Posts Categorized: Human Impact on Nature

2016 White Mountains Projects

Scenic view along the Mt Parker Trail near the summit of Mount Resolution in the White Mountains. This is an great trail to hike during the summer and winter seasons.
Mt Parker Trail – Mount Resolution, New Hampshire

2016 White Mountains Projects – I have been trying to decide what I want my first blog article of the year to be about. With the start of the New Year, and everyone making resolutions for 2016, I initially wanted to fire everyone up by showing you some disturbing human impact scenes, but the article isn’t coming together as I like so I have moved on from that for now.

Last year, I publicly shared the environmental issues I would be documenting in 2015, and today I want to share with you a few of the projects I will be shooting in 2016. These projects are only a portion of what I will be shooting this year, but they will help give you a better understanding of my lifestyle as a working photographer. This will be the first year in a number of years that I will not be shooting many human impact issues.

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Sustainable Trail Work, White Mountains

Open stone culvert along the Mount Tecumseh Trail in New Hampshire.
Open Stone Culvert – Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire

Sustainable Trail Work, White Mountains – Here in New Hampshire, all we hear about is environmental friendly and sustainable trail work. And how important it is to conserve the trails for future generations. As an environmental photographer, I support this approach to preserving the trail system. And up until a few years ago, I have always believed that the organizations maintaining our trails practiced what they preached.

I recently made my monthly hike to Mt Tecumseh to photograph the summit vandalism. I was on the Tecumseh Trail after a rainstorm and was surprised at how many open culverts (water bars) were dry. The purpose of a trail culvert is to drain water off and away from the trail, and the culverts included in this blog article were all dry.

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Standing Up For The White Mountains

Appalachian Trail (Gulfside Trail) - A hiker enjoys the sunset from Mount Clay in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Appalachian Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire

Standing Up For The White Mountains – Every year, I document a number of environmental issues in the White Mountains. And to start the New Year I am going to publicly share the four issues I will be documenting thus year. The rest of my time will be focused on the scenic White Mountains and New England region. This year I decided to just continue creating imagery for the visual journals that I have worked on for the last few years. Below are links to the journals.

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Kanc 7 Landing Area, Photo Monitoring

Photo Monitoring - Regrowth (foreground) of forest three months after a controlled burn in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
August 2011 – No Landing Area Yet

Kanc 7 Timber Harvest Landing Area, Photo Monitoring – The photos included in this blog article show how a parcel of land in the area of Forest Road 510 along the Kancamagus Highway in the New Hampshire White Mountains has changed over time. The first image (above), taken in August 2011, three months after Forest Service did a controlled burn here, shows how this land parcel looked before it was transformed into a landing area for the Kanc 7 Timber Harvest Project. And the last image is from Auugst 2014.

I am using a technique known as photo monitoring to document this parcel of land. Photo monitoring consists of repeat photography of an area over a period of time. And the ending result is an interesting visual journal that showcases the environmental changes of a particular area.

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Camping Ethics, White Mountains

Poor "Leave No Trace" habits on the the side a Sawyer River Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA.
Sawyer River Trail – White Mountains, NH

Leave No Trace, Camping EthicsThe Leave No Trace program is a very effective program that uses simple principles and common sense to promote back-country camping ethics. Creating awareness for camping ethics is an important part of the program. Feel free to share this blog post with your friends.

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Repaired Trail Blazing, Trail Maintenance

Trail blazing along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. A proper blaze is a two by six inch rectangle. Spills and runs should be wiped away when applied, and once dried runs can be removed using proper techniques. See trail maintenance guidelines if you are unsure on proper blazing protocol. After a trail inspection by Forest Service in June 2012, they (FS) stepped in on the ongoing work. This dripping blaze has been removed by proper parties.
September 2011 – Improper Trail Blazing, Mt Tecumseh Trail

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.

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New Hampshire’s Wild Places & Politics

Autumn foliage from the Boulder Loop Trail.
Mount Chocorua, White Mountain National Forest

New Hampshire's Wild Places & Politics – Is it possible for today's conversation photographers not to get involved with the politics needed to protect New Hampshire's wild places? Ten years ago I would have said yes, but today I just don't know?

For most conservation minded groups, the vision of New Hampshire’s wild places is easy to understand. It is all about protecting the forests from human impact, hence the Wilderness Act. Wilderness protection is a very simple concept, but it ensures future generations will be able to enjoy the national forests. I guess it should be no surprise groups are attempting to invade these wild places for personal benefit.

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Legitimate Flagging, White Mountains

Flagging and yellow blazing on birch tree along the Mount Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. The Mt Tecumseh Trail is a perfect example – For a short time, a number of trees along the trail had unmarked survey flagging tape on them. These flagged trees were part of research being done by one of the local colleges. Once the field research was completed the flagging was removed. Mt Tecumseh Trail seems be the focal point of research because flagging is always on big and small trees along the trail.
Flagging on birch tree along Mt Tecumseh Trail

Legitimate Flagging (survey tape) – On a recent trail inspection with a Forest Service assistant district ranger, one topic of discussion was flagging tape on trees along the trail system of the White Mountains. I want to point out that some of the survey flagging tape you see along trails in the White Mountains marks trees that are being used for research. Much of this flagging has no identifying marks on it, and there is no way to determine its purpose. Once the research is finished, proper parties hike up the trail and remove the flagging.

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