Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge (before Irene) – Pemi Wilderness, New Hampshire
Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge final decision was made in September 2018. The bridge will be removed without replacement (Alternative 1). Written in November 2015, during the bridge removal review process, the below article lists reasons as to why I support removing the bridge. This is a win for wilderness conservation.
Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge, My Viewpoint – Like many in the New England outdoor community, I have been closely following the Thoreau Falls Trail bridge removal project. I have had interesting conversations as to why the bridge should be replaced, but nothing yet has changed my position, I support removing the bridge from the Pemigewasset Wilderness. I wrote about the issue of this bridge being located in a designated wilderness area back in June, and you can read that blog article here.
It has been brought to my attention that Forest Service is still accepting comments, so I want to pass that along to anyone interested in commenting. Supporters and non-supporters of the bridge removal, if you did not send in comments during the comment period, you still can send them, but do it soon. Today, I am going to share my reasoning as to why I believe the Thoreau Falls Trail bridge should not be replaced. Maybe my comments will influence you to write a letter in support of the bridge removal to Forest Service.
Thoreau Falls Bridge – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Thoreau Falls Trail, Proposed Bridge Removal – The final decision on the Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge project was made in September 2018. The bridge will be removed without replacement (Alternative 1). This is a win for wilderness conservation. Written in June 2015, the below article focuses on the bridge project.
In August of 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused massive erosion damage to the White Mountains trail system in New Hampshire. Some trails were damaged so badly that they have been permanently closed (Flume Brook Trail in Waterville Valley has been decommissioned). And to this day trail crews are still repairing Irene damaged trails.
Deep in the 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness, at North Fork junction, along the Thoreau Falls Trail, a beloved bridge that crosses the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. The bridge is now listed to be dismantled on the Forest Services Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA). A final decision should haven been made by the end of 2015, but it now appears the decision won’t be made until 2018 (this is updated information).
November 2013, Pemi Wilderness Suspension Bridge Removal Update – The remaining debris from the Pemi Wilderness suspension bridge removal project, along the East Branch of the Pemi, in the New Hampshire White Mountains appears to have been removed out of the designated wilderness area. The debris is now outside of the wilderness boundary along the Pemi East Side Trail. However, some debris does remain at the Black Brook bridge site, which was also removed during this project.
Since 2009, when the bridge was removed, I have been making regular trips to the bridge site to document the progress of debris removal. Unforeseen issues turned the debris removal into a 3 + year long project. You can view a slideshow here showing the progression of debris removal over the last 3 years from the bridge site.
Pemigewasset Wilderness Steel Beam Bridge – 2010
December 2011, Pemi Wilderness Steel Bridge Removal Update – Along with the removal of the suspension bridge that crossed the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in the Pemi Wilderness of New Hampshire, a steel beam footbridge that crossed Black Brook along the Wilderness Trail was also removed.
Dismantling of the steel bridge took place in 2010 and the 0.7 mile of the Wilderness Trail in between the two bridges was also closed. This footbridge is not to be confused with the historic timber Trestle 16 of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, which is located next to the footbridge. The timber trestle will not be touched.
Pemigewasset Wilderness Suspension Bridge Site – August 2011
August 2011, Pemi Wilderness Suspension Bridge Removal Update – Since the last update in April 2011 a couple more volunteer groups supervised by Forest Service have ventured into the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire to remove bridge debris from the 180 foot suspension bridge site. It was dismantled in late 2009 because of safety issues and to date debris remains at the site.
Pemigewasset Wilderness Suspension Bridge – The pile gets smaller
April 2011, Pemi Wilderness Suspension Bridge Removal Update – The Plymouth State College Adventure Education Club spent a weekend in March 2011 removing roughly a 1000 lbs (+ / -) of the remaining bridge material from the 180 foot long suspension bridge site in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire.
The club took advantage of the winter season and used sleds to drag material out to the Wilderness Boundary. Though, material remains it is great to see groups like this making a difference. Great job to the Adventure Education Club! Click here to see progress.
Pemigewasset Wilderness – 180 Foot Suspension Bridge
September 2009, Pemi Wilderness Suspension Bridge Removal Update – Quick update on the Pemigewasset Wilderness Bridge Removal. It has been decided that both bridges will be removed. Forest Service plans on having the suspension bridge dismantled before December.
You can read the decision memo here. You can read my full write-up on the removal of the bridge here. And to see the suspension bridge site click here.