Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Present: Wally Baker, Co-Chair; Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Barbara Hoffman; Debbie Lang; Amy Highstrom; Chuck Bolduc and Bonnie Hill. Members of the public present: Bob DeFelice


Call to order: Wally Baker called the meeting to order at 6:38 p.m. He made a motion to recommend that Amy Highstrom be appointed as a regular voting member to take Jane Williamson’s place on the board, as Jane has resigned. Henry asked that someone replace Jane as agenda-poster at the North Sutton Post Office.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: The minutes from April 10th’s meeting were approved, with one correction. Amy asked that the last sentence in the section about the butterfly talk be deleted, as it was greatly exaggerated.


Financial Report:

Debbie reported that about $500 was spent in April on dues, etc.  $17,520 in LUCT payments have been deposited in the Conservation Fund, with another $8,850 awaiting payment. Prior to the LUCT deposit, the Conservation Fund contained $122,424.75, and the KHR fund contained $2,740.12. .Lorri Himes was given the bill for the NHACC dues of $250 and will pay it this Friday. The board agreed to pay membership dues of $100 to ASLPT and $55 to SPNHF, which were the same amounts paid last year.



  • Request for yearly dues payment from NHACC.
  • Announcement from ASLPT about closing on the Webb/Crowell easement. This is a 94 acre parcel with exemplary wildlife habitat that protects water quality along the Lane River.
  • Notice about Solarize Kearsarge program, which is very active right now. After this year the subsidies will diminish.
  • Lakeside, Spring 2019 issue of NH Lakes’ quarterly publication. Articles concerning aquatic invasive species management. Amy asked about invasive species in Sutton and Bonnie said there is an issue with invasive water celery in Smiley Grove that was never addressed. Henry asked Bonnie to contact Amy Smagula of DES about it.
  • Letter to Wally Baker from Matthew Churchwell, an Eagle Scout looking for a project. Henry will contact him.

Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

  • Chuck did not get to visit the Janovitz site, but he did talk to their wetlands consultant. He was able to get a site plan with more detailed information. They are following an existing road to minimize tree removal and grading. They have taken fish habitat into account and are using large size culverts with natural bottoms. Chuck sees nothing to object to. Debbie said the Planning Board has already approved the project. Don asked how long the driveway is and Chuck said 450 feet.
  • Barb reported that the DES wetlands rules changes have passed the JLCAR review with no objections.


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Caron, T/L# 09-040-226, French Rd/Baker Rd for 25 acres out of 150.
  • Bobella, Map 08-574-166, Poor Farm Road, 25 acres out of 35.6, Eric Oxman, forester.

Don said there are tremendous wetlands on the Caron property, and there is a beaver dam that has to be crossed on the Bobella property. Henry said in the past Betsy Forsham would call up the property owners and mention the wetlands. He said he will call Mr. Caron. Chuck said that he knows Eric Oxman and expressed confidence that he would do the right thing.


Old business

Horse Beach parking issues: KLNA, KLPA and NSIS update – Wally talked to Nancy Brazier, Peter Stanley and Elly Phillips. Nancy said KLPA is not going to build a kiosk, as it is too much of a hassle. A building permit is required. If it were put on a trailer bed and could be moved elsewhere in the winter, no permit would be required. Wally asked who would be liable for damages, and if KLPA changes their minds, how would we feel about the kiosk. Wally said DOT is going to pave and re-grade the road from Kezar St down to the bridge. There is a large hollow tree in the right-of-way and a dead tree further back, and Wally thinks both of them should be taken down. He was told by someone that there could be wildlife and birds living in the dead tree, though. Barb said birds are already nesting. Henry said everyone should go and look at the trees and give their opinions at the next meeting. Chuck said the DOT might take the tree down in any case, if it is in the ROW. Wally said Steve Bagley agreed to fix the parking lot with a couple of loads of gravel. Wally said a conversation is needed with NSIS. If the road is graded, the perennials along the edge of the road will be lost. Bob DeFelice said NSIS is waiting for a date to meet with the person planning the road work. NSIS has a board meeting on May 23rd. The parking lot repair needs to be discussed with them, since they own it. Wally asked if the board was all right with the parking lot repair and there were no objections. He also wants to clean up the part of the conservation land along the road and take out the old railroad ties. He said some people are driving up on the land to park, and we need some kind of deterrent. Henry suggested a split rail fence or granite posts, and that we should schedule a work day for cleanup. By our next meeting we should know when DOT is doing the paving. There are also saplings on the lake side of the road which should be cut, but we need to consult the DOT first. Bob D. said it looks like the sand is gone from the beach, but it is just under water. It could actually be raked on to the shore, but we would need permission from the DOT.


New business

Subcommittee report on the ‘2018 Strategic Conservation Plan Update’ Don said we have an Atlantic White Cedar Swamp in Sutton, and it is the farthest one both north and west in its habitat range. He passed around some info from the DES about it. This is totally unique, and not really delineated in our Strategic Plan. Henry suggested that the preservation of this be made one of the goals of the Strategic Plan. Wally said that in his opinion, anything involving preserving water quality should be the first priority. This also helps wildlife since wildlife needs to come to water. Amy spoke up for wildlife corridors. She said there is an important one from Poor Farm Rd to the Stony Brook conservation area, and there is land there that may come up for sale. There is already a trail there. Wally said there is a large parcel of wetlands behind his property that is owned by someone in Massachusetts. Don said that just because something is hard to develop, don’t assume that people will not develop it. Henry asked if the subcommittee wants to meet again and the answer was yes.


Invitation to the SCC to present updated Strategic Plan to the Planning Board – As a member of the Planning Board, Debbie extended this invitation. Barb said that her subcommittee would like to come up with a plan first before speaking to the PB.


Poster for Amy’s Butterfly talk – Don showed the members some sample posters and took input.


Review of SCC goals for 2019 – Henry said that Bob Wright asked the SCC for a 5 year plan, so he put something together. He handed out some excerpts from the Sutton 2005 Master Plan speaking about trails, recreation and wildlife, and outlining some goals for each of these topics. For trails, the recommendations included publicizing and mapping official trails, surveying class VI roads and maintaining trails and signage. For recreation, the recommendations included acquiring access to Blaisdell Lake and the Newbury Reservoir, and establishing a recreation committee. For wildlife, the recommendations included educating the public about managing properties for wildlife habitat, and about the presence of endangered or threatened species in town and the benefits of preserving such species. Henry also created a list of SCC Priorities for 2019, which he handed out. This contained the following 9 items:

  1. Implement the Strategic Conservation Plan 2018 Update
  2. Promote conservation easements on private property
  3. Create and implement a plan for parking at the Kezar Lake public access area
  4. Maintenance and development of Sutton’s hiking trails
  5. Support local conservation projects by other groups such as “Kearsarge Climate Action” and “Weatherize Upper Valley”.
  6. Publicity and public education for conservation issues
  7. Promote solar electric power for town maintenance buildings
  8. Other priorities that will inevitably arise
  9. Carry out the SCC’s Mission & Responsibilities (see town website).


Chuck suggested adding something about mapping the trails and consolidating existing maps. Amy suggested creating an inventory of resources, including habitats, plants, invasive species, and biological resources such as unique and special things. This would help us to better manage the properties. Henry said this would fit in with the Citizen Science project, which is done with smart phones. Debbie mentioned the Coverts Project. Henry said the conservation commission handbook from the NHACC has inventorying as one of our duties. Wally suggested adding “beautify the area” to item #3. Don suggested adding “improve parking at KHR and other properties”. Going along with that theme, Chuck suggested adding the word “access” to item #4.


Review of topics SCC members are taking charge of, organizing or keeping an eye on – Henry handed out a list he made with each member’s name and what they have taken charge of. Some people made corrections or additions. Don said he would take over publicity in light of Jane’s resignation. Chuck said he is overseeing the KHR mowing and will look into grants for it. Wally said he would be the lead on Kezar Lake parking. Bonnie said she is representing the SCC on the Hazard Mitigation Plan committee.

Trail Maintenance and Development

Henry handed out a comprehensive document titled Trail Maintenance and Development, with sections for Overall Goals, Long Term Projects and Current Projects. His main orientation is to make sure everyone is on board with the trail plans. He held up the SRKG trail guide and said that he would like us to have something similar for Sutton’s trails, with descriptions of flora and fauna, historical background, etc. He showed us a “primitive” map of KHR that he has created based on Don’s original work. He used software but had to draw some stuff by hand and re-scan it, and he is hoping that Dan Sundquist and kids from the high school will help make it more professional looking. Chuck said he would look into some open source software and he would talk to Dan about it. Henry handed out a draft of a document that would be suitable for posting in the kiosk at KHR. It shows the names and mileages of all the trails and where the parking is, as well as a list of suggested hikes with detailed information about the mileage of each section and degree of difficulty. The walks are categorized as End-to-End Hikes, Fun Loop Walks, History Walks, and Nature Walks. Henry said the purpose is to help people focus on where they want to walk. He did not include the loop trail that would go across Mountainside property and plans to talk to the property owners about it. Henry feels that trails are a tool to educate people about conservation. He wants to know if we support his vision. Wally said the town of Bedford has a trail system that is very heavily integrated with social media. He said the downside is that the more publicity you have, the more people will come from outside town, bringing trash and other forms of negativity. Henry said we should just keep the trail info on our own website. Don said that in regards to building an accessible trail at Lyon Brook, we first need to figure out how much demand there is for it. Maybe talk to some people in the rehab field. Amy said not only disabled people would be interested in such a trail, but also working women who would like to go for a quick walk on their way home from work without having to change into hiking clothes. Debbie asked if there were any local towns that have done this that we could talk to. Don said there are strict guidelines for accessible trails. All kinds of information must be posted about width, slope, cross-slope, etc. He thinks we should post these figures on all of our trails. Amy suggested posting the time it takes to do each walk. Regarding ATVs and bikes, Barb said that each property’s deed should state what uses are allowed. Don said KHR’s deed said nothing. Snowmobiles ended up being allowed on part of it because the snowmobile users were the only ones who showed up at a meeting to discuss trail usage. Barb suggested that we start by applying Henry’s trail goals to KHR first and see how that goes before expanding to other properties. She said we may want to leave some of our land undeveloped. Amy said that KHR has been a recreational area since the 1930’s, so it is not pristine wilderness. She said keeping the trails mowed will allow us to create a nice mix of diverse habitats including fields and early succession forest.  Henry has applied to the Bio Blitz people for help in inventorying the natural resources of KHR. He said he would amend the goals to focus on KHR, for now. Wally made a motion to accept the goals and Debbie seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

Current projects – Henry said people from KRHS would be doing a site walk tomorrow at 1:20 at the Hominy Pot Rd entrance. Wally said we need to discuss the bridge issue. Amy said she walked there recently and it was wet, with rotting logs at the bottom of the gully. Don said it is not an area that usually gets water, but the sides of the gully are steep. Amy spoke against using cement footings for the bridge. Henry said it would be a 40-foot suspension bridge, 4 feet wide (ADA compliant). Wally suggested using granite to anchor it, since it would need something substantial. Don said that bridge designs can be found on the Dept. of Agriculture’s website. Amy said that a great project for the kids would be to design something with the smallest possible footprint, that could be dismantled without a trace. Barb wondered if the bridge would be so high that we would need to worry about people jumping off it. Don said that for an accessible bridge, the slats need to be really close together. Someone suggested that we wait for the bridge to be designed, then discuss it and vote.

SCC Properties

KHR: neighbors and winter parking – Don suggested that before next winter we invite representatives of the property owners of Mountainside to attend our meeting and talk about signage and winter parking, etc. He said if they drive snowmobiles from their property on to our trails, they have to expect that other people are going to follow their tracks. He suggested talking to the snowmobile club about building a bridge that would allow them to travel through and stay off the road. This would help solve the parking problem.

 Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, June 12th, 2019, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary