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Pack Monadnock hike draws more than 100 to protest utility project

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

January 21. 2018 8:46PM
More than 100 gathered at Miller State Park Saturday to support keeping the road to the top of Pack Monadnock mountain free of utility poles. (Steve Lipofksy/Lipofskyphoto.com)



PETERBOROUGH/TEMPLE — More than 100 people gathered at Miller State Park Saturday at noon to voice support for keeping the road to the top of Pack Monadnock mountain free of power lines and utility poles.

Many walked up the 1.3-mile access road to the summit together.

“It was very exhilarating and inspiring for us,” said one of the organizers of the hike, David Baum of Peterborough.

Baum said he began hiking Pack Monadnock nearly 20 years ago as part of his recovery from heart surgery at the age of 42.

“This was my cardiac rehab essentially,” he said.

He later hiked the trail with his future wife and when the time came, proposed to her at the summit. When he’s in town he hikes up the road every day at 6:30 a.m. with a group of friends.

Baum said the mountain and the access road to the summit “both figuratively and literally changed his life.”

Baum is part of the newly formed Pack Monadnock Roadway Alliance Group that organized Saturday’s Pack Monadnock Hike to the Summit.

The Division of Parks and Recreation is working with the N.H. Public Utilities Commission and Eversource on a project to correct safety deficiencies for the electric power and telecommunication service to the communication site at Miller State Park on Pack Monadnock.

Project planners had intended to use the pathway up the access road for the new and improved utility lines — possibly adding up to 18 utility poles.

The project was halted in the fall; there have been preliminary discussions between planners and concerned hikers, but nothing has been decided.

“We know that there’s an issue and that it’s historical and we know that we have the attention of Eversource and the state,” Baum said on Sunday.

Baum said Saturday’s hike and turnout were galvanizing for the group.

“I’m hopeful a positive change can occur,” he said.

Baum said there are numerous reason for hikers to use the access road.

“First of all it’s visually stunning. It goes through gorgeous woods and exercise-wise it’s a really great bang for your buck,” he said.

Staying on the road also helps hikers avoid deer ticks, he said.

mpierce@newstote.com


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