Mt. Major Becomes N.H.'s First 'Hot Spot' For Low-Impact Hiker Training

Mar 11, 2019

Crowds pack the Mount Major summit during a recent Columbus Day weekend.
Credit Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Local forest stewards will get trained this summer on how to help hikers enjoy Mount Major more – without leaving as much behind.

The popular hiking spot in the Lakes Region was one of fewer than 20 hiking spots chosen nationwide to be the focus of training from the Leave No Trace program.

The organization’s principles include carrying out everything you carry in to a hiking area, cleaning up after dogs, and being generally courteous to other hikers.

Managing forester Wendy Weisiger of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests says their staff and volunteers will be trained this June in how to communicate those principles to the more than 80,000 people who scale Mount Major every year.

"Everybody wants to enjoy the experience,” she says, “so we'll sort of give people tips on how they can do that responsibly."

The Leave No Trace designation makes Mount Major a “hot spot” that the group thinks could benefit from some public education on those principles.

Weisiger says Mount Major sees so many visitors, many of whom are less experienced hikers, that trash, crowds, vandalism and animal waste are all serious problems. She says some hikers will even play music on speakers or fly drones at the summit.

“People think that they can throw a banana peel or apple core, and they don't realize the cumulative effect that that has when you have thousands of people going somewhere,” Weisiger says.

She says they also hope the training will help bring the same outreach to trails across the state – even ones that are less traveled.  

Mount Major is the first Leave No Trace hotspot in the Northeast in at least two years.