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Claremont to Hold Forum on Sugar River Trail

Claremont — The Conservation Commission is inviting residents to a public forum Thursday to discuss the uses and possible improvements of a portion of the three-mile Sugar River Trail.

The forum runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Teal Lantern meeting room in the Sugar River Valley Technical Center on South Street.

The entire trail extends from the trailhead on Pleasant Street across from LaValley Building Supply to an orange gate beyond Home Depot at the eastern end of Washington Street. The forum will focus on the roughly one-mile section designated as the Bobby Woodman Recreational Trail, commission Chairman Steve Wood said.

Wood said the forum is being held to hear from residents on what they like, or don’t like, about the trail.

“We want to explore ideas we haven’t considered,” Wood said last week. “We want to get a feel for what people would like, or wouldn’t like ,to see there. It is a brainstorming session to see how the public feels about it.”

The Woodman Trail, named after the late Robert Woodman who served the city in several capacities including as a member of the Conservation Commission, begins at the trailhead on Pleasant Street. It runs a short distance before crossing Broad Street and continuing past the back of the community center to Chestnut Street near the entrance to Monadnock Park. On the other side of Chestnut, the Woodman portion goes about 200 yards to the iron bridge crossing the Sugar River behind SG Reed Truck Services. On the other side of the bridge, the trail continues along Washington Street past Home Depot to the orange gate. The forum will also discuss the trail’s connections to other trails in the city.

The trail is used by walkers, runners, bicyclists, motorbikes and ATVs and in the winter, snowmobiles. The use of motorized vehicles is likely to come up during the discussion. Posted signs ban the vehicles from the trailhead at Pleasant Street to where the trail meets another trail used by ATVs and snowmobiles that comes from Arrowhead hill and across South Street next to the community center. Some residents believe the ban should extend to the bridge.

Wood said the issue won’t be resolved at the forum, but it will be helpful to hear different views. A spur to Monadnock Park is one example of trail improvements that may be discussed.

Recently, paving was done on short sections of the trail at the Chestnut Street crossing to prevent gravel and other debris from getting in the road.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.