The caretakers of the White Mountain National Forest count among their 2018 accomplishments a land addition, investment in roads and trails and support from volunteers.
Officials say a highlight last year was adding nearly 800 acres to the forest's boundary by securing a new tract of land along the Upper Ammonoosuc River.
The addition will provide public access to popular hiking trails. This was done in partnership with The Conservation Fund and the New Hampshire towns of Stark and Milan. Forest officials say access to the West Milan and Rocky Pond snowmobile trails, Unknown Pond, Mill Brook, and the Kilkenny Ridge hiking trails are now protected.
In its year-in-review report, forest officials said major investments in infrastructure continue to be emphasized, with over 100 miles of road being maintained to prevent erosion and provide critical public access. Nearly $500,000 was invested in new trail bridges on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
The report notes that user fees and volunteers continue to provide critical support for improving recreation opportunities. For example, nearly 31,000 volunteer hours were captured across various projects and $200,000 of user fees were invested in constructing new safety railings at Sabbaday Falls.
The report noted a volunteer group called the Granite Backcountry Alliance partnered with the forest to expand backcountry skiing opportunities and curb unauthorized ski trail creation.
Other highlights include a 30-year special use permit with the Appalachian Mountain Club to operate Camp Dodge as a training and volunteer center; and expansion of the Armed Forces Conservation Corps program to a year-round internship. Officials also are exploring ways to create pathway positions for soldiers interested in working for the Forest Service.