Welcome to the Suncook Valley Trails Plan (SVTP) for Allentown, Epsom, Pembroke, Chichester and Pittsfield!

Click to view a Map of the Historic Suncook Valley Railroad Alignment and Conservation Lands.

The final Suncook Valley Trails Plan is here for your viewing & download-

Now that the document planning process has concluded, it’s time to get to work! Examples of outcomes of the SVTP could include a collaborative area-wide economic development brochure with certain trails locations that could attract visitors and inform residents, or a local trails project highlighting the rich history of the area, or the construction and adoption of a section of a rail trail to actively publicize and maintain. The CNHRPC can help organize local Trails Committees or a regional Suncook Valley Trails Committees to support the efforts of alternative transportation and recreation in the region.

CNHRPC staff is available to assist Allenstown, Epsom, Pembroke, Chichester, and Pittsfield with organizing their Trails Committees, and can provide administrative assistance to the groups, and assist with coordination among towns and trail groups to help implement the identified priority rail trails projects in the region.

The June 2019 Reconvening Session attendees requested CNHRPC organize another meeting of the Suncook Valley communities in June 2020 and to include another rail trail walk ahead of the meeting. The 2020 meeting is intended for networking and reporting on progress of trails activities. Is your Town interested in hosting this multi-community Suncook Valley Railroad trails meeting? Contact Craig or Stephanie. We will let you know the details closer to June 2020!

For communities, the next step is implementation! Get organized and establish Town Trails Committees, partner with snowmobile clubs, join trail user groups, begin talking with landowners and making positive connections, publicize existing trails, get municipal support, fundraise and apply for grants, obtain trails use agreements or easements from landowners, choose the easiest trails project to complete first to be an example of successful rail trail efforts, and network with as many people, Towns, groups as possible. CNHRPC can help with the organization, cheerlead the Committees, recommend and assist with grant writing, and provide other administrative and technical support, but the motivation, legwork, and groundwork must be a grassroots community effort to be successful. Read through the Implementation section of the Suncook Valley Trails Plan for ideas, and contact CNHRPC when your Town is ready to begin.

What is the Suncook Valley Trails Plan?

Local Town Master Plans, Planning Boards, Economic Development Committees, Conservation Commissions, Parks and Recreation Commissions, and Historical Societies have identified the multiple needs for economic development, recreational opportunities, preservation of history and culture, retention and enhancement of open space and connection to the outdoors, and the need for alternative transportation in their communities. Existing trails networks crisscross the region in the form of organized Snowmobiles Club trails, Town and School trails, private landowner trails, former railroad beds, homeowner association trails, and more. Existing Town, conservation and public lands could be utilized as anchors for regional trails development.

After several months of meetings, discussion, and preparation, the Suncook Valley Trails Plan June 2019 was developed by CNHRPC as a collaborative effort with the lower Suncook communities. Presented at the June 18, 2019 Reconvening Session of the Suncook communities, the Plan and its vision for a multi-use rail trail system along much of the former Suncook Valley Railroad, as identified in community meetings, was well received. An Epsom Rail Trail walk was held prior to the meeting, where attendees had the opportunity to view and discuss trail development opportunities in the field during a pleasant hike from the Epsom Central School to the Odd Fellows Building and back. The Plan with Maps of the public input trail priorities (Appendix B) and supporting Appendices are available here for download.

The Suncook Valley Trails Plan (SVTP) contains a brief history of the Suncook Valley Railroad, existing community trails maps with public and conservation lands, indications of trail usages and conflicts, narratives of the existing trails, identification of potential trail project priorities, and a listing of recommendations.

Process to Develop the Suncook Valley Trails Plan

The project began with a Visioning Session in January 2019 at the Epsom Public Library, inviting known local trails interests to meet CNHRPC staff and learn about the proposed collaborative project. Meetings were held in the individual Towns and publicized to the entire inclusive public participant list. At these interactive Town-based meetings, we narrowed the focus of what we hoped to accomplish, including existing trail identification, trail usages and conflicts, and opportunities or projects that enhance connectivity. Anyone interested within the Suncook Valley area was welcome to attend the Town-specific meetings. The CNHRPC respects the organized clubs that have landowner agreements for trails usage and encourages club participation to ensure any trails information provided is described in the appropriate manner within the SVTP.

Some of Our Current Partners or Interested Groups in the Suncook Valley Trails Plan Activities

Is your Board, Committee or Club represented on our contact list? If not, join us now by emailing Craig (ctufts@cnhrpc.org) or Stephanie (salexander@cnhrpc.org) to stay informed of activities.

Allenstown Economic Development Committee
Barnstead Parks and Recreation Commission
Chichester Parks and Recreation Commission
Chichester Planning Board
Epsom Board of Selectmen
Epsom Conservation Commission
Epsom Economic Development Committee
Epsom Zoning Board of Adjustment
Fort Mountain Trail Winders
NH Horse and Trail Association
NH State Representative for Merrimack County, District 21
NH Trail Dawgs
NH Horse and Trail Association
Pembroke/Allenstown Meet Me in Suncook
Pembroke Conservation Commission
Pembroke Historical Society
…with Property Owners, residents and many more!

Send us your input!

Please send us your Suncook Valley Trails input by completing a Trails Experiences Questionnaire Word form and returning it to salexander@cnhrpc.org.