White Mountains Environmental Photography


2020 Year in Review, White Mountains

The Pemigewasset River near the Flume Visitor Center in Franconia Notch State Park in Lincoln, New Hampshire covered in snow on a cloudy autumn day.
Pemigewasset River – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

2020 Year in Review, White Mountains – As the year comes to an end, I am still trying to understand this pandemic. And I am also still trying to grasp how badly overrun the White Mountains have been this year. While there appears to be a vaccine for the virus, there is no immediate solution for the current human impact issue here in the White Mountains.

If you live in the White Mountains region, did you ever think the outdoor community would be fighting about the definition of “local” and vehicles at trailheads being vandalized just because they have out-of-state license plates? With social media fueling the fire, this year has been an awful display of what the White Mountains outdoor community is all about. For better or worse, social media has changed outdoor recreation.

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Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad

Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad in the New Hampshire White Mountains.
Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad – Incorporated in March 1909, this short-lived logging railroad was operated by the Woodstock Lumber Company, a subsidy of the Parker-Young Company. It began at the Woodstock Lumber Company’s sawmill (built by the Publishers Paper Company) on the western bank of the Pemigewasset River in Woodstock, New Hampshire. From the mill, it traveled roughly 7 miles into the Eastman Brook drainage, traveling through the northern portion of Thornton*, known as the “Gore”, ending in Livermore.

For a couple of years before the railroad was built, horse teams were used to drag logs out of the forest to the Woodstock sawmill. But once the Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad was established, the Iron Horse took over the duties. Some of Tripoli Road and Little East Pond Trail utilize the old railroad bed. Three Shay geared locomotives, all 50-tonners, were used on the railroad, and the track equipment was leased from the Boston & Maine Railroad.

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2020 Human Impact, White Mountains

2020 human impact, mask hanging from a tree along the Georgiana Falls Path in Lincoln, New Hampshire during the summer of 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic).
COVID-19 Pandemic – White Mountains, New Hampshire (Sept. 2020)
 

2020 Human Impact, White Mountains – During these strange times, like many of you, I have been trying to stay safe and worrying about family and friends. I also have watched the New Hampshire White Mountains get trashed over the last few months. While human impact (overuse) is not a new problem here in the White Mountains, it has gotten much worse during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Being a native of New Hampshire, I hate seeing the White Mountains being treated so poorly. I have never seen such a lack of respect for nature. However, overuse has been a problem throughout the history of the White Mountains. And with the surge in outdoor recreation in the 21st-century, this was bound to happen again. And even in today’s conservation minded-society, there is still no easy solution to the problem.

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Identifying Artifacts, White Mountains

An axe head, a protected artifact, near logging Camp 2 of the abandoned Sawyer River Railroad (1877-1928) in Livermore, New Hampshire.
Axe Head – Livermore, New Hampshire
 

Identifying Historical Artifacts, White Mountains – If you are picking up trash in the New Hampshire White Mountains during the 2020 human impact issue, please educate yourself about historical artifacts and the laws that protect them. I now know of two instances where do-gooders picking up trash removed artifacts, thinking they were trash, from the White Mountain National Forest.

Many of the metal objects (horseshoes, metal strapping, railroad spikes, stoves, tins, etc.), glass bottles, trestle remains, and numerous other objects along the White Mountains trail system are protected artifacts. These artifacts should be left where you found them; they help tell the story of the early settlers, farming communities, and logging railroads that once were in the White Mountains. The included photos show some of the various artifacts you could come across while out hiking.

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Ammonoosuc River Waterfalls

Reflection of Mount Washington in Lakes of the Clouds along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Lakes of the Clouds – Mount Washington, New Hampshire
 

Ammonoosuc River Waterfalls, White Mountains – Beginning at Lakes of the Clouds on Mount Washington in Sargent’s Purchase, this roughly 55 mile long river travels through a number of towns before draining into the Connecticut River at Woodsville in the town of Haverhill. Ammonoosuc is an Abenaki word meaning “fish place” or “small narrowing fishing place". The Abenaki fished and camped along the river.

Protected under the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program, the Ammonoosuc River is managed in accordance with RSA 483. The portion of the Ammonoosuc River from Lower Falls in Carroll to the Connecticut River in Woodsville was added to the program in 2007. And the portion from Lakes of the Clouds to Lower Falls, known as the Upper Reach watershed, was added to the program in 2009. This work focuses mainly on the Upper Reach section of the river.

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East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Utility Poles

Artifact (utility pole) in the area of Camp 17 along the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948 in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Standing Utility Pole, Camp 17 Area
 

East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Utility Poles – Telephone wires were strung from utility poles along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) to the numerous logging camps. In some areas along the railroad, side mounted wooden telephone peg holder pins nailed directly to trees were used in place of utility poles. Today, these utility poles are considered artifacts of the White Mountains logging era.

While this blog article focuses only on the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, other logging railroads in the White Mountains used the same approach described above. And remnants of utility poles can still be found along some of the other railroads. However, as nature slowly reclaims the East Branch & Lincoln territory, standing utility poles are becoming a rarity.

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Sanders Bridge, Randolph Path

Sanders Bridge along the Randolph Path in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months.
Sanders Bridge (2006) – Randolph Path, White Mountains
 

Sanders Bridge, Randolph Path – The Sanders Bridge crosses Cold Brook along the Randolph Path in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire. It is a memorial to Miriam Sanders, who was treasurer of the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) for many years. The RMC maintains this rustic looking wooden bridge.

Originally built in 1976, the Sanders Bridge has had repairs over the years. In 2017, when the RMC did repairs to it, students from Burke Mountain Academy transported materials to the bridge site. If you have spent any time on the trail system in the Northern Presidential Range, you are likely aware of the RMC and their dedication to conserving the trails that they maintain.

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