Mount Washington Valley 2020 Collaboration Project

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The White Mountain Trail Collective is partnering with 9 organizations and land managers to promote and improve outdoor recreation in the Mt. Washington Valley. The Mt. Washington Valley is poised for a boom in tourism with people looking to create experiences in the White Mountains. Working together this project will build and create a network of sustainable trail systems and jobs to bring together the outdoor community.

Glen Ellis Falls

Partners: White Mountain National Forest; Historicorps; National Forest Foundation

Glen Ellis Falls Scenic Area, on the Ellis River, is one of the oldest and most popular day use sites on the White Mountain National Forest and is visited by a broad spectrum of the visiting public, giving them the chance to experience the natural beauty, history, hiking, picnicking and interpretation. It is located in an area steeped in history, providing unique opportunities to readily view a beautiful waterfall within the historical context of the Civilian Conservation Corps days. The falls, accessed from a short hiking trail near the height of land in Pinkham Notch, cascade 65 feet into a deep pool surrounded by rock and moss, in an area of rugged beauty. The Glen Ellis Falls area was acquired by the US Forest Service in 1915. The parking area and trail to the falls were initially developed in the 1920s. At that time the trail was a simple boardwalk and wooden staircase. During the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did extensive work to the trail. Their stone and masonry work, typical of that era’s style, has remained largely intact for nearly 90 years. The entire length of the trail is approximately 0.3 mile. This project incorporates a majority of the trail beginning from the east side of Rt. 16 at the end of the tunnel that runs under Rt. 16 to the trail’s terminus near the base of the falls. Several issues along this length of trail need to be addressed, including; numerous drainage issues, eroded treadway, and slumping base materials. The upper approximately 200ft. of the trail beginning at the tunnel is to be constructed to meet Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) and incorporate a turn around.

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Cathedral Ledge

Partners: State of NH Parks; Access Fund; National Forest Foundation

Cathedral Ledge is an iconic destination in the Mount Washington Valley for climbers and other visitors. Stewarding this heavily visited site will entail addressing deteriorating wooden structures to ensure that the soil and rocks that sit on the steep slope that visitors travel on will be retained. Managing the site for use will help ensure that negative environmental impacts in the form of erosion are mitigated and the overall quality of the visitor experience is maintained. The project site will require highline rigging, stone splitting and shaping, and dry stack stone work skills. Working on staging areas requires unique considerations such as limiting grade changes at the base of routes, and avoiding the creation of fall hazards. Climbers also travel through and utilize sites differently than traditional user groups, providing an opportunity for crews to learn about considerations for managing climbing sites.

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Cranmore Connector

Partners: Ride NOCO, Cranmore Mountain, Conway Conservation Commission and Upper Saco Valley Land Trust

The Cranmore Connector Trail is a popular hiking trail that brings users to the top of Black Cap Mountain from Cranmore Mountain. It is also the main artery trail to access the mountain bike trail network in the Hurricane Mountain Zone (Red Tail, Kettle Ridge, Khandagner, Charlie Don’t Surf ect). As a multi user trail that gives outdoor recreation enthusiasts spectacular views as well as access some of the best mountain bike riding in New Hampshire, this trail is suffering the consequences of overuse resulting in significant erosion, deterioration, and structural loss. This project will focus on significant repairs to Cranmore Connector to include rock work to repair stone steps, repair and replacing water bars to address erosion caused by water run off, building and repairs scree wall; widening the trail and adding "switchbacks" to expand for multi user use as well as tread hardening. This project will also include building a downhill Mtn bike trail between Black Cap and Cranmore Mtn to parallel Cranmore Connector hiking trail to address safety issue use of mtn bikes riding down Cranmore Connector hiking trail. A professional trail builder will be contracted to build the parallel mountain bike trail totaling approx 1 mile of hybrid, flow/jump trail 3’ - 4’ wide, full bench construction, armoring, bridges and berms. A combination of hired trail crew and volunteers crews will be used to finish the trail. In kind trail maintenance training will be provided to all volunteers and crews to establish a sustainable trail maintenance program.

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Hurricane Mountain

Partners: The Nature Conservancy; State of NH; Conway Conservation Commission; Ride NOCO

This project consists of two machine built mountain bike trails in a bi-directional connector corridor from Cranmore Mountain north to Hurricane Mountain Road. This is an important low-elevation connector between two highly used mountain bike networks and will alleviate a considerable parking problem on Hurricane Mountain Rd and at the Black Cap Mountain parking area. This new trails will allow bikers wanting to access this popular network to now park and the base of Cranmore Mountain Ski Resort.

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