Friends of the Concord - Lake Sunapee Rail Trail

Connecting the communities of Concord, Hopkinton, Warner, Sutton, Bradford and Newbury, NH. Also "Ice cream every 45 minutes."

aka CLSRT, Concord-Lake Sunapee Rail Trail   |   Warner, NH   |


The mission of the Friends of the Concord - Lake Sunapee Rail Trail is to create a multiuse rail trail of 34 miles connecting the New Hampshire communities of Concord, Hopkinton, Warner, Sutton, Bradford and Newbury. Our less formal tagline is, "Ice cream every 45 minutes." Its our way of saying a family riding bikes will come into another village center every 45 minutes and find ice cream and all the other stores and points of interest our region offers.

Notes from the nonprofit

The effort to build the Concord-Lake Sunapee Rail trail started in 2013 as a program of the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH. We separated in 2017 after gaining enough strength and momentum to stand on our own. Our Letter of Determination was received in early November of 2017 with an effective date of March 8th 2017. We are working diligently to take steps that could only be commenced after receiving the Letter of Determination. We encourage you to contact us with any questions at [email protected].
We improved sections of trail in Warner in 2014 and 2017. In 2018 we have projects in Bradford, Hopkinton and Warner. We hope to be building our first Concord section in 2019 among other 2019 projects.
This project is truly a community effort. Only with the support of landowners who support the vision will this trail connect all the way through. Fortunately many are choosing to participate. We completely respect the property rights of all the landowners.

Ruling year info



Mr. Timothy Blagden

Main address

P.O. Box 610

Warner, NH 03278 USA

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NTEE code info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Physical Fitness/Community Recreational Facilities (N30)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are working to create a 34 mile rail trail running through 5 villages with the state capital at one end and a major lake at the other end. Rail trails are multi-use paths established on former railroad beds. They are essentially flat, wide and have good sight lines so everyone feels safe on them. These types of trail provide a corridor for active transportation (biking and walking to get to jobs and essential services). They provide a local recreational resource. Rail trails are sought out by tourists. We believe this trail will become one of the most impactful amenities in the communities through which it passes. It will increase economic development and the quality of life.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Concord-Lake Sunapee Rail Trail Construction

The core elements of the program involve gaining access to the land; designing projects with independent utility; creating project budgets, raising funds to build the project. We also publicize sections we have built and upcoming sections for the purpose of increasing use of the trail and building broader support for additional sections.
We find people of all ages and all abilities using the trail. Cyclists use our trail for both transportation and recreation. Winter use sees quiet sports (cross country skiing, snowshoeing) on all sections and snowmobiles on some sections.
This trail will go directly through the rural villages in Newbury, Bradford, Warner and Contoocook before arriving 2 blocks from downtown Concord (the state capital). It aids economic development.
We see the trail as an outdoor classroom with the potential to document agricultural activities along the trail as well as railroad history, mill history, and flora and fauna of interest along the trail.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Friends of the Concord - Lake Sunapee Rail Trail is trying to take advantage of an abandoned railroad corridor that is little more than graded earth at this point and turn it into a 34 mile jewel for the region. We see this trail as an outdoor classroom that connects users to multiple subjects. Some are interested in railroad history, others in mill history, local agricultural history, current eat local scene, flora & fauna, etc. To achieve our goal we must convince private landowners, municipalities, state and federal landowners that they are all better off with a rail trail as part of their property. We are having success. We are fortunate that with over 22,000 miles of rail trails in the USA many people now know what these are and have been on one somewhere. Please see to learn more about rail trails.
We aim to improve the health of our communities by providing a useful, welcoming, convenient place to exercise.
We aim to reduce inequality by providing an active transportation corridor that will enable people to reach jobs and other destinations at lower cost by biking and walking.
We aim to create a positive economic impact on the communities by creating a trail that will bring in tourists and attract new residents to the area.
We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating a safe and convenient way to move about the region on foot and on bicycles.

Our strategy is to build sections of the trail in multiple communities that are highly visible and relatively lower cost. Each section of the trail we put down has the affect of increasing community demand for more trail and increasing the political will within the communities to tackle more complicated or expensive sections. This is working. Initial efforts started in 2013 with cataloging the property parcels that comprised the trail and determining potential routes for places where the old railroad line was destroyed by interstate and other road construction. In 2014 we constructed a half mile of the trail in Warner NH so people could have the experience of being on a rail trail. We also began the process of obtaining access to more parcels of land. In addition we spent time in municipal meetings up and down the line to raise awareness of the effort and to get the rail trail put on town master plans, get endorsed by town boards (Conservation Commission, Energy Commission, Economic Development Committee, local schools, etc.) We also started to knock on doors of private land owners. In 2017 we constructed three more projects and applied for two grants to build in additional communities. We were awarded both grants in December 2017 and those led to 3/10 of a mile of visible trail in Bradford NH and another 2 miles of trail in Hopkinton & Warner NH which opened in the summer of 2019. We had a groundbreaking on 8/2/19 for a 2.5 mile project in Concord and opened the first phase of that in June of 2020. We were granted NH Community Development Finance Authority Tax Credits to help complete that project during 2023.
We continue to build new trail every year to demonstrate progress.
Having initially launched in 2014 as a program of the the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH we became our own 501c3 with an independent board in 2017.

Friends of the Concord - Lake Sunapee Rail Trail is fortunate to have a very capable board. Tim Blagden ran a statewide advocacy organization, the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH, from 2013-2016 where he gained experience in rail trail development, active transportation project development, policy work, and formed relationships with many people in state and local agencies and government. Prior to his work in the non-profit sector Tim ran international sales for several high tech companies and brings sales, business development, and corporate organizational skills. The rest of the board is far more capable. Attorney Derek Lick works for Sulloway and Hollis and is providing our organization with pro bono legal support as we work with landowners to establish easements for the trail. Secretary Kristen Riley is a senior manager for an educational software company. She's also a graphic artist. She is an expert at organizing distributed teams to deliver highest quality projects on time. Fred Nystrom is a senior project manager and has worked for a railroad. He is project lead on our first project in Hopkinton. David White worked for another railroad. He brings railroad knowledge and transportation knowledge to our board. He is also an entrepreneur who with his wife run a local bread business. Treasurer Jim Sherman has a CPA background and helped finance senior housing projects before retiring. Darryl Parker is a serial entrepreneur providing us with IT services through his Parker Web business. Boyd Smith is executive Director of the NH Water Works Association and spent many years as the Executive Director for the Newfound Lake Region Association. We are successful and will continue to be successful because we are cautious, connected, hard working and sincerely humble when we reflect on the accomplishments the community has enabled us to achieve.

We are working on mile 5.5 of our 34 mile vision and have an additional 4+ miles of easements and access secured. On the ground we have 8/10 of a mile done at Bagley Field in Warner. This included putting a new deck & railings on a 100' steel truss railroad bridge over the Warner River. We have another 3/10 of a mile done in downtown Warner. We successfully raised over $30K to fund those three defined projects. We built 2 miles of trail in Hopkinton that opened in 2019 at a cost of $140K. We partnered with two other organizations on another $41K grant to construct a 1/2 mile of trail in Bradford including a new 70' bridge. We secured access for 2.5 miles of trail in Concord and have constructed 1.25 miles of that with the remaining half slated for 2023. We successfully petitioned the state to declare two parcels of land surplus that were under control of the Department of Transportation so the town of Warner could purchase them and grant us easements to build trail. We successfully convinced the State Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration sell part of the Interstate right-of-way enabling us to use former railroad grade for trail. We are developing that section now. We have a pending request (as of November 2022) for $1.2 million in Congressionally Directed Funding to build a project. Working with the Town of Warner we have taken the first step in applying for a $3 million CMAQ grant to build 1.1 mile of new trail. We make sure we build something every year so people can see progress. We continue to have landowners sign easements for the benefit of the trail because they believe in the vision. 100% of the board donates annually. We have donations from across the state of NH and additional donors from multiple other states. Our formal tagline is "Connecting the communities of Concord, Hopkinton, Warner, Sutton, Bradford and Newbury NH." Our informal tagline is "Ice cream every 45 minutes." which indicates how long it would take a family biking along the trail to go from one village center to the next. And yes, they all have ice cream shops.


Friends of the Concord - Lake Sunapee Rail Trail

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Friends of the Concord - Lake Sunapee Rail Trail

Board of directors
as of 11/15/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Timothy Blagden

Derek Lick

Sulloway & Hollis

Kristen Riley

Micro Focus

Fred Nystrom

David White

YBP Library Services

James Sherman

Innovative Financing Solutions

Boyd Smith

NH Water Works Association

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/25/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data