Wanting to check out Bridge 2 in the Tuckerman Ravine, I set out from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in a light snow—ideal winter weather for skiers, snowshoers sledders and even hikers—and headed up, up, up the Tuckerman Rail.
Located in the Cutler River drainage on the east side of Mount Washington, Tuckerman Ravine is one of the most popular year-round recreation destinations on the White Mountain National Forest. The Tuckerman Trail is one of the most scenic and popular routes to Mt. Washington, one of the most famous hikes in the Northeast, and a renowned backcountry ski area. The trail crosses the Cutler River several times throughout a four-mile stretch. Unfortunately, 2011’s Tropic Storm Irene damaged the four bridges that provide trail users with safe passage.
The four bridges provide the White Mountain National Forest and volunteer search and rescue groups with access to rescue lost or injured Forest users. The damaged bridges are also undersized, causing increased stream bank erosion and reduced connectivity of the river to its floodplain, and unhealthy sedimentation that harms fish and aquatic habitat. None of the bridges can sustain another flood event and must be replaced to restore the ravine's ecological integrity and to maintain user safety in this enormously popular recreation destination.
A big thank you to Dirt Designs, the local contractor who worked extremely hard in adverse conditions to make sure that this bridge was open in time for the winter season. Arriving on the scene today, covered in a quiet blanket of snow, belies the hard work that has been going on over the last several months.
Those crossing this bridge during this snow globe day have no idea the hard work—by the National Forest Foundation, the U. S. Forest Service, philanthropic and community partners—that it required to provide safe access to this beautiful part of the White Mountain National Forest. Enjoy!