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.”
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.
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.
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.
October 2011 – New Trail Blaze, Mt Tecumseh Trail
Bad Trail Blaze Removal, Trail Work – Since 2011, I have been making regular trips to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire to photograph a yellow birch tree that has fallen victim to vandalism. I am using repeat photography, also known as photo monitoring, to show the impact of improper trail blaze removal. This type of photography is useful for educating land stewards and others about responsible environmental stewardship.
In October of 2011, I documented newly applied trail blazing (above) along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley. Sometime in the spring of 2012, the blaze on the left side of the yellow birch tree in the above image was improperly removed from the tree. And a large wound (below) where rot, fungus, and insects could enter the tree was visible. The bark, where the blaze was, appeared to have been cut and peeled away from the tree.
Lincoln Woods Trail, New Hampshire – Tropical Storm Irene Damaged
July 2013, Lincoln Woods Trail Temporary Closure – The Lincoln Woods Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire will be temporary closed in mid-August 2013 for six to eight weeks while Forest Service repairs damage from Tropical Storm Irene. You can read the White Mountains National Forest announcement here.