Oak tree project approved for Gilford’s Kimball Wildlife Forest


GILFORD — Squirrels and deer love them. Wild turkey, ruffled grouse and wood ducks crave them and even the pesky blue jay will try to steal an red oak acorn or two from an unwitting adversary.

Because of their high carbohydrate content and their rough shells that can take an entire winter to desiccate, the town of Gilford has given the go ahead to the Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee for a team of UNH Foresters to conduct a limited project designed to promote the growth of the red oak within the wildlife preserve.

Technically, crop tree release is a scientific way of increasing individual tree growth and seed production. In reality, a team of foresters will select 60 of the healthiest red oak trees that are in the interior of the forest and eliminate the competitors around it.

This, said UNH Forest Researcher Ethan Belair, will allow the 60 selected trees to grow a better crown, produce better quality timber, and allow for a "seed orchard" around its base to provide nourishment for the critters that live there. He said the red oak is the best producer of acorns of all of the oak trees.

Each tree will be evaluated and documented as part of the initial selection process and will be re-evaluated in five years prior to a possible harvest.

The board's role in the management of the Kimball Wildlife Forest is one of fiduciary responsibility as the board is the only authority that can expend money from the trust fund managed by the forest trustees.

The project will cost the Kimbal Wildlife Forest Trust Fund $6,250 leaving a balance of $230,505.

Sandra McGonagle is the chair of the fund and she spoke in favor of the project saying that Charlotte Kimball was the last Kimball to live on the properly and her primary concern before her death was for the forest being used as a wildlife sanctuary.

Hawkins Brook Nature Trail plan shown to Meredith committee


MEREDITH — The Village Pathways Committee this week unveiled the designed the design of the Hawkins Brook Nature Trail, almost six-tenths of a mile passing through wetland and woodland to link Meredith Bay and Prescott Park.

Josh Ryan of Timber & Stone, LLC of East Montpelier, Vermont, who has designed dozens of trails in a half a dozen states, took residents on a virtual tour of trail, emphasizing that it is designed to be accessible to all, including those requiring wheelchairs.

Ryan said that 1,665 feet of the trail would be surfaced with stone dust while the remaining 1,450 feet would consist of a boardwalk fashioned from the wood of the black locust. Where the boardwalk is 30 inches or more above the ground it would be railed with white oak and elsewhere it would be be curbed. The trail would be studded with five observation decks and one bridge along its length.

Angela LaBrecque, the town planner, said that since the project was originally conceived five years ago the committee has been working closely with the schools, which have incorporated the ecology of the Hawkins Brook watershed in the science curriculum. She said that the observation decks are designed to serve as outdoor classrooms and placed to offer access to both wetland and upland environments.

"The trail will be an incredible resource for the schools," she said.

LaBrecque said the committee is in the process of seeking wetland permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. She said the cost of constructing the trail is estimated to fall between $417,000 and $448,000 depending on the materials used and the project will be financed by donations and grants. She said that because the trail is accessible to so many different constituencies serves so many constituencies, the project will be eligible for an array of grants.

In 2018 Meredith will celebrate its 250th anniversary and LaBrecque is hopeful that the ribbon on the Hawkins Brook Nature Trail will be cut in time for the festivities.

Hawkins Brook Trail Alignment 2015

The proposed route of the Hawkins Brook Trail. (Courtesy graphic/Google maps)

More file for Belknap seats at State House


CONCORD — The field of candidates for the 18 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives elected in Belknap County has grown with filings posted by the New Hampshire Secretary of State Tuesday.

The 18 seats are spread among nine districts.

In District 2, which returns four representatives from the towns of Gilford and Meredith, Democrat Nancy Frost of Gilford has joined Lisa DiMartino, Dorothy Piquado and Johan Anderson to ensure the party a full slate of candidates.

In District 4, where two members are elected in the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton, Republicans Tim Lang and Robert White, both from Sanbornton, entered the race alongside three other Republican candidates from Sanbornton — Dennis Fields, John Vorel and Richard Brothers — expanding the GOP field to five.

In District 5, the towns of Gilmanton and Alton which elects two members, Democrat Hammond Brown of Gilmanton and Elizabeth Abbot of Gilmanton as well as incumbent Republicans Peter Varney and Gerald Theodora, both of Alton, have joined Michael Mahoney of Gilmanton to swell the field.

In District 6, the town of Belmont with two seats, incumbent Republican Mike Sylvia and Democrat George Condodemetraky filed providing each party with two candidates.

In District 7, the town of Barnstead which elects one representative, Democrat Bruce Marriott entered the race to fill the empty slot on the ballot.

With these filings the Republican Party has fielded a full to overflowing slate of candidates for all 18 seats in the county while the Democrats have left one slot in District 5 and another in District 8, the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton, where Republican Ray Howard remains the only candidate to file.