CLAREMONT — Local officials are hoping to clear things up for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Using federal funding, Sullivan County has contracted with the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission to develop an inventory of the county’s trails, and identify gaps in location, use and other issues of accessibility.
The leaders of the project, called Sugar River Region Trails Plan, invited trail users, from skiers to ATV riders, to a public forum to introduce the effort, and to get feedback from those with their hiking boots on the ground. Roughly 20 people attended the virtual meeting last week.
“We’re trying to protect the trails for future generations,” said Tim Josephson, associate planner with the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, at the meeting. “Because just like any other natural resource, they’re a resource that we need to be protecting. They’re not always going to be there.”
But to begin safeguarding the trails, those involved have to know where they are. Many of the trails in the county are difficult to find, Sullivan County Manager Derek Ferland said. It might be easy to hop on the Sugar River Rail Trail, but locating trailheads that have little to no signage and iffy parking is a challenge.
“These trails are one of our biggest assets, but also one of the most poorly developed,” he said. “Do we even know what we have? Have we actually mapped everything?”
In addition to those more immediate obstacles, the conversation so far hinges on the challenges of managing a trail […]
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