Northern Pass trek leads to $124 fines for 2 in Millsfield

Berlin Daily Sun
May 30. 2017 9:03PM

MILLSFIELD — Two of the three men who organized a three-hour trip onto Bayroot LLC timberlands on May 2 to check the proposed Northern Pass route had to pay $124 fines for operating a motorized vehicle on posted property without written landowner permission.

Both former newspaper publisher John Harrigan of Colebrook and Wayne Montgomery of Groveton were issued summonses by a Fish and Game conservation officer for driving pickup trucks on unpaved forest road after they reached a locked gate at the end of Millsfield Pond Road and called for assistance.

The third man, Coos County Commissioner Rick Samson of Stewartstown, was wearing a protective plastic boot following recent foot surgery and was not able to drive.

None of the three apparently spotted the posted sign when they entered the Bayroot lands on a 20-plus-mile-long route designed to allow them to follow the proposed overhead route of the controversial $1.2 billion Northern Pass transmission line from Quebec to New Hampshire.

Harrigan and Montgomery were found administratively guilty on Wednesday, May 10.

Harrigan pleaded nolo and Montgomery pleaded guilty, paid their fines and the cases were closed, according to Tammy Jackson, a communications court officer in Concord.

Harrigan said that he was “mortified” to have found himself on private property where his presence was not welcome. “I’m a strong believer in landowner rights,” he said, noting that he owns land in both Colebrook and Pittsburg on which outdoor enthusiasts are welcome to walk.

Harrigan does not, however, allow motorized vehicles to run on any of the old no-longer-maintained skid roads on his properties.

Bayroot, which owns nearly 125,000 acres in Dixville, Dix’s Grant, Millsfield and Dummer as part of Yale University’s multi-billion-dollar endowment portfolio, has agreed to lease land to Northern Pass.

The purpose of the trip was to show several passengers, including people with ties to Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the potential impact of the project.

Harrigan said that he believes Bayroot could cancel its 98-year lease with Northern Pass.

“This could be the ‘stopper,’ giving Eversource and Hydro-Quebec the impetus to stop Northern Pass,” he explained. “It’s time that Northern Pass fold up its tent and go home. If Yale does the right thing, I’d be one of the happiest people on Earth!

This is a condensed version of a Berlin Daily Sun article, which was reprinted with permission.


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