September 2011, Mt Tecumseh Trail – Trail Construction
Trail Construction and Maintenance, White Mountains – In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused massive destruction along the East coast of the United States. The White Mountain National Forest was officially closed during the storm. Many trails in the White Mountains were damaged, and required extensive trail work. And this series of photos shows the trail work done to one trail that suffered storm damage from Tropical Storm Irene.
A section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail washed out and had to be rerouted. The above photo shows the junction of the trail reroute (left), and the section of trail that washed out (right) shortly after a Maine Forest Service crew cut the reroute in 2011. Forest Service chose the reroute location and marked it, and a Maine Forest Service crew, helping reopen trails damaged from Irene, did the cutting. The closed section of trail was also brushed in. This information is direct from Forest Service. Note the tree in the reroute (left) with the orange flagging on it.
Beware of Vandalism – New Hampshire
Vandalism, White Mountains – I have been reminiscing about all the conversations I have had this year. And a common topic among many outdoor enthusiasts is all the vandalism in the White Mountains. So today’s blog article focuses on the keyword search term “vandalism”. And this imagery is intended to create awareness for a very concerning issue here in the New Hampshire White Mountains. However, keep in mind that some outdoor enthusiasts feel some of the below acts of vandalism are perfectly acceptable.
When creating awareness for the impact we have on the environment, the norm in today’s outdoor world is to use breathtaking landscape photos of a region. But as an environmental / conservation photographer, when creating awareness for the White Mountains environment, I prefer to use photos that show the impact. I believe showing the actual damage leaves a lasting impression on outdoor enthusiasts. And it influences us to practice “Leave No Trace” and be better stewards of the land.
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.
New Staircase (2016) – Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire
Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire – For five years (2011-2016), I documented issues on Mt Tecumseh in New Hampshire. In my opinion, what has happened to the Mt Tecumseh Trail over the last few years is a disgusting display of conservation and trail stewardship. The new stonework built along this trail is all about quantity, not quality, and I question what low impact, sustainable, trail work is.
In August 2016, for the second time since 2012, the Pemigewasset District of Forest Service, at the request of the Washington Office, inspected the ongoing stonework along the Mt Tecumseh Trail. According to a letter I received from Forest Service Supervisor, Tom Wagner, the stonework is “satisfactory” for Forest Service Trail construction standards. And they did find issues that would be taken care of in the future. The definition of satisfactory is “fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect.”
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.
October 2011 – New Trail Blaze, Mt Tecumseh Trail
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.
October 2011 – New Stonework, Mt Tecumseh Trail
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.