Posts Categorized: White Mountains Issues



Mount Tecumseh, 4000 Footers Hiking List

The village of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire during the autumn months. Mt Tecumseh is in the background. This mountain is named for the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh  (c.1768–1813).
Mount Tecumseh (2012) – Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
 

Mount Tecumseh, 4000 Footers Hiking List – On the same day that I publicized my Owl’s Head, Conserving Wilderness article, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) posted an article about some of the mountains on the White Mountain 4000 footers hiking list may not be over 4,000 feet. Being over 4,000 feet is one of the criteria for a mountain to be on the list. While our articles focus on different mountains on the hiking list, they both suggest that the time is coming for the AMC 4000 footer club to reevaluate the hiking list.

Lidar, a laser based technology, is currently being used to remap the White Mountains. This technology is very accurate at determining mountain elevations. And it was made public that the Lidar data is indicating that at least one mountain, Mount Tecumseh, is under the 4,000 foot criteria. According to the data Tecumseh is 3,995 feet, not 4,003 feet. Will the Lidar data reveal that Mount Isolation (4,004 feet) and Mount Waumbek (4,006 feet) are also below the 4,000 foot criteria?

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Owl’s Head, Conserving Wilderness

Owls Head and the Pemigewasset Wilderness from the Franconia Ridge Trail in New Hampshire.
Owl's Head from Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire
 

Owl’s Head, Conserving Wilderness – This remote 4025-foot mountain in the western region of the federally designated Pemigewasset Wilderness creates much debate. The controversy isn’t really about Owl’s Head its more about wilderness management. Hikers unhappy with the management of the Pemigewasset Wilderness use Owl’s Head as a stepping stone to criticize the Wilderness Act.

Established in 1984 under the New Hampshire Wilderness Act, the 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness is managed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act. Considered to be one of the greatest conservation laws ever passed, the Wilderness Act has protected over 109 million acres across the United States. And yet some are against the Wilderness Act.

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A Wilderness Bridge vs. an Alpine Zone Hotel

Mount Washington from the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Mount Washington Cog Railway – General Area of the Skyline Switch
 

A Wilderness Bridge vs. an Alpine Zone Hotel – Talk throughout the White Mountains and New England has been about a proposal made by the Cog Railway to “possibly” build a hotel and restaurant on the side of Mount Washington. The proposal itself has created disbelief among many. And I have to admit that I am still shocked that a group would even consider damaging the fragile alpine environment to expand a business venture.

But the reality is this scenario has been playing out throughout the White Mountains in different ways. There are many examples, but the best one is the proposed removal of the footbridge along the Thoreau Falls Trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The Thoreau Falls Trail bridge has become a safety concern, and Forest Service has proposed to remove it. Much like the proposed hotel it has become a heated issue.

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Cog Railway Hotel Proposal, Mt Washington

Mount Washington from Mount Clay in Thompson and Meserve's Purchase, New Hampshire.
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. I believe the Skyline switch is in the above section of the railroad (behind the rock cairn). The included images help visualize the general area of the proposed hotel building site on Mount Washington.

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Mount Tecumseh Vandalism, Illegal Cutting

Stumps of trees illegally cut in 2013 are cut flush with the ground on the summit of Mount Tecumseh in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.
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.

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Mittersill Terrain Improvement Project

View of the Mittersill Terrain Improvement Project, on Mittersill Mountain, from the summit of Bald Mountain in the New Hampshire White Mountains during the spring months. For the last few years, Cannon Mountain and Franconia Ski Club have been working on the Mittersill Terrain Improvement Project. The focus of this project is to create a world-class training and racing slope on Baron’s Run.
View of Mittersill Mountain – Franconia, New Hampshire
 

Mittersill Terrain Improvement Project – Over the last few years, Cannon Mountain and the Franconia Ski Club have been working on an improvement project to better the ski terrain on the Mittersill side of Cannon Mountain. The focus of the project is to create a world-class training and racing slope on Baron’s Run. Based on the little I know abut the project, it seems like it will benefit the ski area and the younger generation of skiers.

But not all are happy with this project and with the way Cannon Mountain operates. And great lengths are being taken to create the illusion that Cannon Mountain is a money sucking worthless enterprise that is costing New Hampshire taxpayers millions. Maybe it is time to consider building condos on Cannon Mountain (joking).

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Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge, My Viewpoint

Side view of footbridge along the Thoreau Falls Trail, at North Fork Junction, in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire. This bridge is supported by two large white pines and crosses the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River.
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.

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