Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  May 12, 2021

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

Absent: Jim Morris.

Members of the public present: Steve Russell of Newbury CC; Nick Perez, Sutton resident.


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. Debbie volunteered to be the contact person for people having difficulty connecting, and she gave her phone number. Henry called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm. Henry moved that we meet in Town Hall for the June meeting, and the members all agreed.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: The minutes from the 4/14/2021 meeting were approved unanimously.

Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report before the meeting. In April nothing was charged against the SCC Admin budget. YTD total spending is still $425 out of a total budget of $7537. At the end of April, the Conservation Fund had a balance of $148,155.37 and the King Hill Fund had $1,707.90.  The Capital Reserve balance is $50,570.65.


  • Email from Elly Philips requesting a copy of our Strategic Plan for the Planning Board.
  • Copy of a letter from Nancy Martin of the Warner CC to Gabe Roxby of SPNHF providing feedback on his 2/17/2021 Zoom presentation on timber harvesting at Black Mountain. The main point was to ask the SPNHF to keep communication lines open regarding future logging intentions in Warner.
  • NHACC May 2021 eNews newsletter with info about updating conservation land in GRANIT, water supply protection grant opportunities, and online educational presentations on climate change, birds, easement monitoring, and more.
  • Email exchange with Elly Philips regarding the Town’s proposed OHRV ordinance. See below.
  • Letters from ASLPT with copies of easement monitoring reports from KHR, Maple Leaf, Bean Quarry, Webb/Crowell, Enroth/Lefferts, O’Neil, Putnam, Enroth, Emerson and Russell Pond. The letter about Enroth/Lefferts contained a note from Anne Payeur that pointed out language from the easement deed regarding construction of a parking lot. Henry said this would be expensive because of a large boulder in the way, so is not going to happen soon.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Teloian, Baker Hill Rd, 19.5 out of 19.5 acres, T/Ls# 08-874-095 and 08-882-178. Charles Moreno, forester. Henry said he reviewed this in great detail, and the real issue is on the Newbury side, so he invited Steve Russell of the Newbury Conservation Commission to speak to us about it. Steve said the 20 acres in Sutton provides access to 3 parcels in Newbury totaling 212 acres, and the owner wants to cut over 600,000 board feet. The Newbury land surrounds the Stony Brook Audubon reserve. It has steep slopes, erodible soils, a pond, and wetlands. The Sutton side has Ring Brook, a permanent stream. The land has not been touched in 40 years. The Newbury BOS did OK the cuts. Steve said the Audubon has an extensive piece of conserved land; there is an unbroken strip of conserved land from Chalk Pond Rd to the Fells. The Teloian land would be a great addition to the sanctuary, and Steve said the owner is not opposed to a conservation action. If the two Conservation Commissions expressed their concerns about the sensitivity of the land, this might help mitigate the cutting. Henry said he would call Mr. Teloian tomorrow to express our interest in conserving the land, and the possibility of helping financially with an easement, pointing out the wildlife refuge and the abutting conservation land. He will encourage sensitivity in the logging operation. Steve suggested asking for mitigation in exchange for an agreement to conserve. Barb and Henry spoke of what the proportion of Sutton’s contribution should be, given that only 20 acres are in Sutton. Steve said he has spoken with Andy Deegan of ASLPT and Brian Hotz of SPNHF regarding help with funding. Henry asked about NH Audubon.  He said that since this land is in the Quabbin to Cardigan’s corridor, there may be grants available, since the purpose of the Q2C Initiative is to help with land conservation in that corridor. Steve said he is aware of those. Wally said 10% is all that Sutton would be able to offer, or the townspeople would object. Bonnie asked if all of the easement costs would apply for each town’s portion, or would there be any kind of savings possible with the two parcels abutting. Don suggested asking Elly about the Bower easement, which spans Sutton and Warner. Chuck said our Strategic Plan shows this as a low-priority area. On the other hand, it is one of the only places he has seen moose. He pointed out that we need to examine the property in terms of our list of criteria. Henry said some areas in the plan appear low because of a lack of information; the plan needs to be a living document. Henry moved that he would call Mr. Teloian tomorrow and encourage logging with sensitivity, in view of the proximity to the wildlife refuge, and that we will offer whatever help we can to convert this land to a conservation easement. No financial commitment is being voted on. Chuck seconded, and the roll call vote was unanimously in favor.
  • Chan, North Rd/Beaver Pond Rd, 150 out of 255.8 acres, T/L# 03-022-098. Eric Oxman, forester. There are extensive wetlands on the property. Henry asked Wally to give the property owner a call, and maybe talk to Eric. Chuck said he would walk the property.
  • Hibbert, North Rd, 125 out of 262.7 acres, T/L# 03-470-314. Eric Oxman, forester. Wetlands on property. Wally said this logging has already started. He will contact this property owner also.



Old business

Discuss requirements for logging at KHR – Henry asked Lynn what she had learned from the timber walk with Tim Fleury yesterday at KHR. Lynn said it looks like we need to spend some money to get Leo Maslan to write a forest management plan. Wally asked about the cost, and Chuck said he would talk to Leo and find out. Chuck said Tim also strongly suggested that we have KHR (or part of it) designated as a Town Forest, as this would give us the ability to put money gained from logging into a bank account that could be used to cover the expenses of maintaining the property. Chuck said our properties cost a lot to maintain, and our administrative budget doesn’t cover large projects. The designation would be done through a warrant article at Town Meeting. Debbie asked who would be responsible for maintaining the town forest, and Chuck explained that it is different from a Tree Farm and is simply a designation. Lynn said Tim also suggested a different access route for logging that was shorter and would have less impact on the trails. Lynn asked what effects the logging will have on the animals at KHR, and Chuck said there will be disturbance to them, as was pointed out in the talk with Gabe Roxby from SPNHF. Lynn said Tim talked about the ash trees dying from emerald ash borer, and said it makes sense to take the ash trees out while they are alive and still have market value. Chuck added that Tim said the dead ash trees create a danger in the woods, as they break and drop limbs on people. Henry said Tim gave us a lot of time and is very accessible. He is a wonderful resource to be able to call upon.

New Business

Discuss Town of Sutton’s proposed OHRV ordinance Bonnie said Elly responded to the SCC’s letter by sending a copy of the proposed ordinance, and asking the SCC to comment on it. She moved the date of the public hearing to May 24rd to give us time to respond. Wally said he thought it was a fairness issue; that people had no other way to access their property, and as for maintaining the Class VI roads that might be damaged, the people using the road could split up that responsibility. Bonnie said that there are a lot of parcels on Class VI roads in town, and the number of people riding on Class VI roads could be large, especially if the property owners had parties. Enforcement would be too difficult. Don said there was potential for a lot of damage, from people coming down the roads from both ends. Bonnie thought that the rules should be left as they were before, with property owners asking the BOS for permission to access their land with OHRVs. Chuck agreed and said why should we grant permission to a whole group of people when we have a mechanism in place to grant it to one? He said no one is being denied access to their property. Don pointed out what has happened to the Mink Hills in Warner, after their BOS allowed ATVs. He said they do not stay on the roads that are allowed to be on, and just go everywhere. Wally said he could support the idea of special permission, and that he would bring it up at Monday’s BOS meeting. Bonnie asked if he could get the ordinance pulled before it goes to a public hearing.


Wadleigh State Park Cleanup – Henry received an email from a woman complaining about the park being in disrepair, with a picnic table in the water, trash all over, etc. She thought the SCC should take care of this, and said to let her know about opportunities for community involvement in the cleanup. Henry said we have our hands full already. The problem is the State Park is short on money and staff. Don introduced us to his grandson Shawn Davis, who is the new manager of Wadleigh State Park, who said there are opportunities for people to volunteer at the park. He has already started work on the cleanup. Henry suggested that this woman organize a “Friends of Wadleigh State Park” group, and Don said there is already such a group. It is part of the NSIS, but it kind of comes and goes. Henry will forward the lady’s email to Shawn so he can respond to her. He will also forward it to Lynn, who has also been contacted about the park problems. Lynn and Shawn will confer.


Prioritizing Sutton’s conservation lands for public access Henry said we may want to leave some of our properties “au naturel”, for the sake of conservation, while encouraging the public to enjoy other ones, with walking trails and activities. Logging would also be a possibility. He suggested we zero in on the properties that we would like to be made publicly available. Bonnie suggested we come up with some criteria for how we choose which properties to leave natural, and these could include things like the size of the parcel, its habitat ranking, the amount of trail development already present, and the presence of endangered or threatened species (obtained from the NH Heritage Bureau). She pointed out that some of our most biologically important areas are on private property, so we would not have any say in whether the owners chose to develop trails on them or not. Debbie said that Andy Deegan told her a CC can develop trails on private conserved property if they ask permission of the owner. Bonnie said she was talking about the opposite case, where it is the owner that wants to develop trails. Barb said we need to start by looking at what the conservation easement deeds allow. Chuck said we can’t prohibit the public from accessing the land. Bonnie agreed but said we don’t have to provide trails for them. Barb said, if recreation is allowed by the easement, then we can talk about the types of recreation. Wally asked Bonnie to put together a document listing all the Sutton conservation properties, along with what the easement deeds allow in terms of recreation and parking lots. Don pointed out that this list has more than 21 properties, so maybe we could discuss 5 at a time instead of all in one meeting. Chuck said he doesn’t see us making a lot of new trails, as it is difficult to keep up with the maintenance of the ones we already have. He suggested we promote the trails that already exist. Bonnie pointed out that Henry’s trail work list does include the creation of a new trail at Webb/Crowell, and this is land that is highly ranked for habitat. Henry said this can be put on hold until after we have our criteria figured out. Barb volunteered to help Bonnie with the documentation of the properties. Chuck asked to be in the loop with that work, as he is working on the GRANIT updates of conservation land in Sutton.

Due to the lateness of the hour, the remaining items under “New Business” were postponed until next month.


Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

Spring Trails Clean-up Volunteer Day – This is on Saturday, May 15th from 9:00 to 12:00. Henry has not received much of a response from his email to volunteers. If we have to cancel due to rain he will put out more publicity. The main meeting place will be at the Hominy Pot entrance of KHR, and people should bring loppers, though Henry will be providing tools. He will drop off painting supplies at Debbie’s for the folks that will be painting the boardwalk at Webb/Crowell.

GIS map of KHR – Chuck is still waiting for the final version from the KRHS student. He himself has put in a lot of hours on GIS mapping of our lands, and he is going to talk about it tomorrow with Craig Tufts of the Central NH Regional Planning Commission. He might have something to show by Saturday.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned around 8:35 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, June 9th, 2021, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary