Welcome to the photoblog of Erin Paul Donovan, a professional photographer located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire USA.
Specializing in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography mainly in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Image archive consists of forgotten history and landscape scenes of the White Mountains and New England region.
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.
Trail Work, Poor Trail Blaze Removal Practices– Since 2011, I have been making regular trips to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire to photograph a yellow birch tree that has fallen victim to vandalism. The damaged tree, when ascending the trail, is on the right just after exiting the Irene reroute. I am using repeat photography to show the impact of improper trail blaze removal. This type of photography is useful for educating land stewards and others about responsible environmental stewardship.
In October 2011, I documented newly applied trail blazing (above) along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley. Sometime in the spring of 2012, the blaze on the left side of the yellow birch tree in the above image was improperly removed from the tree. And a large wound (below) where rot, fungus, and insects could enter the tree was visible. The bark, where the blaze was, appeared to have been cut and peeled away from the tree.
Trail Work Erosion, White Mountains – The included images show how a section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the New Hampshire White Mountains has elapsed over time. The first two images are from October 2011 and the last image is from October 2017. The intent of this visual journal is to record the progression of hillside erosion on the left-hand side of the trail and to document how this section of trail holds up to foot traffic.
I am using a technique known as photo monitoring to document this section of trail. Photo monitoring consists of repeat photography of an area over a period of time. Photo monitoring is used in land management to help recognize issues that are not immediately obvious from one or two visits to a location. The ending result is a permanent visual record and journal that showcases the environmental changes of a particular location.
Davis Path Reconstruction – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Davis Path, AMC Trail Work – In July of 2012, I had the opportunity to hike into the Dry River Wilderness in the New Hampshire White Mountains to photograph stonework that is being built along the Davis Path. A professional AMC Trail crew, with the help of volunteers, is working on a trail project repairing heavy erosion damage along a section of Davis Path.
With the use of low impact practices and adhering to trail maintenance guidelines, this trail crew is doing an outstanding job repairing the trail. The stonework looks excellent, blends in well with its surroundings, and should last for years. The care being taken to conserve Davis Path is awesome. Kudos to the trail crew!
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.
October 2011 – New completed stonework / hillside stands out
Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire – Today I hiked the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley to photograph a section of fairly new stonework. In October of 2011 I was asked to photograph this work, and at the time I questioned the quality of work, so I have continued to photograph it. The included photos show that the hillside is collapsing, and the steps are not holding up. This section will need to be maintained indefinitely or properly fixed.
Rock Cairns: A rock cairn is defined as a pile of rocks that marks the location of a hiking trail. They vary in size from one foot to massive piles of rocks. Many rock cairns in the alpine zone of the Presidential Range are impressive eye-catching pieces of art. They are found throughout the White Mountains of New Hampshire and make great photo subjects. Above is a slideshow of rock cairns found along the White Mountains trail system.
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