Posts Tagged: pemigewasset wilderness



1907 Owl’s Head Mountain Fire

Storm (rain) clouds engulf Owls Head Mountain from the summit of Bondlcliff Mountain in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire during the summer months. Hellgate Ravine is in the foreground.
Storm Clouds over Owl's Mountain Head from Bondcliff, New Hampshire
 

1907 Owl's Head Mountain Fire, White Mountains – During the late 1800s and early 1900s, logging activities from railroad logging contributed to a number of forest fires in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Sparks from locomotives were responsible for starting fires along the railroads. And the logging slash (unwanted part of the tree left behind after an area is logged) left on the mountainsides fueled the forest fires.

The infamous August 1907 Owl’s Head Mountain fire in the Pemigewasset Wilderness was started by a lightning strike on the eastern side of Owl’s Head in an area that had been previously logged by J.E. Henry and Sons. The included color photographs show the general area of where the forest fire took place.

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Definition of Wilderness, White Mountains

Definition of Wilderness, Owls Head from the Franconia Ridge Trail (Appalachian Trail), near Little Haystack Mountain, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during the last days of summer.
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.

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Pemigewasset Wilderness, Random Thoughts

A hiker takes in the view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness from the summit of Zeacliff during the summer months. This viewpoint offers an excellent view of the wilderness area.
Pemigewasset Wilderness from Zeacliff, New Hampshire
 

The Pemigewasset Wilderness, Random Thoughts – For 2017, I am going to write one blog article a month that is focused on my random thoughts as an environmental photographer living in the New Hampshire White Mountains. I will remain professional when sharing my thoughts but will be a little freer than normal.

Some of you may recognize the above image from Zeacliff Mountain because a similar image is on the cover of the 29th edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide. I look at this image from time to time and think about the solitude I have found in the Pemigewasset Wilderness (45,000 acres) over the years. I also try to imagine how the Pemigewasset Wilderness would look if it was a 45,000-acre condo development.

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A Bridge and a Hotel, White Mountains

Mount Washington from the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Mount Washington Cog Railway – General Area of the Skyline Switch
 

A Bridge and a Hotel, White Mountains – Talk throughout the White Mountains and New England has been about a proposal made by the Cog Railway to “possibly” build a hotel and restaurant on the side of Mount Washington. The proposal itself has created disbelief among many. And I have to admit that I am still shocked that a group would even consider damaging the fragile alpine environment to expand a business venture.

But the reality is this scenario has been playing out throughout the White Mountains in different ways. There are many examples, but the best one is the proposed removal of the footbridge along the Thoreau Falls Trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The Thoreau Falls Trail bridge has become a safety concern, and Forest Service has proposed to remove it. Much like the proposed hotel it has become a heated issue.

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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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