Editor’s note: This “Taking to the Trails” column first appeared in The Londonderry Times newspaper.
By Paul Margolin, Londonderry Trailways
Welcome to the first official column from Londonderry Trailways. We are a group of 10 “board member” volunteers who take great pride in developing, maintaining and promoting the Town’s many walking trails. But most of all, we love taking to the trails ourselves, just to experience them. In the months ahead, we look forward to sharing with you our passion for the packed earth pathways, paved rail trails, historic routes–and even the occasional ruts and roots–of Londonderry’s vast trail network.
In this uncertain time of public health concerns and limited opportunities for social engagement, many of you have found release, relief and pleasure along the Rail Trail; and we couldn’t be happier. I often see neighbors paired up and walking down our street for some fresh air and exercise, and my wife and I are among them. During a recent walk on the newest segment of the Rail Trail that borders the scenic Little Cohas Brook, I counted 62 people and 7 dogs (not to mention 10 bikers, 7 joggers, 5 strollers, and an in-line skater!).
Nevertheless, we hope you’ve seen the recent signage posted along the Rail Trail from the Fire Department, which is requesting trail enthusiasts to “Help us help you,” regarding social distancing:
- Do not use the trails if you are feeling sick or are exhibiting symptoms
- Share the trail & warn others as you approach.
- Follow the CDC’s rules on personal hygiene before visiting the trail
- Maintain the recommended 6 feet of separation
“To park or not to park”: Where
Here are some other advisories that we hope you’ll find helpful. When parking your car on a visit to the Rail Trail, be sure to choose a spot that is safe and secure, and that is not a commercial parking lot. (Local businesses need to reserve their parking places for their customers.) The best places to park near the Trail are:
- In the parking lot across the street from North Elementary School on Sanborn Road (when school is not in session)
- At the state Park and Ride on the west side of I-93 Exit 5 at 4 Symmes Drive. Choose the overflow or long term lots.
- At the Peat Bog segment trailhead on Independence Drive, where it intersects with Liberty Drive. On weekends, residents also have permission to park in Duncan’s European Automotive parking lot, just around the corner at 3 Liberty Drive.
Please do not park at the southern end of the trail by the intersection of Rockingham Road and Seasons Lane; along Verani Way; or in the Poor Boy’s Diner parking lot.
Walking the dog
Lastly, a word about what one might call the “elephant on the trail”:…dog poop. (Ahem.) Our trails are wonderful for walking your dog. Dogs love to be there, and we all love to bring them. (In fact, I had to remind my wife recently to refrain from petting a particularly cute cairn terrier–another temporarily prohibited behavior.) Believe it or not, I recently met a woman on a secluded trail who was hiking with her two cats!
Now, most people do the right thing and come prepared: when nature calls (the dog), they scoop up the poop in a small plastic bag and take responsibility for disposing it when they leave the trail. However, all too often we see a small blue, red or green bag left along the trail, as if the Sanitation Department does daily pickups. Well, they don’t.
So dog owners: please don’t forget to carry out your pet’s waste, so the beauty and cleanliness of the trail can be fully enjoyed by all. Don’t just bag it—as our trail signs say, “Clean up after your dog.” We appreciate your compliance.
The cold weather is finally receding, so keep making your getaway to Londonderry’s great outdoors, and enjoy all the variety that our many trails offer. For more information about them, check out our website at www.londonderrytrails.org.