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February 09. 2014 9:09PM

Group makes Lyndeborough more accessible, one trail at a time

LYNDEBOROUGH — For the Lyndeborough Trails Association, building bridges isn’t a metaphor, it’s just part of a good day’s work.

Phil Brooks, a member of the association, said the goal of the group is to create a network of trails by connecting the town’s Class VI roads (defined as roads that have not been maintained for suitable condition for travel) through easements given by private landowners and by repairing old bridges. The project is called the Cross Lyndeborough Trail.

“Our grand plan is to allow people to be able to go from the southwest corner of Lyndeborough to the northeast corner,” said Brooks. “It matters to a lot of people who like to be able to walk, ride their horses, and snowmobile right here in town.”

Brooks, who owns a timberframe company in town, has become the overseer of sorts for the association’s bridge projects. The first bridge the group took on was a decrepit structure on a Putnam Hill Road, which connects the old Lyndeborough Center on Center Road with the new Lyndeborough Center on Route 13.

“That bridge was all caved in so we had to tear it out and replace it,” said Brooks. Where the old bridge used to be, a new multi-purpose bridge has made itself at home, and is strong enough to bear the weight of all terrain vehicles and horses.

Recently, the Lyndeborough Trails Association has crossed the Piscataquog River, replacing a span known as High Bridge. The new bridge on High Bridge Road has been built across the Piscataquog River and now connects Class VI trails in Lyndeborough with another network of trails in New Boston.

“That bridge makes a nice connection between the two towns,” Brooks said. “It was finished this summer and can support snowmobiles and horses.”

Planning the bridge took a great deal of effort, Brooks said, from working with state agencies to secure the necessary permits, to raising the money necessary to make the project a reality. A grant from the state covered $25,000 of the cost, but the Lyndeborough Trails Association partnered with the Piscataquog Land Conservancy to pull together the rest of the funding.

Once the permits and funds were in place, an engineer had to draw up designs and then the dirty work began, including the removal of massive steel girders that had rusted out, said Brooks.

The bridge’s main steel beams were replaced, new wood decking was installed and railings meeting U.S. Forest Service equestrian safety standards were added. The bridge also has gates and barriers on both ends to prevent cars and trucks from traversing.

Brooks said the trails association will continue to extend the network of trails until the goal of bringing together both ends of town is reached.

“Why drive all the way up to the White Mountains to hike when you can go outside in your back yard and appreciate all the beauty of nature?” he said.

nfoster@newstote.com


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