By James Niedzinski firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — LONDONDERRY — Volunteers arrived near the Londonderry town garage on Mammoth Road armed to the teeth, with chainsaws, pruning shears and other tools.
Members of Londonderry Trailways cut down around 2,000 feet of overgrowth on railroad tracks from Mammoth Road to the Little Cohas Brook last week.
The group is making great progress completing its section of the Granite State Rail Trail, Trailways president Bob Saur said.
The Granite State Rail Trail will run more than six miles of paved paths through Londonderry once it’s completed, member Bob Rimol said.
Hundreds of trees and branches were being cut down left and right as the old railroad underneath became visible.
“Some trail-clearing days, we are just pushing around leaves,” Saur said. “Today, we’re just going to town.”
While some onlookers were snatching up logs and firewood, the rest of it will be taken to the recycling center, Rimol said.
Not every chainsaw-wielding volunteer was a member of Trailways. Some people just showed up to lend a helping hand.
“I hike quite a bit,” Jay Hooley said. “This is just a good way to give back.”
Hooley has helped with other trail and path clearing projects in the past.
Rimol said this section of trail was fairly clean, but there were some spare tires along the railroad. The Iron Horse Preservation Society, a nonprofit group, has agreed to remove the railroad free of charge. However, the state Department of Transportation, which owns the land, may have an issue with the railroad.
“They might want to keep it,” Rimol said. “Anything with government, you have to fight for.”
Although members and volunteers were only out for a handful of hours, the project has a much deeper history. The grassroots organization was approved for a $20,000 grant earlier in the year, but must raise 20 percent of the funds themselves, Rimol said.
“We are starting to get more aggressive with fundraising,” he said.
Members of Londonderry Trailways were accepting donations outside the high school on Tuesday as people were leaving the polls.
For $40, people can sponsor one foot of trail. In addition, the group will soon be looking for corporate sponsors, Rimol said.
Rimol said the Granite State Rail Trail, once completed, will extend from Salem to Lebanon, with much of it being paved.
“Hopefully, by 2014, we can start our paving,” he said.
For more information on Londonderry Trailways, visit londonderrytrails.org.