Androscoggin Area Trails Rehab

This project will focus on four high-use trails: Gulfside, Great Gulf Link, Unknown Pond, and Great Gulf. These trails receive extensive use and are still in need of repairs for damage done by Hurricane Irene 10 years ago.



The Work

Gulfside Trail - Work will include defining the treadway and closing "social trails," improving the sustainability of the trail. Approximately 1,500 hundred feet of scree wall will be constructed to define the trail and keep users off of fragile alpine vegetation. Social trails will be "rubbled" to discourage use and allow for vegetation regrowth. Rock steps will be added in locations with steep terrain and retaining wall will be built in areas to deter soil erosion. Botanists will be hired to help identify quarry sites for rock material and identify vegetation protection zones.

Great Gulf Link Trail - There are three project sites along the route. In one location, a small section of ledge needs to be re-contoured to better accommodate users and improve safety for administrative snowmobile groomer operation—this will require drilling into the rock with a hammer drill powered by a generator, inserting feathers and wedges and/or using a boulder mat to fracture the ledge. Sledgehammers and other hand tools will also be used. In another location, there is a poorly designed seven-foot by twelve-foot pressure-treated deck bridge spanning a small stream that is not built to current bridge standards. The final project entails removing a seven-foot by eight-foot bridge that is currently sagging into the channel it spans, obstructing flow. Removal of the bridge will restore water flow and keep it in the channel. The existing trail will be relocated about 25 feet to the east to a better location away from the brook. Minimal hardening with rock will be required to negotiate a small perennial seep.

Unknown Pond - Work will include installing rock drainage structures, step stones, and replacing bog bridges with step stones at each of the three locations. Rocks within 20 feet of either side of the trail will be used for step stones.

Great Gulf Trail - Work includes replacement (or reconstruction) of failing rock/log water bars and check steps. Up to 12, 8-12-inch diameter-at-breast height spruce/fir will be felled to provide material for bog bridge replacement. Other proposed activities include installing step stones, check steps, small 2-3 step rock staircases, and if needed, 100-200-foot relocations to avoid heavily impacted areas (TBD based on field visits with specialists). Rock for projects will be harvested on-site, adjacent to each of the proposed project sites. Felling of trees for bog bridge material will be completed with crosscut saws in early spring, and all other work will be completed with non-motorized hand tools.

Project Cost $200k

Background & History

Gulfside Trail - Located in an alpine zone near the summit of Mt Washington, work will include the section of Gulfside trail between the junctions of Gulfside + Great Gulf Trail and Gulfside + Westside Trail. Due to the popularity of this trail, the trail is very braided and has sections that are up to 33 ft wide.

Great Gulf Link Trail - The trail runs adjacent to the Peabody River and runs from Dolly Copp Campground to the Great Gulf Trail. It receives a lot of traffic in all seasons. Use may be briefly disrupted for users on the trail, but it will remain open to the public. This will also allow for opportunity to educate users as they encounter trail crew working.

Unknown Pond - Three locations along the Unknown Pond Trail between York Pond and the Kilkenny Ridge Trail will be worked on—Berlin, Milan, and Kilkenny, Coos County, New Hampshire. Work will address historically wet areas that have seen noticeable recreation impacts as a result of failing bog bridges and water control structures. This project is needed to minimize erosion and sedimentation into adjacent streams and to provide a clearly delineated, dry and safe travel way for hikers.

Great Gulf Trail - This is a popular wilderness trail providing a primitive access point to Mount Washington. Portions of the trail have been in need of maintenance/reconstruction since Tropical Storm Irene and has not gotten the necessary attention. The purpose of this project is to bring several points along the trail back up to White Mountain National Forest recreation standards. The project area includes 18 project sites (located in Wilderness Zones C & D) on 2.3 miles of the Great Gulf Trail, beginning just west of the junctions of Wamsutta/6-Husbands Trail and continuing up to the Alpine Zone. The project area lies entirely within the Great Gulf Wilderness, about 2/3 of a mile north of the Cog Railway.

This trail is heavily impacted and has lost a lot of soil as a result of failing water control structures. Long stretches of wet trail could benefit greatly from implementing this project to divert water from the trail. In 2-3 locations, substantial foot traffic has created social trails to avoid significant stretches of wet trail. Due to forest type and soil moisture throughout, this project has been reviewed by Hydrology, Soils, Botany, and Wildlife to ensure protection and sustainability of resources.