Summer’s here, bringing change and new opportunities

Friends,

The 2010-2011 Mount Washington Avalanche Center’s season is now over, and with the change in seasons comes other significant changes as well. After eight and nine year runs as Snow Rangers, both Justin Preisendorfer and Brian Johnston have taken their considerable talents to the other Ranger Districts of the White Mountain National Forest. The MWAC had been fortunate to keep these two around for this long, and their absence next season will surely be felt.

Many of you might not have known what has kept Brian and Justin busy during the summer and fall months. For Brian, it was managing the Androscoggin District Trails Program. Justin managed the Backcountry/Wilderness Program. For me, summer had been a time to put in a garden, go climbing, work on house projects, and hope to be called out to help fight wildfires on other National Forests. This summer will be quite different. I will be doing my best to fill in behind Brian and Justin in their summer roles. I’m excited for the opportunity while at the same time I’m being blown away as it slowly becomes more apparent to me just how capable these guys are at everything they do. For sure, I’ve got big shoes to fill this year.

One aspect of my new role that I’m particularly excited about is the opportunity to work with a great group of volunteers. I’d like to spread the word that the Forest Service has some incredible volunteer opportunities available to motivated individuals or groups. Check out some of what we have to offer, and if any of these spark an interest for you, give me a call. If you think you know someone who would want to serve in one of these positions, pass the information on. Details about the first two positions will be posted at www.volunteer.gov.

  • Wilderness Use Monitor: Weekends in July and August, this position involves hiking into one of three Wilderness areas to record the numbers of people who use a section of trail or arrive at a destination. Typically, these are some of the most beautiful spots in the Wilderness. These volunteers hike into their designated site (pre-selected based on date and year), get comfortable, and between 11am and 3pm they tally the people passing through. Information is then used to help guide future management decisions related to Wilderness areas. The full description can be found at: http://www.volunteer.gov/gov/results.cfm?states=NH
  • Trail Adopter: The White Mountain National Forest has somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 miles of trails. The Adopt-A-Trail program is one way for us to keep these trails in good shape for the hikers who use them. The work can be physically challenging, sometimes monotonous, and deeply rewarding. At the end of a trail work day you’ll be able to see the fruits of your labors. The work is done on your own time; you choose which day(s) you work.
  • Community Trails Days: Want to get a taste for trail work without committing to becoming an Adopter? The Saco Ranger District this summer is offering Community Trails Days every Thursday morning. You would head out with an experienced trail crew member to work for the day. No experience is necessary, and the work will be custom tailored to the skills and abilities of the group each day. For more information on this opportunity, call the Saco Ranger District at (603) 447-5448.
  • Group Opportunities: We may be able to work with your group to custom design a mutually beneficial volunteer opportunity. The possibilities for this are limited only by the imagination.

In addition to the volunteer opportunities, I also want to promote the Weeks Act Centennial Festival being held on July 29 (http://www.weekslegacy.org/). The festival will be held at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, and everyone is invited.

Finally, for those who can’t just come in winter and spring, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through the ravine is still closed due to dangerous snow conditions. I took a look at it Monday 6/20, and it still needs to melt back farther to be safely passable. Also, later this summer a large reconstruction project will be done by the AMC professional trail crew on the traverse through the Headwall. This work will require this section of trail be closed again for the better part of 4 weeks starting around July 18. If conditions allow, we’ll try to get it stabilized and opened up for the weekends, but no guarantees. If you have questions about this, call or stop by our Ranger Station or the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.

Enjoy summer!

Jeff Lane
Snow Ranger/ Acting Trails, Backcountry & Wilderness Supervisor
Androscoggin Ranger District
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 x211
jslane@fs.fed.us