Weeks Act Exhibit – Plymouth State University

Beebe River Railroad - Harp Switch Stand along the old Beebe River Railroad in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire USA. This was an logging railroad, which operated from 1917 - 1942.
Beebe River Logging Railroad – Remnants of a Harp Switch Stand
 

April 4, 2010 – Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University to view the Weeks Act Exhibit. The exhibit, runs from March 3 – April 11, 2010 and is free to the public. The purpose of the exhibit is to celebrate the centennial of the Weeks Act, which is in 2011. Plus it will help create awareness for what the White Mountains once were and what they are now. The weeks act, signed in 1911 essentially allows the federal government to purchase land and to manage the purchased lands as national forests. 

Sawyer River Logging Railroad - Sawyer River Trail which follows the old Sawyer River Logging Railroad line in Livermore, New Hampshire USA.
Sawyer River Railroad  – The Sawyer River Trail follows the old railroad bed
 

During the years of the timber barons groups of people started to realize the importance of “Protecting the Wilderness” and the conservation fight started. John Weeks, a U.S. Representative born in New Hampshire is responsible for introducing the bill into congress and following it through until it was passed into law.

Pemigewasset Wilderness - Black Brook Trestle  (Trestle 16) along the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire USA just pass the old Camp 16 location. This was a logging railroad which operated from 1893 - 1948.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Black Brook Trestle
 

Without the Weeks Act, the White Mountains of New Hampshire would still be tramped by loggers and their equipment. Only the twenty-first century logger would be carrying a chain saw! Cleared mountain sides, railroad tracks leading into the Pemi Wilderness and locomotives pulling loads of logs from the forest are a thing of the past.

Zealand Notch  - Scenic views along the Appalachian Trail ( -Ethan Pond Trail -  ) during the summer months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. This trail follows the old Zealand Valley Railroad bed, which was a logging railroad in operation from 1884-1897.
Zealand Valley Railroad – The Appalachian Trail follows the railroad bed in the notch
 

The national forests will always be protected for future generations. For outdoor enthusiasts this probably is the most important law ever passed! The centennial of the Weeks act is more than just a celebration. It is conservation in it's finest form!

More info on the Weeks Act:
www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/Policy/WeeksAct/index.aspx

The Weeks Act Exhibit is open until April 11, so stop by the Silver Center and check it out!
You can also view the on-line Weeks Act Exhibit below:
http://www.plymouth.edu/gallery/weeks-act/ 

View ScenicNH Photography's logging railroad image collection below:
Logging railroads of the White Mountains, New Hampshire

On a side note, I also visited the Karl Drerup Art Gallery on the same day and viewed the works of Plymouth students who entered their art into the “The Juried Student Exhibition”.  All I can say is WOW!  Breathtaking, stunning and impressive are only a few words that describe my visit to the gallery. Every artist that submitted work should be proud. Absolutely impressive!

Happy image making..

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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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