Posts Tagged: trail work



National Trails Day, White Mountains

Group of hikers travel along the Tuckerman Crossover Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA during the summer months. Mount Monroe is in the background.
Tuckerman Crossover – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

National Trails Day, White Mountains – Today is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, an annual event held on the first Saturday in June. And the intention of this day is to celebrate and create awareness for America's Trail system. It is also a day to recognize the work of all the volunteers who do trail maintenance along America’s trail system.

As environmental photographer and a hiker of the New Hampshire White Mountains, I appreciate all the work that volunteers do along the White Mountains trail system. And to all you adopt-a-trail volunteers, who are truly only volunteering to give back to the White Mountains, THANK YOU.

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Trail Blazing, Trail Stewardship

A properly applied trail blaze along the Artist's Bluff Path in  White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Proper Trail Blaze – Artist's Bluff Path, New Hampshire
 

Trail Blazing, Trail Stewardship – I have been hearing more and more complaints about trail blazing along the White Mountains trail system. Either the trail is excessively blazed or not blazed enough. Personally, I don’t mind the trails that have little trail blazing. But I am not a fan of the excessive trail blazing. Over the years I have photographed different types of blazing styles and today I going to share a few of them with you.

Proper trail blazing protocol seems to vary among the trail maintenance organizations, but the ending result is the same. And most of these organizations agree that a standard trail blaze is a two inch by six inch rectangle placed about head height on trees. No painting of arrows, only a single vertical blaze, should be painted on a tree. For more information on blazing see the Randolph Mountain Club’s trail blazing protocol page.

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Mt Tecumseh Trail, My Viewpoint

July 2016 - Newly built stone steps along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire during the month of July. Minimal stonework should be done along trails, and it should look natural and blend in with the surroundings.
New Staircase – Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire
 

Mt Tecumseh Trail, My Viewpoint For the last five years, I have been documenting 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.”

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Scree Walls, Trail Stewardship

Scree walls, hiker descending Boott Spur Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. Afternoon sun reflects off the Wildcat Ski Mountain. A scree wall is in view. Scree walls are built on the edge of trails to discourage hikers from going off trail. Building these small walls helps protect the fragile alpine habitat.
Scree Walls – Boott Spur Trail, New Hampshire
 

Scree Walls, Trail Stewardship – Today’s blog article focuses on a keyword search term. I chose one search term in this case “scree wall” and searched my image archive to see what imagery I have available that represents this area of trail stewardship. As photographer, these keyword searches help me determine what subject matter I need more coverage of. The below imagery showcases this search term.

In the alpine zones of the New Hampshire White Mountains, trail stewards build scree walls on the edge of trails. These non intrusive walls keep hikers on a defined path in the alpine zones, and this helps protect the fragile alpine habitat. Some of the alpine flowers that grow in New Hampshire are rare and only grow in the alpine zones of New Hampshire so protecting this habitat is essential.

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Rock Cairns, Trail Stewardship

Appalachian Trail - Rock cairns near the summit of Mount Moosilauke during the summer months in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. This area is excellent for hiking.
Appalachian Trail – Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire
 

Rock Cairns, Trail Stewardship – A rock cairn is a man-made pile of rocks that marks a landmark or the route of a hiking trail above tree line. They have been used for many centuries and vary in size from one foot to massive piles of rocks. The word “cairn” is Scottish and means a “heap of stones”. Cairns are found throughout the New Hampshire White Mountains, and they make great photo subjects. My favorite ones are along the Appalachian Trail on the summit of Mount Moosilauke.

For some time now there has been an increasing concern about rock stacking (random piles of rocks) on public lands. People are innocently building rock cairn look a likes along beaches, rivers, and trails, and it is drawing both positive and negative attention. Out west, rock stacking is a major problem. Here in the White Mountains, fake cairns built along the trails can cause navigation confusion for hikers, but that is for another blog article.

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National Trails Day, White Mountains

Low impact trail work for National Trails Day - Freshly cut blowdown along the Mt Kinsman Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Blowdown – Mt Kinsman Trail, White Mountains
 

National Trails Day, White Mountains – Today is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, an annual event held on the first Saturday in June. And the intention of this day is to celebrate and create awareness for America's Trail system. Today is also a day to recognize the work of volunteers who do trail maintenance along the trails. On this day events are held in every state, and range from biking, hiking, picking up trash, to doing volunteer trail work.

Today, I am going to limit the photography talk. And use this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who put in countless hours to make the trails of the White Mountains better. Without your dedication, the trails in the White Mountains really would be in shambles, and I think some trails would be abandoned.

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