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Joyce Endee

Pathways planned for Wolfeboro will be best in state

THE MAP of the proposed pathways, prepared by Donna Di Casparro of Excelsior Graphics, is featured on the fundraising brochure for Pathways of Wolfeboro. (Courtesy image) (click for larger version)
April 22, 2010
WOLFEBORO — The Pathways Committee met with the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen on April 7 to give an update on its efforts to establish a system of walking, hiking and bike paths in Wolfeboro, which the committee is aiming to be the best in the state.

The Pathways Committee was formed as a result of the 2007 Master Plan with its objective of improving pedestrian movement in Wolfeboro. The committee first reported to selectmen on March 19, 2008.

Pathways Committee Co-Chairs Jim Eisenhower and George Vanderheiden and member (and Planning Board Chair) Kathy Barnard gave the update.

Eisenhower started out by explaining that committee members had formed a separate "Friends"-type organization called Pathways of Wolfeboro, which, unlike the town-appointed committee, could seek and accept funds from foundations, other organizations and individuals.

Barnard reported on her work with Barbara Laverick on the Safe Routes to School project. With the help of Public Works Director Dave Ford they had been able to get a grant for $150,000 to provide a safe sidewalk route from Carpenter School to Foss Field and for a sidewalk extension on McManus Road at the Kingswood Complex out to South Main Street. Barnard said that more public education and outreach is needed to encourage walking or riding bikes to school to encourage children to get more exercise. She said that they were also working with Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation on the upcoming Bike and Walk Day at the Railroad Station on May 14.

Vanderheiden reported on Pathways of Wolfeboro, which is using Wentworth Economic Development Corp. (WEDCO) as its fiscal agent to help raise $375,000 to upgrade the paths in Sewall Woods and other improvements. After two years of planning and discussion the group was able to produce a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) on how the Sewall Woods paths will be upgraded and used. Before proceeding they will need to raise all funds needed to do the work on the trails plus a maintenance fund, They will also need to establish a network of volunteers to maintain the trails on a routine basis.

Vanderheiden said that they and the LRCT look on this as a gateway project that can serve as a model for future land use projects.

The first trails will be made wide enough (eight to 12 feet, wider than the Rails to Trails path) to accommodate non-motorized bike travel as well as hiking. This will require major upgrading of the existing trail surfaces.

Eisenhower said that fundraising has already begun and gave each selectman an envelope with a new brochure that includes a map of the proposed four miles of trails and routes connecting Sewall Woods to the town's Abenaki Ski Area (see illustration) plus a pledge form. He urged selectmen to consider making a pledge for the project, which he is convinced "will make Wolfeboro the premiere center for biking and walking in New Hampshire."

Beyond the Sewall Woods trails the system would include Share the Road signs that tie together Brewster, Carry and Albee Beaches.

With the assistance of Town Planner Rob Houseman, Pathways of Wolfeboro solicited bids on the trail upgrading work and have awarded the contract to Timber & Stone LLC of Greenfield. The firm will start work at the end of August or beginning of September.

In addition to fundraising the committee plans to put together a Web site on the pathways that is linked to town's Web site, and publish periodic progress reports in the Granite State News.

Anyone seeking additional information on the Pathways or wishing to make a contribution should contact Eisenhower at 569-9560 or Vanderheiden at 569-8456.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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