Shall the Town of Hampton vote to adopt the following Town Forest Bylaws pursuant to RSA 31:39, I (a) and RSA 31:39, III, the Town of Hampton hereby ordains as follows:
The purposes of these Bylaws are:
A. To maintain the Town Forest, in perpetuity, as open space for the enjoyment and education of the public.
B. To ensure the following benefits of the Town Forest:
1. Protection of natural resources and wildlife habitat.
2.Provision for traditional low-impact outdoor recreation and nature-based educational activities.
3.Provision for other special uses of the Forest when and where appropriate.
These Bylaws shall apply to the Town-owned parcels listed in Table 1 below as well as to any additional parcels acquired hereafter by the Town as additions to the Town Forest.
Table 1 – Town-owned Parcels in the Town Forest
Map LotYearName Acres
5921999Barbour Rd Rear 3.70
5912016Off Barbour Rd 0.90
60111991Off Barbour Rd 15.00
7511991Barbour Rd Rear 4.00
7541969Off Woodland Rd 5.00
7615199211 Munsey Dr. 5.85
9211998Twelve Shares 19.00
922199175 Barbour Rd 25.14
9311991Barbour Rd Rear 3.00
9632007205 Woodland Rd 12.89
1103-C2008Barbour Rd 23.00
III. ACCESS HOURS
The Town Forest shall be open daily from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. These access hours shall not apply to hunting by hunters holding valid NH Hunting Licenses during applicable hunting seasons.
IV. PERMITTED USES
The following activities and uses are permitted within the Town Forest:
A. Pedestrian uses, including but not limited to hiking/walking/running, bird watching, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Items carried in by hikers and other users must be carried out.
B. Hunting in accordance with New Hampshire laws, rules, and regulations.
C. Bicycling on non-motorized bicycles, but only on trails approved for that use by the Town Forestry Committee.
D. Trail construction, repair, and management activities approved by the Town Forestry Committee.
E. Forest and wildlife management activities approved by the Town Forestry Committee.
F. Walking or running of leashed pet(s). All pet waste shall be removed and properly disposed of by the person(s) accompanying the animal.
V. PROHIBITED USES
The following activities are prohibited within the Town Forest:
A. Dumping of rubbish, waste, cigarette butts, leaves, brush, paper, or other materials and substances.
B. Removal of or damage to any structure, signage, stonewalls, plants or other natural features.
C. Construction or erection, other than by or for the Town Forestry Committee, of permanent tree stands, tent platforms, or other structures.
D. Target shooting or any other discharge of a firearm other than what is permitted in Section IV-B.
E. Building and lighting of campfires.
F. Operation of Off-Highway Recreation Vehicles (OHRV) or motorized vehicles, except motorized wheelchairs and emergency vehicles.
G. Uses for commercial purposes.
H. The possession, consumption, or use of controlled substances or alcoholic beverages.
I. Walking or running of unleashed pet(s).
VI. OTHER USES
The following uses are allowed within the Town Forest with prior written approval from the Town Forestry Committee upon such terms as the Committee prescribes:
A. Public functions/educational events
B. Maple sugar sap collection
C. Overnight camping
Violators who engage in any of the Prohibited Uses listed in Section V – Prohibited Uses, as well as those who fail to obtain prior written approvals for the uses set forth in Section VI – Other Uses, are subject to the penalties set forth below and the funds received in payment of such penalties shall enure to the Forest Maintenance Fund in accordance with RSA 31:39, III.
First Offense – $100
Second Offense – $500
Third and succeeding offenses – $750
If any provision in these Bylaws is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not affect or invalidate any other provision in these Bylaws unless the purposes of these Bylaws cannot be achieved in the absence of the invalid provision.
A. For questions about these Bylaws and about uses of the Town Forest, please contact the Hampton Conservation Commission (603-929-5808)
B. Please report any reckless or dangerous behavior to the Hampton Police Department (603-929-4444)
What it means: Open spaces on town-owned land known as “Twelve Shares” were designated as a Town Forest via voter approval of a Warrant Article in 2015. The By-Laws in Article 37, if passed by the voters, would specify permitted and non-permitted uses of the Town Forest.
Those in favor say: Setting out these basic rules is being done with the intention of making the Town Forest safe for all residents to enjoy.
Those against say: An attendee at Deliberative Session spoke against the prohibition of target shooting on town land. He proposed an amendment to remove that restriction, but the amendment was defeated.
Fiscal Impact: No tax impact.