Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

Sutton Conservation Commission (SCC)

DRAFT Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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

Absent: Chuck Bolduc; Jim Morris; Yvonne Howard, Wally Baker.

Call to order: Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:32 pm.

Previous Meeting’s Minutes: The minutes from the last meeting on April 10th were unanimously approved.

Financial Report:

We did not receive the town budget report yet. Here are the TD Bank account balances as of the end of April:

  • Conservation Fund: $225,943.73 (sum of all sub-accounts)
    • Conservation Fund Unrestricted: $210,793.00
    • Sievert King Hill Gift: $15,047.42
    • Donation Holding Account: $103.31
  • 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 – no report.

Update on status of Sievert donation – The account is open and drawing interest.

KHR snowmobile trail usage – no report.

Putnam Trail update – Henry said Gerry Putnam cut down the trees blocking the new trail route, and the Kezar Lake Running Club will do the rest of the trail-clearing for the new route.

New Facebook group for trail volunteers – Henry has created a Facebook group and has sent out invitations to everyone on the current trail maintenance volunteers list, which contains about 40 people. He has been very careful about privacy, using blind carbon copy on the email list, and using an invitation system for the groups. He picked out some key trails in KHR and Webb/Crowell and set up a Friends of the Trail link for each one. When a volunteer clicks on a link, they will go to a Facebook page about that trail, and they will receive an invitation from Henry to join the group. Then they can get together with others to work on a trail at their own convenience. Henry will continue to use the email list for volunteers, since not everyone is on Facebook. He would like to have some Volunteer Days, with each day having a particular focus. One area of focus would be the bridge on the Putnam Trail, which is in good shape but needs to have easier access. Another would be the extension and improvement of the red trail at Webb/Crowell, which will be able to be made longer if the Stockwell donation goes through.

KHR Penacook Path culvert rebuild/replacement – Henry said the whole culvert needs to be replaced. We can try to get a grant for it, or we can do the work ourselves and not get too fancy. Even without an engineering design, the work could cost up to $10,000 using local contractors. We could use a large corrugated culvert or half-culvert, with big boulders on the upside of it so it can’t get eroded away. Or we could use concrete wings like the one on Corporation Hill Rd. It needs to be big enough to withstand a 100-year storm. Don wondered if it would be possible to re-use a culvert that is being replaced by a larger one, somewhere else in town. He also asked if the rain had totally overtopped the culvert (yes) and if the trail there needed to be as wide as it is now. Henry said yes, because we need to be able to have vehicles drive through there to perform maintenance. He asked where we should take the money from, and if this would be an appropriate use of the conservation fund. Bonnie asked about using the Sievert Gift.

Chainsaw authorization for volunteers – Henry said we are working on town property as representatives of the town, and we can’t have just anyone going on to town land and using chainsaws. He asked other ConCom chairs about this and got varied responses. New London uses the NHTOA’s one day training course to certify people. This is a brush-up on safety, for experienced users. SPNHF offers a half-day workshop that is pretty informal, with no certificate. Joanna said Renaissance Tree Care in Weare offers chainsaw workshops, and Don said the county forester probably does. Henry said we need something official. He said Vermont’s Department of Forests has a chainsaw certification, but NH doesn’t. UNHExt has a 2-day workshop, but it is for women only. Henry looked up the national standard, which is hugely bureaucratic and requires a week of training. He wondered if he could call the county forester and set up a workshop, then run that by the BOS. He will look into it further. He said Primex also offers training courses.

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues

  • Greatwoods LLC, Eaton Grange Road, T/L#s 1-338-510 and 3-406-095, 30 acres out of 238.1, Nicholas Brunet, logger. From the dates, it looks like this is probably already in progress. Henry will contact the BOS about getting us more timely notifications. 

Wetlands Review



New Business

Report from ASLPT semi-annual ConCom chairs meeting April 25 Debbie said there was a good turnout, and they had a productive discussion.

Installation of Turtle Crossing Signs – Joanna has set up signs in Sutton Mills and various places along Rt 114 where there are wetlands. She’ll add one on Gile Pond Rd, and Lynn will put one on Penacook Rd where she rescued a turtle the other day.

Settlers Oven – Don talked about sharing knowledge of this with the SCC, Sutton Historical Society, and the Town Administrator.

Old Business

SCC terms ending March 2024 – Debbie, Don and Jim have all requested to renew their terms. Bonnie will contact the Town Admin to find out if the BOS has re-appointed them and when they can be sworn in.

Update on Stockwell property donation – Henry said the Stockwells are waiting for their surveyor.

Dog waste at KHR’s Hominy Pot Trail and Penacook Path – Don has not had a chance to find out if his grandson is still interested in getting involved in this. Henry said maybe we should just go ahead and purchase the bags and dispensers and put them up ourselves, at the trailheads for the Hominy Pot trail and Penacook Path. We are also considering signage stating that dogs must be leashed on the more popular, narrow trails such as Hominy Pot and the Lyon Brook trail.

5 year review of SCC Strategic Plan – Henry would like to have one or two commission members speak at each of our meetings about the topics (data layers) that they have researched, and present to us the issues and ramifications of that topic. He and Debbie will speak today, and Joanna and Bonnie will speak next month. Henry spoke about climate change and resiliency. He re-read the booklet by D’Amato and Catanzaro about resiliency, which talks about what kinds of trees will do well in response to a warming climate, and which won’t. The range for sugar maples, for example, will move north to Canada. Areas that are resilient will be buffered from the effects of climate change because they contain a wide variety of micro-climates. “Flow” shows where the flora and fauna will go as it warms. This is generally up-slope and northwards. Some areas of Sutton have the capacity for flow. Henry showed us a flow map of the eastern US which showed that NH has good areas for flow. The map for Sutton shows a flow area from northwest to southeast, which corresponds to where the largest forested blocks are. Henry viewed a climate resilience map from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and zeroed in to Sutton. It showed lots of green in the area around Kezar Lake. New London, by contrast, showed a lot of brown because of all the development. This map showed the same pattern for Sutton, which is a diagonal swath from NW to SE. A carbon storage map from TNC, zeroed in to Sutton, shows this same pattern. Debbie asked if this data layer from 5 years ago is still current, and Henry said yes.

Debbie spoke about shoreland and riparian buffers. She asked the question of whether the current sizes of the buffers are appropriate, or do they need to be updated? NH requires 100 meters for a shoreland buffer, which is larger than many states. Some songbirds require 600 feet for a riparian buffer.  She said a study has shown that the length of a buffer along a river is actually more important than its width. Since our buffers are already better than most, we could leave the data layer as it is from five years ago, unless we want to widen it to give better protection to certain species.

Debbie offered another approach for creating the co-occurrance maps, which is to do the map without the subjective input, and maybe we could do it both ways.

Review of NH Public Golf Course possible development – There was a brief discussion about the property that is on the market.

Pollinator Garden at Horse Beach – Ernie Brake is going to purchase flowers for this and the cost will be shared between the KLPA, the Running Club and the SCC. The members voted unanimously to approve a motion to expend up to $70.00 for flowering plants.



  • Email from the chair of the Dalton Conservation Commission regarding the GSL landfill.
  • Email from NHACC thanking us for the membership renewal of $250.00.
  • Email from Lorri Himes asking us to contact Kai Castillo, a local 5th grade student, to discuss how the commission has helped to conserve King Hill Reservation. Henry is going to handle this. 

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, June 12th, 2024, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary