Sustainable Recreation on the White Mountain National Forest
Hosting millions of annual visitors and providing the base for Northern New Hampshire’s tourism economy, the White Mountain National Forest has earned its special place in the National Forest System. Hikers from near and far come to explore more than 1,200 miles of trails, including 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail and 48 peaks over 4,000 feet in elevation.
New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest has a long and storied history of community involvement. In 1918, these groups saw their efforts bear fruit when the federal government created White Mountain National Forest. Now, this treasured public landscape covers 800,000 acres and offers some of the best recreation opportunities in New England, while protecting critical watersheds and providing important wildlife habitat.
As population and visitation has increased, there is added pressure on the Forest to provide clean water and recreation from a healthy forest landscape. Over time, human activities on the watershed and severe weather events from climate change have compromised the health of the Forest and lessened forest resiliency.
For the past several years, the NFF has worked with community groups to build on this stewardship history. Together we’re helping ensure that the Forest will continue to draw visitors and provide important resources for the region. The NFF helped repair and reopen iconic trail networks including Greeley Ponds, Flume Brook and 9-Mile Brook trails that were damaged when Tropical Storm Irene swept through the region.
We are also working with the Forest Service to replace bridges that provide critical access to Tuckerman Ravine, the birthplace of backcountry skiing. Most importantly, when we work with local partners to accomplish our goals, we add long-lasting capacity and build on the rich legacy of local stewardship on this beloved landscape.
The NFF is proud that our efforts have had a positive impact on the communities and forest resources, but we know that our work isn’t complete. Working with the Forest Service and our community partners, we are focusing our efforts on creating increased opportunities and capacity for hands-on stewardship to provide ecologically-sustainable recreation and continue to enhance the world-renowned White Mountain outdoor experience.