Posts Tagged: pemi wilderness



Don’t Remove Historic Artifacts

An abandoned cellar hole along an old road off Tunnel Brook Road in Benton, New Hampshire. This area was once known as Coventry-Benton, and based on an 1860 historical map of Grafton County this was the Charles B. Keyser homestead.
Heritage Sign – Benton, New Hampshire
 

Don't Remove Historic Artifacts – Here in New Hampshire, outdoor recreation is growing at an alarming rate. And there has been a surge of people exploring historical sites. As an environmental 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 all promote the protection of historic sites.

As you explore the abandoned farming communities, cellar holes, logging camps and other historic sites in the White Mountain National Forest, please keep in mind that the removal of historic 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 please remember 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.

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Trails of the Pemigewasset Wilderness

Franconia Brook Trail during the summer months. This trail follows the railroad bed of the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad that traveled through this area. The EB&L was a logging railroad in the state of New Hampshire that was owned by James E. Henry.
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 wilderness areas. 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.

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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 – Pemi Wilderness, New Hampshire
 

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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Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge Removal

Thoreau Falls Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Thoreau Falls Bridge – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Thoreau Falls Trail, Bridge Removal – 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 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 the summer of 2016 (this is updated information).

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February 1959 Plane Crash, Pemi Wilderness

Memorial to Dr. Ralph E. Miller and Dr. Robert E. Quinn in the Thoreau Falls Valley of the Pemigewasset Wilderness in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The doctors successfully crash landed their plane on February 21, 1959 in this location and survived for four days before dying of exposure.
Thoreau Falls Valley – Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire
 

February 1959 Plane Crash, Pemi Wilderness – On Saturday, February 21, 1959 a Piper Comanche plane took off from the Berlin New Hampshire Airport, around 3:30 p.m., destined for the Lebanon New Hampshire Airport. The pilot was Dr. Ralph E. Miller and his passenger was Dr. Robert E. Quinn. Both were doctors affiliated with Dartmouth Medical School.

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An Evolving Landscape, White Mountains

Trestle abutment at the Redrock Brook crossing along Franconia Brook Trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire. The Franconia Brook Trail follows the old railroad bed of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad. This was a logging railroad that operated from 1893 - 1948. In 2011 high waters from Tropical Storm Irene caused most of the landscape stone abutment to collapse.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Redrock Brook, New Hampshire
 

An Evolving Landscape, White Mountains – It amazes me how much the landscape of the White Mountains changes over time. Many visitors to the White Mountains think of the area as being "stuck in time" because of its national forest designation. The reality is lots of change occurs naturally and by man. I thought it would be interesting to show scenes that no longer exist in the White Mountains. These scenes all disappeared over the last ten years.

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