August 17, 2012 - by Barbara Tetreault, The Berlin Daily Sun
BERLIN ?The N.H. Bureau of Trails is asking the city for a permanent easement across the former Bass Shoe property for its ATV and snowmobile connector trail.
The Berlin Industrial Development and Park Authority discussed the issue at its meeting Tuesday and decided to invite Trails Bureau Chief Chris Gamache to its next meeting.
In his letter to the city, Gamache said the Bass Shoe property is the location of a connector trail between the Jericho Mountain State Park and N.H. Snowmobile Corridor 19. He said the prior owner of the property had allowed the state to use it. With the potential that the property might be sold to a private developer in the future, Gamache said his agency would like a permanent easement to �protect both the summer and winter trail opportunities that currently exist?
The city council referred the request to BIDPA for a recommendation. The city acquired the 11-acre Bass Shoe property last year through a tax deed. The building has been vacant for about 24 years Mayor Paul Grenier also asked BIDPA to consider carving off a section of the Bass Shoe parking lot to use for ATV parking. With the building vacant, the parking lot adjacent to Jericho Powersports is currently being used for ATV parking. BIDPA member Diana Nelson asked who would own the lot and take care of plowing. City Planner Pamela Laflamme said the city might donate it to the state for the ATV park.
BIDPA member Max Makaitis suggested the city should hold off on granting a permanent easement until the future use of the building or property is determined. He said a new owner might want to open up rail access and need to relocate the trail. He said the city, in the meantime, could give the state a right to use the trail corridor across the property. Nelson said she leaned towards granting a permanent easement, noting that the city council is supportive of the ATV park and making Berlin a destination area for ATV riders.
Poulin agreed with holding off on granting an easement until the future of the property is decided. He said a new owner might not want 4-wheelers traveling across the property all day. Caron said if the city donates part of the parking lot to the state, maybe the connector trail could be located on that parcel.
The board decided to grant the state a one year license to continue using the connector trail across the property and discuss the issue further with Gamache.