Darby Field, First Ascent – Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Random History, White Mountains – My work as a photographer has allowed me to explore and document many historical sites in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And it really has changed the way I view the White Mountains. It amazes me that Darby Field made the first ascent of Mount Washington in 1642. And farming settlements and grand resorts were scattered throughout the region in the 1800s.
With outdoor recreation at an all-time high in the White Mountains, it is important to create awareness for the region's history. The more history we outdoor enthusiasts know about an area, the more attached we become to the area. And because of this connection, it inspires us to get involved with conservation. And yes, there will always be some that feel the history is insignificant, but that is for another day. Today’s blog article consists of a few random tidbits of history.
July 2014, Fresh Cutting – Mt Tecumseh, New Hampshire
Mount Tecumseh Vandalism, Illegal Cutting – When I first went public with the environmental issues on Mount Tecumseh, I was warned that my business would become the focal point of a smear campaign if I continued to cover the issues. After years of covering issues on this mountain, I can say that the harassment I have received has not deterred me from creating awareness for the human impact on Mount Tecumseh.*
According to Forest Service, the cutting on New Hampshire's Mount Tecumseh is illegal, and is considered vandalism to National Forest land. As far as I know, Forest Service's law enforcement division is still actively investigating the cutting. For my involvement, as a photographer, I have been unofficially volunteering my time to document the cutting. I am against this type of vandalism, and report any findings to Forest Service.
New Staircase – Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire
Mt Tecumseh Trail, New Hampshire – 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.”
Shell Cascade – Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
Shell Cascade, Waterville Valley – Located on Hardy Brook, a tributary of the Mad River, in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire is a small, but unique, cascade known as Shell Cascade. Because of its location, this cascade isn’t visited much. It is not in a remote area by any means, but no official trail leads to it, and during times of high water it can be difficult to reach Hardy Brook. And for these reasons, its considered to be a forgotten waterfall.
Visitors to Waterville Valley and the White Mountains region have been visiting Shell Cascade since the 1800s. Reference to Shell Cascade can be found in the 1892 book “The Waterville Valley: A History, Description, and Guide” By Arthur Lewis Goodrich, and on A.L Goodrich’s 1904 map of Waterville Valley.
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.
October 2011 – New Trail Blaze, Mt Tecumseh Trail
Trail Work, Bad 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.