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.
Big Coolidge Mountain – Lincoln, New Hampshire
2018 Year in Review, White Mountains – Another year is coming to an end! For the past few years, I have been posting my "ten favorite images of the year" at the end of the year. But I have decided to drift away from that format this year and do a year in review.
This year marks my 20th year working in the photography industry. And I have been reminiscing about where my cameras have taken me in life. The photography industry and outdoor recreation in the White Mountains has changed drastically over the last two decades. But the one thing that has not changed is my 40-50 pound backpack. While I may complain about a heavy backpack, because of photography I have visited some incredible locations in the White Mountains. Hopefully, I have another 20 years behind the camera.
Franconia Brook Trail – Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire
2017 Favorite Images, White Mountains – Another year is coming to an end. Can you believe it! It is that time of year when I look back on a year's worth of photography and share with you the images that stand out to me from 2017. But instead of doing my "ten favorite images of the year", like in previous years, I am going to do a year in review this year.
It has been a great year both in my professional life and personal life. But 2017 has been one of the strangest years I have ever had as a photographer. Over the last few years, I have been working on a few long-term photography projects. And one of these projects that focuses on the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad is currently being put into book format and will be published in the summer of 2018. And because of this the bulk of my field time this year didn’t involve photography, it involved mostly verifying information for the book.
Heritage Sign – Benton, New Hampshire
Preserve History, Don't Remove Artifacts – Here in New Hampshire, outdoor recreation is growing at an alarming rate. And there has been a surge of people exploring historical sites in the White Mountains. As a conservation photographer, I am obligated to create awareness for the laws that protect our American heritage. For historic preservation to be successful, it is imperative that we promote the protection of historic sites.
As you explore the abandoned cellar holes, farming communities, logging camps and other historic sites in the White Mountain National Forest, please keep in mind that the removal of historical or archaeological artifacts from federal lands without a permit is a violation of federal law. The destruction of artifacts and historic sites is also a crime. And keep in mind, you can’t dig at historical sites. So metal detecting anywhere in the White Mountain National Forest where there could be artifacts is risky business. See the links at the end of this article for the laws that protect these special places.
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.
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.
Thoreau Falls Bridge – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Thoreau Falls Trail, Proposed Bridge Removal – The final decision on the Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge project was made in September 2018. The bridge will be removed without replacement (Alternative 1). This is a win for wilderness conservation. Written in June 2015, the below article focuses on the bridge project.
In August of 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused massive erosion damage to the White Mountains trail system in New Hampshire. Some trails were damaged so badly that they have been permanently closed (Flume Brook Trail in Waterville Valley has been decommissioned). And to this day trail crews are still repairing Irene damaged trails.
Deep in the 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness, at North Fork junction, along the Thoreau Falls Trail, a beloved bridge that crosses the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. The bridge is now listed to be dismantled on the Forest Services Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA). A final decision should haven been made by the end of 2015, but it now appears the decision won’t be made until 2018 (this is updated information).