Posts Tagged: trail work



Sustainable Trail Work, White Mountains

Open stone culvert along the Mount Tecumseh Trail in New Hampshire.
Open Stone Culvert – Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire
 

Sustainable Trail Work, White Mountains – Here in New Hampshire, all we hear about is environmental friendly and sustainable trail work. And how important it is to conserve the trails for future generations. As an environmental photographer, I support this approach to preserving the trail system. And up until a few years ago, I have always believed that the organizations maintaining our trails practiced what they preached.

I recently made my monthly hike to Mt Tecumseh to photograph the summit vandalism. I was on the Tecumseh Trail after a rainstorm and was surprised at how many open culverts (water bars) were dry. The purpose of a trail culvert is to drain water off and away from the trail, and the culverts included in this blog article were all dry.

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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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Trail Work, Poor Trail Blaze Removal Practices

October 2011 - Trail blaze along the Mount Tecumseh Trail (ski area side) in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
October 2011 – New Trail Blaze, Mt Tecumseh Trail
 

Trail Work, Poor Trail Blaze Removal Practices Since 2011, I have been making regular trips to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire to photograph a yellow birch tree that has fallen victim to vandalism. The damaged tree, when ascending the trail, is on the right just after exiting the Irene reroute. I am using repeat photography 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 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.

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Standing Up For The White Mountains

Appalachian Trail (Gulfside Trail) - A hiker enjoys the sunset from Mount Clay in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Appalachian Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Standing Up For The White Mountains – Every year, I document a number of environmental issues in the White Mountains. And to start the New Year I am going to publicly share the four issues I will be documenting thus year. The rest of my time will be focused on the scenic White Mountains and New England region. This year I decided to just continue creating imagery for the visual journals that I have worked on for the last few years. Below are links to the journals.

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Step Falls Nature Preserve, Maine

Step Falls Nature Preserve in Newry, Maine USA. Acquired in 1962,  Step Falls was The Nature Conservancy’s first preserve in Maine.
Step Falls Nature Preserve – Newry, Maine
 

Step Falls Nature Preserve – I was recently in Grafton Notch State Park in Newry, Maine and while there visited nearby Step Falls Nature Preserve. The preserve is known for its cascades and excellent view from the top of the falls, but on the day of my visit it was snowing and very windy so I focused on the cascades and forest scenes.

Step Falls Nature Preserve is a 24 acre lot located just outside of Grafton Notch State Park, along Route 26. Acquired in 1962, it was The Nature Conservancy’s first preserve in Maine. In 2012, the Mahoosuc Land Trust took over ownership of the preserve and has since made improvements to the grounds.

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Trail Work Erosion, White Mountains

October 2011 - Newly installed stonework along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. After an inspection by FS in June 2012, it has been suggested this issue (large holes on left) will need to be corrected by a professional trail crew. In less than one year the hillside is collapsing and the stonework is not holding up. See here: http://bit.ly/1qY9GZY.
October 2011 – New Stonework, Mt Tecumseh Trail
 

Trail Work Erosion, White Mountains – The included images show how a section of the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the New Hampshire White Mountains has elapsed over time. The first two images are from October 2011 and the last image is from October 2017. The intent of this visual journal is to record the progression of hillside erosion on the left-hand side of the trail and to document how this section of trail holds up to foot traffic.

I am using a technique known as photo monitoring to document this section of trail. Photo monitoring consists of repeat photography of an area over a period of time. Photo monitoring is used in land management to help recognize issues that are not immediately obvious from one or two visits to a location. The ending result is a permanent visual record and journal that showcases the environmental changes of a particular location.

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Lincoln Woods Trail Temporary Closure

Lincoln Woods Trail Temporary Closure
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.

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Repaired Trail Blazing, Trail Maintenance

Trail blazing along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. A proper blaze is a two by six inch rectangle. Spills and runs should be wiped away when applied, and once dried runs can be removed using proper techniques. See trail maintenance guidelines if you are unsure on proper blazing protocol. After a trail inspection by Forest Service in June 2012, they (FS) stepped in on the ongoing work. This dripping blaze has been removed by proper parties.
September 2011 – Improper Trail Blazing, Mt Tecumseh Trail
 

Repaired Trail Blazing, Trail Maintenance – Some of the issues along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley New Hampshire have been addressed and corrected by Forest Service. I commend Forest Service for correcting issues along this trail. And it is satisfying to know they are taking the needed steps to improve the White Mountains trail system.

In 2011, while hiking the Mt Tecumseh Trail, I noted a trail blazing issue, so I reported it to Forest Service. The trail blazing was not per trail maintenance guidelines and ruined the overall beauty of the trail. The Ranger who looked into it and responded, via email, stated a bad can of paint was the cause. Included in this blog article are before & after photos of the trail blazing that was removed.

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