Conservation Commission Minutes, May 5, 2003


Jen Andrews, Alison Bechdel, Lars Botzojorns, Sharon Murray


1. Advisory Committee


We continued discussing the task/charge of the advisory committee. What are the roles of the SB vs. the CC? Lars is concerned about steering committee acting independently of conservation commission. Plus the CC has a lot to do already, loading our plate with management of PP would be too much.


But if the CC really is the de facto advisory committee, we should get a liaison on the Select Board. Someone who would receive minutes, sit in formally or not as required. Also, we need to assure SB that we do plan to reach out formally to the groups representing the various interests, and bring in partner groups as we need them. Jen volunteers to go talk to the SB on 6/2 and run this by them and ask them to appoint a liaison.


Sharon will write something up for Jen to present to them, a formal transfer of power or resolution that says the CC is basically the advisory committee.


Sharon says the County Forester is supposed to help towns develop forest management plans—means to get in touch with Mike Snyder.



2. Draft management plan


We have three main, near-term priority areas with the Preston Pond Conservation Area:  access, signage, and trail stabilization. All three of these issues need to be addressed before we open up the land to greater use. We need to get the land 'ready' for people to be using it in different ways.


Our one legal access point is the bus on Stage Road. We own 100 foot strip, there’s enough room to drain it, put some fill in, grade it for 2-3 cars and/or a bus. So we have to talk to road dept. about that. But one issue is, Micah, despite all his support, is having problems with the drainage from the log road already. He’s worried that any further diversion or concentration of outflow past or over his well would create a problem. Lars said we would try to arrange the drainage not to do that. Sharon thinks we might need an access permit from the town. There are standards about curb cuts, and stuff. Might road crew be willing to just do this? Jen will ask about this at the 6/2 meeting. Then we’d need to get the road crew together with Micah and Tom.


Second access is in the Notch, and on the disputed parcel. It’s a very easy access, would only need a little drainage and hardening. All we need to do is get permission from golf course to develop it. (VLT is in dispute with golf course about that 7 acre triangle)


Third access is the Long Trail access. (on Notch Rd.) People parking on the side of the road there. But that might get out of control. Russ & Elaine might not be too keen about that, we’d have to clear any formalization through them. If we were to be proactive, say we want to use this as a formal access… that would be an interim step to the second step, which is to develop a parking lot at that log landing about a tenth of a mile down the road.


First step, go out with GPS and get stuff on map. Alison will get the necessary software for this. (Plus now we can run our transect. Stage road, up across to Notch road side, wending our way through there.)


Jen thinks high school could do signs for us. If we had the signage all planned, and could give them the info at the beginning of the school year, that would be great.

Work over the summer, volunteer groups. Plan to have ‘unveiling’ in the fall.


We made a date to take a trail walk. Sat., June 21, 81m. A solid half day, to look at VAST trail, Libby’s Look, Pond loop. Bring GPS. Consensus is NOT to stake out a pond loop right away. We could mark the Libby’s Look trail. What about a linking trail from LT to pond…we need to prioritize.


Harden the VAST trail first? That’s Lars’ vote. If we’re going to allow mountain bikes, horses, that’ll need to be hardened.



3. New Members


We need to get more people involved. What about inviting Hoodie to be on CC? And Jen knows a retired teacher on the access road…maybe she’d be interested. Also, new people have moved into the white house on the corner by the stop sign. Maybe Jen will talk to them. What about Rob Mullen? Will he ever come to meetings? Lars says Rob has proposed a fundraising project for the Pond with some of his paintings.


 Alison will write a little thing for the Gazette encouraging people to come to meetings and see if they want to get involved. Stress that we’d love for people from all parts of town—East Bolton, Duxbury Road, Bolton Valley, West Bolton.


4. Fundraising


Lars asked if we can commit to VLT to raise an additional $12,000. The consensus is that we’ll try our best. We’ve made a commitment that we would raise $50k, including the $16k or so from the conservation fund, and we’ve already raised 8. How will we do this? Can we use the rest of our Watershed Grant? Sharon will call Sue and ask.Lars will follow up with Rob Mullen about his painting idea—he’d paint scenes of the area, then farm it out through Chittenden Bank and we’d get a cut of it.


Jerry Mullen’s been talking about a primitive biathlon—muskets and snowshoes.


Alison joked that we could have a ball, but then we thought something like that might not be a bad idea. Some event at Smilie, get the Rec committee involved….


We need to make fundraising a priority, and keep on it, move it forward at each meeting.



5. Miscellaneous


Lars won’t be able to make the 6/2 meeting.


We didn’t get to the topics of the website, and the town-wide conservation plan.


Sharon will check about access to Sara Holbrook land over the tracks


We still have to schedule a site visit to Sarah Holbrook with the SB. Alison will ask them if they can do it Sat., May 24th at 8:30am.


FYI, there’s an Uplands Project planning meeting on June 4. Planning to link this side of the river with Honey Hollow, getting across the massive transportation corridor. Lars will relay to us the particulars.


We should think about applying for a Better Backroads grant for next year to do work on our access points.


Lars will be contacting Rob Fries of Bolton Valley Resort to see if he will come to one of our future meetings—possibly July 7--so that we could discuss the town's conservation priorities and his plans for addressing conservation needs at Bolton Valley.