DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

January 23, 2014

Londonderry sexton continues forest quest

LONDONDERRY — Kent Allen calls the town’s forest 13 acres of neglect.

That’s why he is pushing for better control over the wooded land.

Allen has petitioned for a warrant article to be on the March ballot, asking voters to give control and management of the town forest to Town Manager Kevin Smith.

He collected upward of 40 authorized signatures on his petition, more than the required 25, and is hoping voters will support the article at the polls.

That would get a cleanup process going, Kent said.

It’s been a long process.

Allen has come before town groups for about six months, trying to get a plan in place for a forest project to help keep the town’s wooded property clean and safe.

“It’s just a mess,” Allen said.

The 13-acre forest is located adjacent to the Town Common at corner of Pillsbury and Mammoth Roads.

It was deeded to the town by the Mack family and follows along Mammoth Road toward the cemetery from the Common.

But many in town questioned how to get started on the cleaning project and just who would be responsible for the work.

Conservation Commission members said at earlier meetings they didn’t want Allen’s project to go much beyond the trail area in the forest as it may disrupt valuable animal habitat, including the underbrush around fallen trees.

Town councilors also gave input over the last several months, including concerns over volunteers, safety and liability when work is done clearing brush or cutting trees.

The Town Common already falls under the town manager’s jurisdiction. The Conservation Commission currently takes much management and responsibility for what happens in the forest.

Having the forest placed in Smith’s hands is a sensible solution, Allen said.

“It would bring everything into sync,” he said.

Allen said by giving control to the town manager, he then could make the final call when it comes to proceeding for possible care of the forest.

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