June 2009, Pemigewasset Wilderness Bridge Removal Proposal

Pemigewasset Wilderness -180 foot Suspension bridge, which spans the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River along the Wilderness Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire USA. This footbridge is located at the Trestle 17 location along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, which was an logging railroad in operation from 1893 - 1948.
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Wilderness Trail – 180 Foot Suspension Bridge 
 

June 2009, Pemi Wilderness Suspension Bridge Removal Proposal – Here in the White Mountains of New Hampshire there is a buzz about the removal of the 180 foot long suspension bridge, which crosses the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The suspension bridge is located along the Wilderness Trail about a half mile past its junction with the Bondcliff Trail.

Pemigewasset Wilderness -180 foot Suspension bridge, which spans the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River along the Wilderness Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire USA. This footbridge is located at the Trestle 17 location along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, which was an logging railroad in operation from 1893 - 1948.
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Wilderness Trail – 180 Foot Suspension Bridge 
 

The main reason for the proposed removal is because the bridge has become a safety hazard. The boards are decaying, and there is currently a two person limit on it. I always wonder if I am going to break through the boards as I walk across the bridge. It creaks and cracks like no other suspension bridge in the area. Removal of the suspension bridge would remove a man-made structure in a wilderness designated area.

Pemigewasset Wilderness -180 foot Suspension bridge, which spans the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River along the Wilderness Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire USA. This footbridge is located at the Trestle 17 location along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, which was an logging railroad in operation from 1893-1948.
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Wilderness Trail – 180 Foot Suspension Bridge 
 

What seems to be overlooked and not of interest to anyone is the steel framed foot bridge that crosses Black Brook (Bear Brook on older maps) will also be removed during this project. This foot bridge is located next to the historical Trestle 16, which was part of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad. The timber trestle will not be touched. After removal of these bridges is completed, the 0.7 mile section of the Wilderness Trail between the Bondcliff Trail and the suspension bridge will be closed for revegatation.

Pemigewasset Wilderness - Footbridge next to the J.E. Henry Railroad Trestle (Black Brook Trestle or Trestle 16 is proper name) on the side of the Wilderness Trail.Located in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Wilderness Trail – Black Brook Footbridge 
 

Both bridges are located in a wilderness protection area. Wilderness areas are governed under the National Wilderness Preservation System, and the Wilderness Act of 1964, which have very strict guidelines when it comes to man made structures in wilderness protection areas.

It will be a shame to see these bridges removed because they provide access to pristine wilderness. Its more of a public safety issue than Forest Service wanting to tear down a man made object in a wilderness area.

The Forest Service is listening to everyone's ideas and allowing public input on the matter. So if you want to say something speak up ASAP! You can read the scoping report at The Forest Service's website here.

Just think there could be a paved road and bridge that allows vehicles to cross this area instead. The road could be called "Wilderness Road" and the suspension bridge removal would not be discussed today.

All of the above images can be licensed for publications by clicking on the image you are interested in. And you can view more images of the suspension bridge here.

Happy image making..


 

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References: Pemi Wilderness, Wilderness Trail suspension bridge removal project

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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