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Town lands future easement interest

FRANCESTOWN — Residents and the Conservation Commission continued to show strong support last week for properties now under conservation easement. The protected land is considered a destination hike for picnics and includes the town’s only waterfall.

The Conservation Commission held a public hearing last Monday night to gather town input on whether the Commission should spend money from the Conservation Fund for an executory interest on the Bullard Hill/Brennan Brook Schott properties, as well as for the expenditure of money from the Conservation Fund for an access and trail easement interest, or right of way, across the Herman Miller/Collins Brook property located on Old County Road North, to provide access to the town-owned Dinsmore Brook Conservation Area from Old County Road North.

As a requirement of the LCHIP grant, the New Hampshire LCHIP Authority will hold a deeded interest in the properties in perpetuity, Hardwick said in an email on Wednesday. The Piscataquog Land Conservancy will be the primary easement holder for the Schott property. An executory interest in the protected land on the Bullard Hill/Brennan Brook Schott properties puts the town in line to take over the responsibility for the land if the Piscataquog Land Conservancy fails to fulfill the terms established by LCHIP, Conservation Commission Chair Betsy Hardwick said last Monday at the hearing. The Commission voted unanimously to spend $20,000 for the executory interest. All public input was in favor of this decision.

“I think everyone in town will be delighted,” Janet Hix of Francestown said in an interview last Monday. Continuing to protect the land is a privilege, she said. “It is absolutely worth protecting. It takes my breath away.”

Regardless of who holds the primary interest in the future, yearly easement monitoring would still be conducted by the Piscataquog Land Conservancy to be submitted to the N.H. LCHIP Authority, Hardwick said.

The Commission also voted unanimously to spend $7,500 from the Commission Fund for an access and trail easement interest. Currently the only way someone could access the trails on the Dinsmore area is by crossing land owned by the golf resort off of the 2nd N.H. Turnpike North. But by purchasing the Right of Way the Commission could provide another public access to the Dinsmore Brook Conservation Area off of Old County Road North and allow the Commission to construct a small, gravel parking lot, if agreed on in the future.

Additional grant assistance from the Fields Pond Foundation will pay for signs, trail markers and probably a map for the properties, Ben Haubrich of the Francestown Land Trust said at the hearing on Monday.

“The fact that LCHIP granted both easements says a lot about the value of these properties,” Hardwick said.

“Our future generations will thank us for what we did this evening,” Chris Rogers of Francestown said in an interview last Monday. During the hearing, Rogers described Brennan Brook as the perfect stream to bring kids to and let them float little boats down the water.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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