, Derry, New Hampshire


July 4, 2013

Users divided over paving local trails

They run with the smooth pavement beneath their feet, or walk or stroll on packed dirt or gravel.

Supporters of local trail systems like it both ways —surfaces suiting those who love to ride, bike, walk, jog or ride a horse.

In Londonderry, the all-volunteer Londonderry Trailways group is ready to start paving a section of a trail connecting Sanborn Road and Symmes Drive.

It’s part of an overall project connecting portions of the town’s trail system to the larger, regional Granite State Rail Trail, that will eventually be connected from the Methuen-Salem line all the way to Lebanon.

But paving plans are upsetting to some trail users, who prefer a natural path.

Voters in March approved a petitioned warrant article to spend $227,000 to support the paving project in North Londonderry.

Other trails in town remain unpaved. There is something for everyone, Trailways supporter Pollyann Winslow said.

“Trails are used for different purposes,” she said. “Trails are in different areas of town and offer a natural setting for those seeking solitude or for whatever purpose they want.”

She said Londonderry Trailways has no intention of paving every section of the community’s trail system.

“Trailways is not interested in paving all its trails,” she said. “It’s an all-volunteer organization and there is no way we would be able to fund paving.”

Winslow said the planned paved section in North Londonderry is part of the regional project. Other trails in town, including the Musquash Conservation Area, historic trails near the Town Common and other scenic areas are still in their natural state, with packed gravel surfaces instead of asphalt.

Londonderry trails are popular for different reasons.

Trails near schools give teachers a chance to take a walk during a break. One trail leading from the middle school to the Moose Hill School gets a lot of use during the school year, Winslow said.

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