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Important differences between Rails-With-Trails & Rails-To-Trails

To The Daily Sun,

Mr. Charles North of Franklin penned a thought-provoking letter about fences, trails, and economic impact that could happen due to a trail that he badly wants to see done. I thank him for sharing his thoughts. I would like to submit that there is a huge difference between Rails-With-Trails, and Rails-To-Trails. I am a paying member of Rails–To-Trails, a National organization. WOW is a Rails-With-Trails project. Yes, there is a state requirement (law) to have a fence between the trail and an active rail. To discontinue that requirement would put any liability directly on the RR company, and it's employees. The RR company in our area is not willing to accept the liability, and that thinking is backed up at state level by maintaining the requirement (Again...law).

Mr. North, I use Phase I of the WOW trail at least 2X per week and love it. It is the nicest Laconia City Park we have, in my opinion. However, there has been no economic development along Phase I. I cannot see how there could be any along Phase II either. I have biked the River Trail you speak of, and there is no economic development there, nor do I see how that could even happen in the area it transverses. Ms. Gandini's opinion on economic impact may or may not be valid. Most recreational areas I have used throughout the USA and Europe are best used for . . .  recreation. Go Figure!

Your passion is constructive, and is obviously, by this letter, generating some feedback and continuing dialogue. I would hope for continued dialogue, I would hope to see a trail system that connects Meredith to Durham, and would love to see it while I am still young enough to take advantage of it. Let's argue facts though, and not just passions, dreams, and/or promises. ANY trail must respect personal property rights, and not be forced upon anyone who may be negatively impacted. Options and alternatives are available. Where disagreement may exist, both sides just need to be willing to cooperate and work together to find them. Let's not allow this issue to become "Congressional". Nothing would get done in that case, agreed?

John Walker

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