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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Trestle 18 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Forgotten Trestles – In October 2015, I wrote about the forgotten spur lines along the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) Railroad in New Hampshire. And today I am going to continue with this theme and focus on the timber trestles of the railroad.
The EB&L Railroad, built by J.E. Henry, was in operation from 1893-1948 with much of the railroad being in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness. It was considered the elite logging railroad of its time. And the logging practices of this era is one of the reasons why the Wilderness Act is in place today.
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.