Hancock Select Board approves applying for trail grant

By CAMERON CASHMAN

MONADNOCK LEDGER-TRANSCRIPT

Published: 05-09-2024 9:00 AM

The Hancock Select Board took a preliminary step toward funding the cleanup and maintenance of the Old Railroad Trail running from South Elmwood Road to Cavender Road in Hancock through a grant from the Recreational Trail Program offered by New Hampshire Parks and Recreation Bureau.

Trail builder Mike Lambert came before the select board on Monday to get their approval to move forward with the application process, and noted that the town’s Conservation Commission had already given theirs. The grant application is due on June 14, and Lambert said they would have to move fast to make the deadline.

“We did this last year with Peterborough, and we got the minimum grant, which is basically what we wanted – a little over $8,000,” Lambert said.  The money was used to fund the maintenance of the Peterborough side of the Old Railroad Trail.

The Hancock side of the trail, Lambert said, is in need of some work. Much of the trail is a single track, and runs through a significantly wet area for about 100 feet. Additionally, there are large white pine roots cutting across certain sections of the trail, which pose a potential safety hazard. Lambert explained that he could work with a team of volunteers to alleviate these and other hazards to make the trail safer to use.

“It’s not a big job, but it’s something I think would improve the trail quite a bit,” Lambert said.

Lambert, who founded a hiking group called the Monadnock Wanderers, explained he was volunteering his own time to advocate for the repair of trails he frequents using funds from the grant.

The Select Board was amenable to the idea, but members were unsure about who the land belonged to, and didn’t want to authorize any work without confirming first.

Hancock Conservation Commission member JP Bernier suggested that the Select Board give their preliminary approval to move forward with the application process, but that they could rescind their application or decline the funds if the property owners objected.

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The Select Board agreed, and signed off on the application. Going forward, Hancock Town Administrator Jonathan Coyne will work with Lambert to fill out the application and identify the land-owners along the trail.