Posts Tagged: leave no trace



Human Impact, White Mountains

Impact photo of glass bottles thrown in the forest of Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham, New Hampshire.
Green Glass Bottles – New Hampshire
 

Human Impact, White Mountains – I usually write a few blog articles a year that are focused on the impact we have on the environment, and today is a good day for one. I have always felt that in order to get people to care more for the environment photographers have to show the impact that is happening in the world.

Every day beautiful landscape photos of the New Hampshire White Mountains are posted on all the social networking websites, and this creates a false belief that the White Mountains are in a state of pristine condition. In life, and as an environmental photographer, I'm a realist, and I don’t believe in this fantasy world approach to conservation. Today, I am going to share with you a few unflattering images of the White Mountains.

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Trail Work, Bad Trail Blaze Removal Practices

October 2011 - Trail blaze along the Mount Tecumseh Trail (ski area side) in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
October 2011 – New Trail Blaze, Mt Tecumseh Trail
 

Trail Work, Bad 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.

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Trail Work, Erosion Monitoring

October 2011 - Newly installed stonework along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. After an inspection by FS in June 2012, it has been suggested this issue (large holes on left) will need to be corrected by a professional trail crew. In less than one year the hillside is collapsing and the stonework is not holding up. See here: http://bit.ly/1qY9GZY.
October 2011 – New Stonework, Mt Tecumseh Trail
 

Trail Work, Erosion Monitoring – The included images show how a section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire 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.

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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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Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire

October 2011 -Drainage ditch / Stone steps along the Mount Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. The area on the left is in the process of collapsing.  After a trail inspection by Forest Service in June 2012, they (FS) stepped in and took control of ongoing work along this trail. It has been suggested this erosion issue will need to be corrected by a professional trail crew.
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.

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Backcountry Camping Impact, White Mountains

Poor leave no trace ethics - Environmental impact from poor camping ethics on the summit of Mount Flume in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. Healthy trees (see image) were cut to build this make shift tent platform on the uneven surface. The visible brush acts as padding and the cut tree trunks were placed underneath acting as a floor.
Mount Flume Summit – Young Trees Cut For Tent Platform
 

Backcountry Camping Impact, White Mountains – A growing issue in the New Hampshire White Mountains is man made impact caused from camping. Some areas are being littered with trash and showing surface erosion from heavy usage. And campers are cutting young healthy trees (above) down to build tent platforms. And in other locations campers abandon their gear leaving the forest a mess.

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