Trestle No. 16 (2010), East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Pemigewasset Wilderness
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Random History – This designated wilderness is the result of one the greatest conservation laws ever passed; the Wilderness Act, which has protected over 109 million acres across the United States. While the history of New Hampshire's Pemigewasset Wilderness mostly revolves around the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, the railroad is not the only interesting piece of history surrounding this unique region of the White Mountains. This blog article features random tidbits of history about this one of a kind designated wilderness area.
One of the grandest pieces of New Hampshire logging railroad history, trestle No. 16 (above) collapsed in late May or early June 2018. Spanning Black Brook, it stood for over 100 years and became a favorite attraction among outdoor enthusiasts. Logging railroads were built to be temporary and its remarkable that this trestle stood for as long as it did. The last log train rolled over this trestle most likely in the summer or fall of 1946.
Owls Head – Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire
Definition of Wilderness, White Mountains – I am currently working on a project that has brought me back into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This wilderness is governed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act of 1964. And because it is designated wilderness, it has the highest level of protection for federal lands. The recreational opportunities, historical value, and educational platform the Pemigewasset Wilderness offers will educate outdoor enthusiasts for many years to come. It is important that visitors to the region know that the six designated wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest are managed differently than the rest of the National Forest. This is where the Wilderness Act comes into play.
Franconia Brook Trail (old railroad bed) – Pemi Wilderness, New Hampshire
Trails of the Pemigewasset Wilderness – At 45,000-acres, the Pemigewasset Wilderness (the Pemi) is one of six designated wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest. Wilderness areas are governed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act of 1964. And they are managed much differently than other parts of the National Forest.
Permanent improvements are not allowed, trail work is minimal, and there are strict guidelines when it comes to man-made structures in designated wilderness areas. Bridges are a convenience in wilderness areas, not mandatory. And bicycles are not allowed in these areas, and trail work can only be done with non-motorized hand tools. Preserving the natural character of a wilderness area is the objective.
Sunrise & Storm Clouds – Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Storm Clouds, White Mountains – What is a New England photographer to do when the weather is less than ideal and not perfect photography conditions? A photographer could stay home and dream of beautiful puffy clouds as a backdrop, but that is not the way to build a strong image archive. As a photographer, the one thing I have learned over the years is to work with whatever mother nature throws at me on any given day.
Now I am not suggesting photographers put themselves in harms way to get the shot. But I do think marketable images can be created in poor weather conditions. New England photographers, focused on the outdoors, who only shoot in perfect photography conditions are limiting their production rate.
Stormy Weather, Bondcliff – White Mountains, NH
Perspective, Pemigewasset Wilderness – One of the challenges of a photographer focused on the New England environment is finding a different perspective of locations that have been photographed thousands of times. I approach this issue by focusing on entire areas, such as the Pemigewasset Wilderness, and not just one popular location within the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The included photos show a perspective of the 45,000 acre Pemigewasset Wilderness you may have never seen.
The above shot of a hiker surrounded by storm clouds on New Hampshire's Bondcliff Mountain shows a side of the wilderness some don't see. Most photos from Bondcliff show the scenic landscape. And there is nothing wrong with this, but so many scenic shots exist that a stormy weather shot will make the viewer look twice.