Ancient Roads Committee

Ancient Roads: Committee on Unmapped and Unmaintained Roads

Committee Members:
Charlotte Bassage
Darby Bradley (Chair)
Reed Cherington
Gail Graham
John Meyer
Warner Shedd
Eric Sorenson

I’m not sure exactly what the legal protocol is for bringing the work of the committee to an end, other than declaring it so. Obviously, if we met to formally approve the minutes of the last meeting, then we have to meet again to approve the minutes of the meeting where we approved the minutes of the previous meeting, and on and on and on. Maybe somebody has a legal answer for me, but half the committee has threatened to resign if I call another meeting. So there you have it. We’re done.

It has been quite an experience, difficult at times, but on the whole rewarding and one that we feel good about. We appreciate the interest and input that we received from many of you, as well as your good humor, most of the time. We will be sending a final report to the Selectboard in the relatively near future, and I will send all of you a copy as well. Sometime in March, I will deliver our files on the 42 individual ancient roads, along with the documentation, field notes and summary of our recommendations.

From here, it is up to the Selectboard to decide what it will do with the ancient roads that were not discontinued as a result of the Town’s vote for “mass discontinuance”. The “clearly observable” roads do not automatically disappear on July 1, 2015, if they are not placed on the town highway map, as many of us once assumed. As we have now been advised by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, if no action is taken one way or the other, these roads will continue in their present status. So the ball is now in the Selectboard’s court.

From all of us, thank you again for this “opportunity”.
-Darby Bradley, Chairman
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here, at long last, is the final report of the Calais Committee on Unmapped and Unmaintained Roads. Those of you who have been reading the minutes and attending the meetings should not find any surprises. It has been my pleasure to chair the group and although we reached different conclusions on occasion, the seven members of the Committee worked very well today. We got to see many parts of Calais that we might not have, and talked with many Calais residents and landowners that we might not otherwise have had a chance to meet.

We're now turning the whole matter over to the Calais Selectboard to act on our recommendations as they see fit. Over the next few weeks, I will assemble the minutes of our meetings, so that they may be posted collectively the Town's website, as this report should be. I will also assemble our files on each of the 42 ancient roads, and deliver them to the Selectboard so that they do not have to duplicate our effort.

We are grateful for the hard work of our predecessor, the Calais Ancient Roads Team (CART), who identified the ancient roads through their exhaustive research of Town and other highway records. We are also grateful to the many landowners whose interests are potentially affected by our work, and for their good spirit and welcoming attitude when we arrived on their doorsteps. Thank you.

Over and out (for now),
Monday, March 05, 2012

If you made a copy of the Committee’s final report, there is one typo which you should correct. Putnam Road is located in the extreme southwest corner of the town. I don’t want you wandering around the northwest corner. It’s pretty rugged territory if you come in from the Calais side. Reed Cherington and I would probably still be wandering around out there, if the LandVest forester who manages the property hadn’t come with us. It was fun, though, walking around the large pin which marks the corner: four towns in about ten seconds.

Monday, March 05, 2012