Todd Papianou and Karen Wilson of Penacook Area Community Trails told the Board of Selectmen on Thursday that the group is proposing to build a 2.5-to-3-mile, purpose-built mountain biking trail that would serve the growing trail-user community in the Rumford region. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen gave unanimous approval Thursday to allow a mountain biking group to start planning a trail on town-owned land.

The land is located behind the Marden’s at River Valley Crossing Plaza on Route 2.

Karen Wilson and Todd Papianou of Penacook Area Community Trails, or PACT, said the group is proposing to build the Penacook Loop Trail, a 2.5-to-3-mile, purpose-built mountain biking trail that would serve the growing trail-user community in the Rumford region.

“We believe this trail project will serve as a launch pad for future trail development in the community,” Wilson said, “and allow us to explore connecting this trail to the boarder area, and possibly to two other major parcels of land that are close by and open to trail development.”

Wilson said PACT is also putting together a proposal for the Mahoosuc Pathways board of directors to accept PACT as one of the projects it will help plan, manage, fund and provide nonprofit status.

She said they hope to make a presentation to the Mahoosuc Pathways board at the board’s June 27 meeting.

Before voting, the board raised two concerns.

Board chair Chris Brennick, who’s been working with PACT, asked what the liability is to the town by having people work on town-owned land.

Wilson said if Mahoosuc Pathways decides to accept PACT as one of their projects, work on the property would be covered by their insurance.

Selectman Peter Chase asked about working with ATV users, expressing concern about accidents.

Papianou said mountain bike trails often spine off from existing ATV trails and would be narrow. Signage would also be used.

For this summer, Wilson said PACT is looking to do the flagging and design of the trail layout, then use volunteers to clear the corridor, clear the duff layer and prepare for the trail-building process, which would likely not happen until the summer of 2019.

Wilson said she earlier was given the OK by Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs to apply through the town for a federal Recreational Trails Project grant.


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