Mount Washington Cog Railway in the Alpine Zone, New Hampshire
Cog Railway Hotel Proposal, Mount Washington – The owner of the Mount Washington Cog Railway is again proposing a restaurant and hotel accommodations on New Hampshire's Mount Washington. However, this project is a little different than the 35-room hotel proposal he made a few years ago. The Cog Railway owns a 99-foot-wide strip of land that straddles the railroad from the Cog Railway Station to the summit of Mount Washington. These accommodations would be built within this strip of land, below the summit.
In the new proposal, 18 rail cars would be placed at 5,800 feet at a station from mid-May through mid-October. Some of the rail cars would be dining cars, and nine of them will be sleeper cars that can accommodate up to 70 guests. And because the station isn’t on the actual summit of Mount Washington (6,288 feet), the Cog Railway will have a daily train dedicated to transporting passengers back and forth from the new station to the summit. If approved, this estimated $14 million dollar project could take up to 7 years to complete.
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.
Beware of Vandalism – New Hampshire
Vandalism, White Mountains – I have been reminiscing about all the conversations I have had this year. And a common topic among many outdoor enthusiasts is all the vandalism in the White Mountains. So today’s blog article focuses on the keyword search term “vandalism”. And this imagery is intended to create awareness for a very concerning issue here in the New Hampshire White Mountains. However, keep in mind that some outdoor enthusiasts feel some of the below acts of vandalism are perfectly acceptable.
When creating awareness for the impact we have on the environment, the norm in today’s outdoor world is to use breathtaking landscape photos of a region. But as an environmental / conservation photographer, when creating awareness for the White Mountains environment, I prefer to use photos that show the impact. I believe showing the actual damage leaves a lasting impression on outdoor enthusiasts. And it influences us to practice “Leave No Trace” and be better stewards of the land.
Presidential Range – Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge, New Hampshire
Greed and Selfishness, White Mountains – As the new year progresses, I find myself re-evaluating my values as both an environmental photographer and outdoor enthusiast. The sacred places I love and cherish in the New Hampshire White Mountains are all falling victim to the greedy hand of man.
The trail system is being vandalized in different ways, the fragile alpine zone is being trampled, and designated wilderness areas are under constant attack by the new anti-conservationist movement. And with social media being what it is, many want social recognition, so they leave their mark everywhere in the White Mountains.
Pemigewasset Wilderness from Zeacliff, New Hampshire
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Conservation Success – The 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness is the result of one the greatest conservation laws ever passed; The Wilderness Act. Unlike in today’s world where everyone wants to gut the Wilderness Act for selfish reasons, the creators of the Wilderness Act were truly concerned about the well being of our wild places. The Wilderness Act has protected over 109 million acres across the United States.
Some of you may recognize the above image from Zeacliff Mountain because a similar image is on the cover of the 29th edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide. I look at this image from time to time and think about the solitude I have found in the Pemigewasset Wilderness over the years. I also try to imagine how the Pemigewasset Wilderness would look if it was a 45,000-acre condo development.
Mount Washington Cog Railway – General Area of the Skyline Switch
Cog Railway Hotel Proposal, Mt Washington – As you look at the above image can you imagine a 35 room hotel along the Cog Railway in the area you see? I know, it seems far-fetched. But the reality is the Mount Washington Cog Railway is in the early stages of “possibly” building a lodge and restaurant in the area of the Skyline switch along the railway. I am not joking, a hotel in the fragile alpine zone environment.
Public information suggests the proposed hotel will be along the railroad about a mile below the summit, near the Skyline switch. The Skyline switch is in the above section of the railroad (behind the rock cairn). And the included images help visualize the general area of the proposed hotel building site on Mount Washington.
July 2014, Fresh Cutting – Mt Tecumseh, New Hampshire
Mount Tecumseh Vandalism, Illegal Cutting – When I first went public with the environmental issues on Mount Tecumseh, I was warned that my business would become the focal point of a smear campaign if I continued to cover the issues. After years of covering issues on this mountain, I can say that the harassment I have received has not deterred me from creating awareness for the human impact on Mount Tecumseh.*
According to Forest Service, the cutting on New Hampshire's Mount Tecumseh is illegal, and is considered vandalism to National Forest land. As far as I know, Forest Service's law enforcement division is still actively investigating the cutting. For my involvement, as a photographer, I have been unofficially volunteering my time to document the cutting. I am against this type of vandalism, and report any findings to Forest Service.
New Staircase (2016) – Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire
Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire – For five years (2011-2016), I documented issues on Mt Tecumseh in New Hampshire. In my opinion, what has happened to the Mt Tecumseh Trail over the last few years is a disgusting display of conservation and trail stewardship. The new stonework built along this trail is all about quantity, not quality, and I question what low impact, sustainable, trail work is.
In August 2016, for the second time since 2012, the Pemigewasset District of Forest Service, at the request of the Washington Office, inspected the ongoing stonework along the Mt Tecumseh Trail. According to a letter I received from Forest Service Supervisor, Tom Wagner, the stonework is “satisfactory” for Forest Service Trail construction standards. And they did find issues that would be taken care of in the future. The definition of satisfactory is “fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect.”