To The Daily Sun,
WOW! There’s no doubt that people have strong opinions about the idea of the city of Laconia studying what’s next for the WOW Trail. What’s been lost in all of this conversation, though, seems to be some basic facts. In the interest of clearing things up a bit, to follow are a few of those:
1. Snowmobiling would in no way be negatively impacted by any future expansion of the trail. Even more, if it were recommended that a future trail be built where the tracks currently exist, snowmobiles could run with almost a foot less of snow cover, likely lengthening the snowmobile season, similar to New Hampshire’s Northern Rail Trail. Even more, any future design for Phase 3 of the WOW Trail would be done cooperatively with the local snowmobile club.
2. No way forward for the WOW Trail would including putting the tourist train out of business. In fact, one aspect of the study Councilor Lipman has proposed is to see if it is feasible for the business to operate successfully from Meredith north to Lincoln.
3. Nothing can or would happen regarding the WOW Trail without state of New Hampshire approval, which owns and manages the railroad corridor. The study proposed by Councilor Lipman would merely gather information to make informed decisions about a way forward for the WOW Trail. This wouldn’t be new spending for city, as it already allocates $10,000 annually for the trail. That money would just be re-allocated for a study instead. Even more, this study would provide for an objective, independent party to manage discussions with responsible state agencies, stakeholders, business owners, abutters, and the community at large.
The WOW Trail Board of Directors will await the city’s direction before investing any money in design for the continued expansion to Weirs Beach and Meredith. I sincerely believe that a completed WOW Trail will be a game-changer for this community, not only enhancing the quality of life for residents, but attracting new visitors to the area and making the city a more desirable place to live, work and raise a family. That said, none of us has all of the answers. Let’s do this study to learn how best we can move forward not only in the best interest of bikers, runners, and walkers, but also snowmobilers, train lovers, and the communities through which this state of New Hampshire-owned land travels.
- Written by Mike Mortensen
- Category: Letters
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