Pack Monandock ultilty pole project may cause snag for hikers

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
October 19. 2017 12:50AM
The access road up Pack Monadnock in Miller State Park in Peterborough and Temple is frequently used by hikers. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

PETERBOROUGH/TEMPLE — A project to repair and replace utility poles that go up Pack Monadnock in Miller State Park will begin once design plans are completed, Eversource spokesman Kaitlyn Woods said Tuesday.

At an informational hearing last week in Peterborough, Woods said planners learned just how much the access road is used by hikers, and the project will attempt to minimize the impact on hikers.

“Members of the public who attended the meeting provided insight to how Miller State Park is used throughout the year,” Wood said. “As frequent patrons of the park, they were able to provide a unique perspective, and we will be considering their comments as we move forward with finalizing the design of the project.”

She said the project has to balance a number of variables, including safety, access for routine maintenance, the affect on the park during the work, the public’s comments and construction costs.

The project aims to correct safety deficiencies for the electric power and telecommunication service to the communication site at Miller State Park on Pack Monadnock.

“When it was built, it was built up to code, but it doesn’t meet safety code now,” Woods said.

Safety issues include utility poles off the access road in the woods with low hanging wires and utility lines on the ground through the woods, she said.

Poles will be repaired or replaced and some will be moved from the woods to the easement along the access road, which will require trees to be cleared along the access road, Woods said.

“I know that the access road will have to be closed sometimes during the construction,” Woods said.

Before the hearing, Woods said planners were unaware the access road was used throughout the week by hikers, who find it easier than the trails, and not just by cars on the weekend when it is open to traffic.

Woods said they learned the access road is used as a trail, especially in the winter.

The Division of Parks and Recreation is working with the N.H. Public Utilities Commission and Eversource on the project.

Woods said planners are working to minimize closures and tree clearing.

Tuesday night, however, members of the Peterborough Select Board said a public hearing should be held so input from hikers can be taken into account.

One of the hikers, Francie Von Mertens of Peterborough, said the project planners fail to understand that the access road in Miller State Park is used by hikers of all ages and abilities.

Many people in the area walk the access road every day, she said.

“People feel it’s sacred,” Von Mertens said.


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