Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

Sutton Conservation Commission (SCC)

DRAFT Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Present: Henry Howell, Chair; Don Davis; Chuck Bolduc; Barbara Hoffman; Debbie Lang; Jim Morris; Lynn Wittman; Wally Baker; and Bonnie Hill.

Others present: Jennifer McCourt.

Call to order: Chairman Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:33 pm.

Previous Meeting’s Minutes:  The minutes from the last meeting on April 12th were unanimously approved.

Financial Report:

Debbie sent out a financial report before the meeting. In April we spent $270 on plowing, for a total of $720 YTD. There is $6,880 left in the admin budget. The Conservation Fund had a balance of $196,127.60 at the end of April. The King Hill Fund had a balance of $1,589.61. The new TD Bank Donation Fund has $100.11. The Capital Reserve is at $69,088.00.

Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

KHR donation system – Jim reported that he worked with town treasurer Jen Call to set up and validate a new account at TD Bank with a balance of $100 transferred from the Conservation Fund. This is necessary to cover potential refunds of donations. Jim passed around an example of a report from the donation system.

New KHR trail map – Chuck will post the new map at the Maple Leaf kiosk. He has a packet of trail junction maps for Henry. He will send Bonnie pdf’s of the latest KHR map, to be posted on the town website. One will be large, and one will be small enough for people to print out.

Trail maintenance – Bonnie walked the trails at Enroth/Lefferts and Webb/Crowell and did some trail cleanup. They are both in good shape. She cut some of the Oriental Bittersweet at the Enroth parking area, but there is lots more. She walked some of the trails at KHR and reported that the Lyon Brook trail and Gene’s Walk are in good shape. The Putnam trail is not accessible from the Lyon Brook trail, as the bridge there, which was incorporated into a large beaver dam, is now half washed away and the dam is breached. The brook is rushing through and there is no sign of repair efforts by the beavers, though they have felled a couple of large trees across the brook farther downstream. There are large wet areas at intersections B and C of the Hominy Pot trail. There are a couple of trees across the Nichols Trail, but it is possible to squeeze past them. Henry is hoping to have a trail work day in July. He listed some tasks that need doing: finish cutting the Felch trail and the trail at Maple Leaf, hand cut the saplings growing into King’s Run and the other habitat trails, brush hog a path through the high grass at KHR. Chuck said he has been clearing the Felch Trail and has gotten quite a ways up. We need to wait for black fly season to end.


Wetlands Review

Appointment 7:00: Ruth Edwards regarding a wetlands permit by notification on Blaisdell Lake

Ruth said her clients, the owners of T/L# 02-484-145 on Camp Kemah Rd, want to replace an old dock and put in a wheelchair-accessible path down to it. There is a steep slope and erosion on the site. She has not yet applied for the permit and was here to discuss the feasibility of what her clients were looking to do. The lake will be drawn down this year, giving her the opportunity to do this work. The dock would be a seasonal dock, 6 by 24 feet. The slope is 15 feet within a 30 foot run, so a path would need to be switchbacked. The surface would be grass. She wants to improve the erosion situation drastically by using retaining walls, rebuilding a stone wall, grading and planting grass to stabilize the slope. In addition, there is a large dead tree that needs to be removed. Henry and Chuck asked about cutting and filling. Jenn McCourt asked about erosion controls at the lake, and suggested using hay bales wrapped in geo fabric. She also suggested getting an engineering drawing. Ruth said she could drop the scope of the project down for phase one, getting a permit just for the dock replacement, retaining wall, and tree removal. The ramp would be done as phase two, with an amended permit and an engineering drawing. Henry asked for a vote on whether we approve phase one of the project, and the vote was unanimously in favor. He said he would sign off on the permit application after seeing Ruth’s revised plan, and then Ruth would work with the town. This would be a PBN expedited permit with a 10 day turnaround.


Appointment 7:30: Joe and Joy Kubit regarding the Kearsarge Climate Action Program

Kearsarge Climate Action is a registered NH non-profit, which has been doing weatherization projects since 2018 and collaborates with Colby Sawyer College. Joe and Joy spoke specifically about Window Dressers, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers to build custom-fitted insulating window inserts to help people save on heating costs and reduce carbon emissions through the reduction of fossil fuel usage. People can order the inserts at Volunteers will visit homes and take measurements of the windows with lasers, and then in November there will be a Community Build where volunteers assemble the inserts. This will take place at the St Andrews Church in New London and will cover nine towns. All customers are asked to volunteer for the build. The inserts can be free for people with financial need. The Kubits brought examples of window inserts for us to look at, showed a video, and signed up volunteers. They are collaborating with KNP (Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners) and are reaching out to town welfare officers and post offices, for publicity. Volunteers can be any age, and there will be training provided for window measurers and supervisors. Henry pointed out that energy is a major conservation issue, and that weatherization, though not as exciting as solar panels, can provide huge benefits.

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues

  • Steve Lord, Bum Carter Rd, T/L# 02-190-373, 25 acres out of 167, Tim Wallace, forester.
  • M and C McAlister, Pound Road, T/L# 05-729-028, 109 acres out of 109, Dan Peterson, logger. There are wetlands at the top of the hill on Pound Road.


New Business

Review revised forest management plan for KHR – Henry passed out a guide showing the varieties of trees in King Hill Reservation and whether they are predicted to decrease, increase or remain the same in response to climate change. He said this is something we can show Leo if we do decide to do some thinning or harvesting.

Ideas for plastic recycling/reduction – Barb and Debbie did some research on this and found it to be a fraught topic, with conflicting facts. Only #1 and #2 plastic has any commercial value for recycling, and opportunities for #1 are scarce. They have talked to Diego Solimine about the situation, and have also talked to Lois Kilnapp, the manager at the Bradford transfer station. She said Bradford actually has an ordinance requiring recycling, and a recycling committee. They only recycle #2 plastic. Warner also recycles plastic, and they handle #1 as well as #2. Bradford has the required equipment for this, which includes a baler and a way to store the plastic so that it doesn’t deteriorate. The two towns work together and pool their plastic until they have enough to be hauled away. The amount of money they get for it is minimal; only enough to cover the cost of the baling wire. Barb recommends that we ask the BOS to create a town recycling committee. The committee would do the research and work out the costs, and come up with a plan to take back to the BOS. She said the committee would need to get buy-in from the town if money was required to be spent. Debbie said that the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA), which municipalities can join, provides access to grants for buying the equipment needed for a recycling operation. Diego told her Sutton belongs to NRRA. On a related note, Joy Kubit said that there is a bin outside the Hannaford supermarket for depositing plastic bags and stretchy plastic film, which is collected and recycled into Trex. The SCC members agreed that Barb should ask the BOS to create a recycling committee.

Educational program for 2023 – Lynn said that if the SCC is interested in having one this year, she would suggest asking Jim Kilarny at Colby-Sawyer to do a presentation on plastics, as he is very passionate about the topic.

Old Business

Update on road salt reduction – Debbie reported that word was finally received from NHDOT. They will be holding a public hearing on this sometime during the summer.

Turtle Crossing signs – Bonnie said she was planning to put them up at the end of the month, since the breeding season is said to be late May through July. It is good to limit the signs’ public appearance so that people do not tune them out. However, Joanna Murphy called and said that she has seen turtles in the road already, and she asked for some signs to put up in Sutton Mills. Henry said we can order more signs if they are needed, but Bonnie thought we had enough.


  • NHACC April eNews, with info on pollinator-friendly solar, news of other concoms, grant opportunities, training programs, notice of NH Drinking Water Source Protection Conference.
  • Email from NHACC with survey for conservation commissions. SCC members should fill this out as individuals.
  • Email from NHACC with April 2023 legislative update.
  • Report from Amy Highstrom about the New Hampshire butterfly count citizen science project.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, June 14th, 2023, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall. Wally Baker will run the meeting, as Henry Howell will be absent.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary