By Kirstan Knowlton
GORHAM — The town has arranged for a public meeting with Jeff Rose, commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development to discuss OHRV use in Gorham.
In a letter to town officials, Rose said he is not inclined to extend the OHRV portion of the Presidential Rail Trail between Jimtown Road and the parking lot on Route 2. The proposed section of railroad bed is 2,355 feet long and is owned by the state.
“As I understand it, the opening of this section of trail would be used primarily to connect local residences to the trail network. While I appreciate the local appeal for access from private homes, providing exclusive access to the public resource is not a priority in our management of trail networks,” stated Rose in his letter to the town.
Rose did address concerns from business owners in that area, but noted that they existed before the proposed trail connection was made. Rose reiterated that their focus is on public access and any expansions would handled in a mindful way.
“The ability to manage the trails, impacts on private and public lands, safety for all trail users, and respect of the natural resources need to be adequately evaluated in any decision,” stated Rose.
Rose agreed to meet with the Board of Selectmen as proposed to discuss trail access and receive input for the public.
The meeting will take place on Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Medallion Opera House located in Gorham Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public, but is not a public hearing.
In other news, selectmen clarified their role in the potential merger between the fire and EMS department. In a previous meeting selectmen stated that the newly hired fire chief would be the one making the decision on whether to merge the two departments. The board revised their statement to include the selectmen and the town manager in that decision making process.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall in Gorham. Agendas for the meeting can be found online at gorhamnh.org.