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HB-1569 could mean the end of the Belknap Range Trail Tenders

To The Daily Sun,

Every day, outdoor lovers visit the beautiful Belknap Mountains. As many residents of the Lakes Region know, the hiking trails in the Belknap Mountain State Forest are maintained by local volunteers known as the Belknap Range Trail Tenders ("BRATTS"), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

The New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development ("DRED") is fast-tracking House Bill 1569, in which it asks lawmakers for authorization "to charge such volunteer organizations a portion of the department's cost for liability insurance coverage."

In other words, the state is saying that volunteers will need to pay the state in order to volunteer on state property.

The BRATTS have no paid employees, receive no government grants, and receive only a few hundred dollars a year in donations from their volunteers to fund equipment purchases. The BRATTS have never been sued, nor can they afford to pay the state for liability insurance.

Volunteer groups should be protected from frivolous lawsuits. However, if HB1569 passes as proposed, it may mean the end of the BRATTS and the thousands of hours of volunteer work they have performed to keep our local trails passable.

Rep. David Russell of Gilmanton is one of the sponsors of this legislation. I urge you to contact your state legislators and ask them stop this effort to charge volunteers for their work.

Jeremy Clark
Ashland

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Fixing most dangerous section of Route 11 should be a priority

To The Daily Sun,

Thank you for Michael Kitch's article regarding our roads and bridges. It was good reading for this 85-year-old senior.

Then, too, I have read The Daily Sun's column by our Republican State Senator Jeanie Forrester dated October 15, 2015. (I got to meet her.)

Then, too, again, I said to myself, "wow!" Our state 10-year Transportation Improvement Plan is to upgrade our roads and bridges and upgrade some of our 1,345 maintained state roads. "Hot dog!" I said to myself, our state is going to finish the connector from Alton Route 11 to the Gilford town line. "Whew!" I said to myself, thank the Lord no one was killed on this road. To me, this particular road is one of the most dangerous in our state.

I thought about calling Senator Forrester. Perhaps she would walk with one our trained state engineers based in Gilford. She could witness one of our "very poor", fairly-traveled roads. In the meantime, I pray that no emergency state and local fire departments, as well our state militia will have to use this dangerous part of Route 11. You, yourself, have probably driven by the Ames Farm.

Are we heading in the "right direction" with this 10-year Transportation Plan? Of course roads and bridges have to be repaired. However, I implore our General Court to include the Route 11 connector in this "right direction." I firmly believe our state has turned its back, consistently, on this particular section of Route 11. I believe the General Court could have delivered a better transportation plan without hurting other state services.

Will any state legislator walk with me to witness this most dangerous section of Route 11? It is possible that one of our trained state engineers would walk with us. He (or she) will view this "Red List" problem.

I believe having this Alton/Gilford connector will certainly improve our Belknap County economy! May I hope to hear plans are being drawn to make this much needed improvement? Will our General Court turn its back one more regarding this improvement? I hope and pray they will not.

S. B. Hatch

Laconia

 

 

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