Meeting on June 25, 2015
The meeting of the Friends of the Pemi – Livermore Falls Chapter was held on June 25, 2015 at noon in the offices of RMI. A light lunch was served and the meeting was well attended. An agenda was distributed in advance of the meeting with the main topics concerning the status of our activities at this early point in the summer season. Comments and questions from the meeting are covered in the discussion below.
The minutes of the meeting on April 2, 2015 were reviewed and approved by those present at this meeting.
Ken Evans led a discussion about summer events and the greeter program, including feedback from the community and Friends. At this point, we have held two Second Saturday events at Livermore Falls. The first, in May, was a combination clean up event and greeter training for the summer. This was well attended and the weather was perfect. The subject of the June event was water safety and water rescue and was a joint effort between NH Fish and Game and Holderness Fire Rescue. This event was not as well attended but was excellent and well worth repeating in the future, perhaps later in the summer and later in the day when we have more of a captive audience. Our July event will be held this Saturday at 10am on July 11. Tink Taylor will lead a historical presentation which focuses on the timeline of human activity at Livermore Falls. Please support Tink and your Historical Committee by taking some time to attend! What could be better than a morning of learning in an awesome natural environment?
Ken went on to discuss our greeter program at Livermore Falls. At this time we have covered thirteen weekend days with over 100 volunteer hours. We have touched more than 500 visitors and have some detailed information about the people, where they are from, the activities they pursue and the recommendations they have for park improvements. So far, the overwhelming numbers of visitors engage in tubing between the Holderness beach and the Courthouse. The rest are swimmers, sunbathers and jumpers. We will fully summarize at the end of the summer. For now, a brief list of their comments:
Many positive comments about improvements already made. A thank you to each of the friends.
If we have to pay, can you remove the metal from out of the river?
There is still too much broken glass on the beach.
Tables and grills are a hit. Beach is much cleaner and raked.
There have been expressions of concern about new parking attracting more people.
Some new visitors learned about the park from waterholes.org
There have been many requests for an air compressor for tubes.
We have now sold $200 in T shirts.
Some have requested more trash cans for bottles.
One person asked for a mountain bike trail.
Many have requested better parking, especially when the lot is filled with folks and their tubes.
Some have requested more signs indicating no glass on the beach.
All very good comments and very engaged visitors. Mostly, we have families and young folks coming to the beach to swim. We have signed up four new Friends of the Pemi. This is a very important and successful process so far with significant exposure for the Friends, Rotary and State Parks. Now the bad news. We had no greeters on Sunday July 5th. It was a beautiful day with probably 300 people passing through. No one signed up or responded to my repeated emails for help. Less than half of the requested times for the remaining weekend days of the summer have scheduled greeters. In short, a large majority of our Friends are getting kudos based on the gift of volunteer hours from a small minority of dedicated folks. This must change!
If you are scheduled for dates later this summer, thank you. If you have already done your three days and, like me, found it enjoyable and meaningful to take on more days, please sign up and thank you. The webpage for signup is at the bottom of these minutes. If you don’t do signup genius, email Ken Evans or call Ken Evans at 968 2110. Our greeter instructions will be added to the website. If you need guidance or greeter partners, call Ken Evans and he can get you started. We need greeters for Friday and Sunday this weekend. This thing called Friends of the Pemi is a long term commitment, sure enough. And we have accomplished much. But remember our vision set forth a little more than a year ago. We have a lot more to do.
End of sermon!
Next Jane Kellogg introduced the 2015 Seven to Save nomination for Livermore Falls. Sponsored by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance (Ben Wilson is on this Board), “ The Seven to Save program focuses attention and resources on significant historic properties that are threatened by neglect, deterioration, insufficient funds, inappropriate development and/or insensitive public policy.” Nominations are due by September 14, 2015 and, while there is no immediate funding source related to winning this nomination, the Friends present believe that being on this list will give Livermore Falls further public attention and focus, which can only be positive. A small group of Jane, Tink Taylor and Larry Spencer, with assistance from Ken Evans, will pursue the information needed for nomination.
One piece of information needed for the nomination is the owner of the property. The group discussed this ownership conundrum and determined that while we may not know the present ownership of the bridge, we should pursue the nomination anyway. In the meantime, Tink will look for a law firm which can devote free hours in the pursuit of the ownership string related to the bridge. We should also find out what work the State has done in determining ownership. Ben Wilson should be contacted.
As to committee reports, Tink Taylor spoke about his Second Saturday historical presentation at Livermore Falls in July. He also presented a paper on Camptonite to be placed on the website. Someone also recommended that a picture of Camptonite be placed on the website. Larry Spencer could not attend for the environmental group but Max Stamp has agreed to present our Second Saturday presentation in August on water quality. He will speak about the history of PRLAC, its activities in working with DES and do a demonstration of water quality testing with a focus on the state of water quality in the Pemi. This should be a great day so put it on your calendars.
We next discussed our website, Livermorefalls.org. Much content has been added but there is a need for much more from each of the committees. Please forward any and all content to Kathy Kearns for the Communications committee to review and then pass along to our website coordinator. Steve Rand is following up with the PSU student who has done some interesting geographic work on the Falls, but left school without leaving his password behind. This presentation would be great for our website. Also, as a Friend, your homework should include going into our site, reviewing the material, learning as much as you can and making recommendations about how to improve it.
Walter, Ken and Patrick were interviewed several months ago by Bill York with public access television. The interview, about the work we are doing at Livermore Falls and our partnership with the State, is now airing. If you have access to this station, please tune in to be familiar with the exposure we are receiving in the community.
We turned next to State activities. Kevin Donavan reported that the parking lot is caught up in the latest budget battles. DRED is trying to protect its capital budget which includes funds for the parking lot. Others in the Legislature feel that if Livermore Falls receives the funds from the Groton Wind Farm settlement, that the capital budget should be diverted elsewhere. The problem is that we need a little more for the parking lot than the $150,000 from the settlement. The State is now in limbo until a budget can be approved later this Fall. We asked Kevin if we could proceed with the internal process of approving the parking lot immediately so that when/if funding is resolved we can be ready to begin construction yet this year. Kevin agreed to take this up within DRED to see what we can do in the meantime. Kevin presented the fifth and final design plan for the parking lot and all present agreed that this was a good resolution and applauded DRED’s process of collaboration with the community.
Kevin also reiterated plans for pit toilets, fencing to indicate to visitors when they are leaving State property ( and trespassing), a deck for launching tubes and kayaks and other small buildings at the parking lot. All of this sounds positive.
Kevin communicated that he had been unable to hire an attendant to work at Livermore Falls, even though he had tried numerous options. The Friends indicated that through our volunteer greeter efforts and through periodic State visits (from Wellington State Park), and because it is still early in the summer season, we have held down the fort so to speak. But, with the upcoming July Fourth holiday weekend, it is time to get someone in there. This next part is an amazing thing about this partnership with the State. Our Friend, Jessica Dutile was at the meeting and said that her teacher/husband was looking for summer work. She and Kevin exchanged reach information. Bryan Dutile called Kevin and they met before Kevin left town after the meeting. Bryan was hired and began working on July 2nd. Friends, this partnership is working!
Patrick reported that our memorandum of understanding is still being reviewed by Phil Bryce and Dred’s attorneys. He will get back to us as soon as he can. By the way, Patrick and I spent the day last Friday at the Falls. Thank you Patrick for being a Friend for the day.
Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at the offices of RMI at noon. A reminder will be sent, but please put this on your calendars right now. We will have a lot to discuss and assess.
Walter and Ken are humbled by the confidence you have in us to coordinate and report on our activities. We appreciate all that you do.
Walter and Ken