National Trails Day, White Mountains

Low impact trail work for National Trails Day - Freshly cut blowdown along the Mt Kinsman Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Blowdown – Mt Kinsman Trail, White Mountains
 

National Trails Day, White Mountains – Today is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, an annual event held on the first Saturday in June. And the intention of this day is to celebrate and create awareness for America's Trail system. Today is also a day to recognize the work of volunteers who do trail maintenance along the trails. On this day events are held in every state, and range from biking, hiking, picking up trash, to doing volunteer trail work.

Today, I am going to limit the photography talk. And use this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who put in countless hours to make the trails of the White Mountains better. Without your dedication, the trails in the White Mountains really would be in shambles, and I think some trails would be abandoned.

Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness - Newly built stone steps along the Davis Path during the summer months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. This is an example of how a professional AMC trail crew does low impact stone work.
Stonework – Davis Path, White Mountains
 

As a hiker of the New Hampshire White Mountains, I appreciate what volunteers do for the trail system. You take time away from your families and use what limited free time you have in life to make the trails better for everyone. And you expect nothing in return and don't want recognition for your selfless acts of volunteerism. These are characteristics of a true volunteer that cares about the well-being of the White Mountains.

Greenleaf Trail near the summit of Mount Lafayette in extreme weather conditions during the winter months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. Strong winds cause the snow to blow sideways.
Rock Cairn – Greenleaf Trail, White Mountains
 

The rock cairns you build in the alpine zones keep hikers on established paths and guide them up and down the mountains. They have guided me safely home more than once in whiteout conditions. And the scree walls you help build along trails in the alpine zones protect the fragile alpine environment and will be in place for years to come.

Appalachian Trail -Alpine Tundra System along the Franconia Ridge Trail near Little Haystack Mountain during the late summer months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. Mounts Flume and Liberty are off in the distance. Scree walls line the trail edge and are used to protect the fragile environment.
Scree Wall – Appalachian Trail, Franconia Ridge
 

As an environmental photographer, I photograph a lot of trail work in the White Mountains that is done both by volunteers and professional trail crews and with the exception of a few trails the work is excellent. One of the finest representations of craftsmanship and trail stewardship are the ladders on Willey Range Trail (below).

Trail ladders along the Willey Range Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. These trail ladders were made from logs
Ladders – Willey Range Trail, White Mountains
 

In this day and age, trail volunteers have to set a positive example, so our children will be interested in trail stewardship. And as the younger generation gets involved with volunteer work, I hope they are taught that volunteering isn’t about making a name for yourself or bragging rights. It is about doing a selfless act to better the White Mountains.

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image. And you can view more images of hiking trails here.

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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