Repaired Trail Blazing, Trail Maintenance – Some of the issues along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley New Hampshire have been addressed and corrected by Forest Service. I commend Forest Service for correcting issues along this trail. And it is satisfying to know they are taking the needed steps to improve the White Mountains trail system.
In 2011, while hiking the Mt Tecumseh Trail, I noted a trail blazing issue, so I reported it to Forest Service. The trail blazing was not per trail maintenance guidelines and ruined the overall beauty of the trail. The Ranger who looked into it and responded, via email, stated a bad can of paint was the cause. Included in this blog article are before & after photos of the trail blazing that was removed.
After a trail inspection of the Mt Tecumseh Trail in June 2012 by Forest Service Assistant District Ranger Tom Giles, properly trained parties corrected issues found along the trail. And they also removed the excessive trail blazing that I reported. Hopefully, the remaining issues will be addressed in the future.
You can see in the included images that they took the time to properly remove the excessive trail blazing without damaging the bark of the trees. In time the removed trail blazing will fade away. And we will never know it was ever on the tree.
When painted trail blazes are removed from a tree sometimes the area of the tree that had the blaze on it is painted over with a color that is similar to the tree bark. But in this case, no cover up paint was used. As you can see in these images, they were able to remove most of the paint from the trees, so cover up paint was unneeded. You can see an example of when cover up paint was used here.
One of the trail blazes along the trail was placed on the tree about two feet off the ground (above) making it useless. When painting a blaze on a tree, the general rule is to paint the blaze about head height on trees.
Proper trail blazing protocol seems to vary some among the trail maintenance organizations, but the ending result is the same. If interested in reading up on trail blazing protocol see the Randolph Mountain Club’s trail blazing protocol page here. I consider them be the best trail maintenance organization in the White Mountains.
Some unneeded stonework (above) in the lower section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail, at the start of the Tropical Storm Irene reroute, was also removed. The rock walls on each side of the trail may have been intended to guide hikers to the reroute, really unneeded. Once a solid foot path formed in this section the walls no longer severed a purpose, so they were removed (below).
If you come across any issues along the White Mountains trail system, report them directly to Forest Service. Reporting your concerns directly to them guarantees proper parties have been made aware of the issue. And you can do it anonymously if you are concerned about having your name dragged through the internet mud.
For the inspiring environmental photographer, though not always possible, before and after shots are excellent for documenting locations that are going through changes. This kind of imagery can also be used as an educational tool to promote responsible land stewardship.
To license the above images for usage in publications, click on the image. And you can view these before and after photos in a slideshow presentation here.
Happy image making..
My reportage of issues on Mt Tecumseh has upset a small circle of hikers. These hikers all have a connection to Tecumseh, and since reporting these issues to Forest Service, they have been bad mouthing my business. I know none of these hikers or the persons working this trail. And no matter what is said, the imagery tells the story.
The information included here is based on Forest Service’s protocol for trail blazing. (updated 04/2018).