Scout Road closure mulled
Conservancy: Vehicles have caused deterioration
LYNDEBOROUGH – The Piscataquog Land Conservancy would like to close the portion of Scout Road that is on its Rose Mountain property, an attempt to prevent further deterioration of the road by wheeled vehicles.
The road ends on the conservancy’s property.
An article asking for the closure will be included on the warrant for Town Meeting in March.
On Wednesday, Dec. 21, conservancy member Tom Jones and Conservation Commission Chairman Sharon Akers met with selectmen to discuss the idea.
The issue, Jones said, "is the erosion of the trails to the summit." In fact, he and Akers said, "It is impossible to drive to the top" because of the steepness of the road and deep ruts.
But Akers added, "People do get to the top, and every time they do, the road gets worse."
The deep ruts left by trucks are eroded by rain.
Now, with the road declared a Class 6 – town-owned but not maintained – the conservancy doesn’t have the ability to manage the access. Most of
the abutters do not live in Lyndeborough.
Selectmen said protecting the rights of those abutters is their concern.
"Our position is to protect the property and to make sure everyone affected has an opportunity to participate" in this, Lee Mayhew said.
All abutters have been notified, Jones said, and selectment have received responses from most.
William Belvin, of Amherst, owner of a large lot on nearby Pinnacle Road, was present at the meeting. He said he had no problems with the road closure, and that he wanted to see the area maintained.
To determine the status of the road, whether a Class 6, discontinued or private, the conservancy asked two people to research it. Scott Roper, a former selectman, studied the southern portion of the road, once known as Old Rose Mountain Road, while surveyor Stephen Perron looked at the northern portion, which may have once connected with French Road.
According to Roper’s research, Rose Mountain is named for Abraham Rose, who purchased the property in 1795 and built a farm. The town laid out a road to the property, and others, in 1799.
Rose lived there until 1836, when he moved to a son’s home on Center Road. The cellar hole of that farm still exists and is being preserved.
In 1797, the town gave Rose permission to install gates on the road north of his home, presumably to confine livestock in a pasture, thus making the northern section "subject to gates and bars." In 1854, voters considered a request to discontinue the road and referred it to selectmen, who apparently didn’t act on it.
North of the Rose property, the road apparently continued through to French Road, but it was never lined with stone walls.
"The northern section of Scout Road still exists, but was forgotten by 1854," Roper said.
The road gets its current name from a camp once by the Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts, who used if for many years as a wilderness camp. The land was purchased from them by Edward and Jane Hagar, from whom the conservancy purchased it last year.
Perron researched the deeds north of the property and found some evidence of an old road, but little physical evidence north of where Abraham Rose put up his gate.
One of the problems facing the conservancy is the desire to keep trails open for hikers, horses and snowmobiles, but to exclude wheeled vehicles, particularly trucks. New trails and a parking area are planned for a town-owned lot on the road south of conservancy land that was recently designated a town forest.
"That is going to be tough," Selectman Fred Douglas said of excluding vehicles, even though state statute requires that people crossing private property have to carry written permission to be there.
"We have to keep gates and prosecute" offenders who are found, he said. "It’s a shame what has happened to the area."
The section of Scout Road between Pinnacle Road and conservancy property has to remain a Class 6 road because of the landowners along it.
Pinnacle Road continues into Greenfield, but is impassable because a bridge in Greenfield washed out and wasn’t replaced.
For more information about the conservancy, visit www.plcnh.org or call 487-3331.