CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The Friends of Chesterfield Gorge and the Chesterfield Conservation Commission had originally picked May 3 to officially unveil at the town offices and the gorge the new kiosks and newly crafted recreational maps of the area. It turned out, however, Chesterfield School had already designated it as Fun Run Day.
But Conservation Commission Chairman Tom Duston said there was no reason the two groups couldn't use the festivities to their advantage. Therefore, Duston told the Reformer, a recreational map will be placed in the new kiosk at the Chesterfield Town Offices today, so both can be unofficially unveiled to people enjoying Fun Run Day. This will be a taste of what can be expected at 11 a.m. on May 10, when a special event will introduce the public to the kiosk at the Chesterfield Gorge.
Duston explained the maps were created over the course of two or three months by Steve Waleryszak of the Southwest Regional Planning Commission (SWRPC). Duston told the Reformer the map is rife with designated hiking, bicycle and snowmobile trails and other geographical information.
"The drive (behind the effort) was to tell the people in Chesterfield about all the recreation opportunities in town," he said.
The event on May 10 is expected to include refreshments and some comments by John Koopman, of the Friends of Chesterfield Gorge. There will also be an informational walk, led by the Friends, into the gorge.
"This will be a chance for the hardworking members of the Friends to show all the work they have done and to show off the Chesterfield treasure they are protecting," according to Duston.
Construction of the kiosks -- completed by Rick Contino, of Brattleboro -- was funded by a $1,200 grant from the Quabbin to Cardigan Initiative (Q2C), a collaborative effort to conserve the Monadnock Highlands of north-central Massachusetts and western New Hampshire.
Steve Waleryszak, a geographic information system (GIS) technician/planner with the SWRPC, said collaboration between his commission, the conservation commission and the Monadnock Conservancy was key to the maps becoming a reality. He said GIS data had to be collected from the conservancy to provide a spatial representation on what is on the ground before the map could be completed. The maps show the public beach at Spofford Lake, as well as picnic and parking locations and areas for boat launchings.
Waleryszak said the maps display the entire town of Chesterfield, including all conservation land, in addition to parts Hinsdale, Winchester, Swanzey, Keene, Westmoreland some area just over the state line into Vermont.