufficiently for us to use it. He asked us to each take a data layer or two and research them to see if they seem important for inclusion into our own strategic plan, and if they need updating. Debbie chose Riparian and Shoreland Buffers, Yvonne chose Wetlands, Don chose Drinking Water Protection Areas and High Quality Stream Watersheds, Joanna chose Aquifers and NHWAP Habitat Condition, Henry chose Climate Change Resilience, and Bonnie chose Forest Blocks and Steep Slopes.

Review of NH Public Golf Course possible development – The golf course is for sale. It is 868 acres of land, with an asking price of $9.2M. Henry said that an issue has been raised by Lee Booker, who pointed out that the town’s future land use map has ¾ of this property designated for development, in spite of the fact that this land is situated over a major aquifer. Lee also said that the aquifer overlay needs to be updated, according to the town’s Master Plan. Henry said that one of the primary goals for the SCC is the protection of our water resources. He said the most significant water resource in the town is on the property owned by NH Fish & Game, just north of the golf course. He said, however, that the wetlands on the golf course property form part of that water resource. Joanna asked if another golf course might buy the land, but Debbie said she heard that the land’s value as a golf course is only in the neighborhood of $2M. Henry said that whoever chooses the aquifers and floodplains data layers will need to go into greater depth on this and can advise the Planning Board on their Planned Unit Development (PUD) program.


  • Email from Julia Jones announcing that Kristi Kisler is our new Town Website Administrator.
  • Invitation from NHACC to attend the Merrimack & Hillsborough County Conservation District Workgroup on April 16 5:30 PM via Zoom.
  • Email from Bradford Conservation Commission looking for information about Turtle Crossing signs.
  • Email from UNH Extension announcing that applications are being accepted until May 1st for Taking Action for Wildlife Community Assistance projects.
  • Invoice from NHACC for $250 in yearly dues. Debbie will ask Lorri to pay it.
  • 2023 Impact Report from NHLakes, summarizing the year’s accomplishments.
  • Order form from Merrimack County Conservation District for spring fundraising sale.
  • Forest Notes, magazine of the NH Forest Society, Winter 2024 issue. 

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 8th, 2024, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary