Posts Tagged ‘and geology of the Presidentials. Mike Dickerman’

by Mike Dickerman
Mike Dickerman photo This is the former Ammonosuc Ranger District building in Bethlehem, which has been abandoned by the Forest Service and the property has pretty much been completely neglected.

In case you were wondering… The Appalachian Mountain Club is planning a major reconstruction of one of its famed mountain huts later this year. Madison Spring Hut, situated in the col between the northern Presidential Range peaks of Mounts Madison and Adams, will undergo extensive renovations this fall and next spring. Work at the hut, which first opened in 1888, will commence after Labor Day weekend and will continue this year as long as the weather allows. Work crews will return to the site in the spring and if all goes as planned the hut will re-open next June at its usual time.

According to AMC’s Paul Cunha, the hut project is designed to make the structure a more energy efficient and environmentally sensitive hut. “At the same time, we hope to improve the guest experience by providing more leg room and elbow room in key areas and by reducing the height of the bunkroom bunks.”

This marks the first major overhaul of Madison Spring Hut since a devastating fire on Oct. 7, 1940, destroyed the existing hut there. The replacement hut was opened the following summer and has undergone only occasional minor improvements over the ensuing seventy years…

In other news from the AMC, the Boston-based club has recently released the Mahoosucs Map & Guide, which highlights outdoor recreation opportunities in the wild and rugged Mahoosuc Mountain region straddling the border of Maine and New Hampshire. This often overlooked sector of the White Mountains offers a wide variety of four-season recreation opportunities and the new AMC map and guide features more than thirty of the best hiking, paddling, biking, and cross-country skiing opportunities for all abilities.

The detailed, hill-shaded map provides complete coverage of the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, the local segment of the Appalachian Trail, and the new 39-mile Grafton Loop Trail, as well as local campsites, picnic areas, put-ins for paddling, and boat ramps.

The map and guide is a collaborative effort of the Mahoosuc Initiative, which aims to address the ecological and economic needs of the region through land conservation, community development, and economic development. The Mahoosuc Initiative is supported by local conservation and community organizations, as well as regional and national conservation groups.

“One goal in publishing the Mahoosucs Map & Guide is to let people know that this region is a great place to visit, whether for a day or for a week, with lots of options for getting outdoors,” said Bryan Wentzell, AMC’s Maine Policy Manager. “We hope local retailers, innkeepers, and proprietors of other establishments will see the Mahoosucs Map & Guide as a tool to encourage their customers to extend their stay, or make plans for a return trip.”

The map and guide is available at local retailers and wherever books are sold, or directly from the AMC at www.outdoors.org/amcstore or by calling 800-262-4455. The retail price of the map and guide is $6.95…

Another publication certain to be of interest to area mountain enthusiast is a new hiker’s guide and map to the bedrock geology of Mount Washington and The Presidential Range. Authored by J. Dykstra Eusden, Professor of Geology at Bates College in Maine, The Presidential Range: Its Geologic History and Plate Tectonics describes the bedrock geology and plat tectonic history of the Presidentials with color illustrations and a writing style that make this information accessible to all who have an interest in New England’s highest mountain range.

Accompanying the book is a great new full-color geologic map of the Presidentials which shows the bedrock geology and highlights locations where hikers may view key exposures of bedrock while out and about on the trail.

The book and map have been published by The Durand Press of Lyme, New Hampshire, and copies are available in area book stores, directly from the publisher, or from the Littleton-based book distributor, Bondcliff Books (http://www.bondcliffbooks.com)

Bondcliff Books, meanwhile, has just released a new history of logging railroads in the northern White Mountains and beyond. Logging Railroads of New Hampshire’s North Country by well-known forest historian Bill Gove of Williamstown, Vermont, chronicles the colorful and often perilous history of more than a half dozen logging railroad lines worked the woods of northern New Hampshire between 1870 and 1920. Besides featuring chapters on the Wild River Railroad, the Johns River Railroad, and Kilkenny Lumber Company Railroad, among others, the books contains close to 150 vintage photographs, plus more than a dozen original maps and drawn and compiled by the author…

It’s a shame that since the closing of the former Ammonoosuc Ranger District station on Trudeau Road in Bethlehem, no one has bothered to maintain the property. During a recent drive-by of the old Ammo headquarters I was dismayed to see that the U. S. Forest Service has allowed the once attractive property to take on all the characteristics of an unwanted and abandoned piece of real estate. With the front lawn unmowed, winter tree damage left as is, and virtually no upkeep whatsoever in evidence, it’s hard to believe anyone will want to take this property if and when the government decides to sell it or give it away…

Finally, White Mountain National Forest officials have announced that Resolution Shelter along the historic Davis Path near Crawford Notch has been closed “due to safety concerns associated with the deteriorating condition of the shelter.” Since this structure is within the Presidential-Dry River Wilderness Area, don’t expect the Forest Service to replace this facility. Instead, it will be dismantled and backpackers will be forced to make alternate overnight camping plans. The shelter is located approximately 3.7 miles from the Davis Path trailhead off U.S. Route 302, not far from the summit of Mount Resolution and Stairs Mountain.

Mike Dickerman is a longtime hiking enthusiast, award-winning columnist, and author or coauthor of nine books related to the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. He lives in Littleton.

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