Archive | Recreation

History of the Summit Hiking Trail

WinterHikeSummitTr2014Dec16_LH

“Enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities of New Hampshire state park properties. Join us as stewards of these natural wonders and help us to preserve them for future generations.” – New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation, Explore, para. 3, 2014

Photo taken during a hike along the forested Summit Trail at Mount Sunapee State Park, December 16, 2014. Courtesy of Lydia Hawkes.

What is the history of the Summit Trail?

“The Summit Trail was developed with NH State Parks and Trails Bureau assistance in the early 1990s expressly to provide hikers with a woodlands trail away from ski operations. Development of the trail was related to the early history of the SRK Greenway Coalition, incorporated in 1993. A 1997 memorandum between DRED/Parks and the three volunteer trail groups maintaining hiking trails in the Park recognized trail responsibilities of these volunteer groups. The 75-mile SRK Greenway connects 4 State Parks, 3 State Forests, and land conserved by NH Fish and Game as well as town and private properties. The SRKG also links with the 50-mile Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway and Pillsbury SP [State Park]. In sum, hiking trails and the broader conserved landscapes which those trails traverse are crucial to the future of both New Hampshire’s self-identity and long-term recreational economy. — Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition, letter to Comm. Rose (DRED) in response to Mount Sunapee Resort’s Master Development Plan for 2015-2019.

A false argument: “expand or perish”

In response to a recent letter published in several New Hampshire newspapers regarding the proposed ski area expansion at Mount Sunapee State Park, we share this response from a Goshen resident, who wrote:

1. To frame the issue as either “expand or perish” is inaccurate. The current operators of the ski area have provided quality skiing for years now, and will continue to, with or without the proposed expansion. In fact, the resort operators have a large number of “improvement projects” already planned and approved for the existing ski area, that have not been implemented. If improvements are so critical to their success, it would make sense to complete approved projects before proposing a large expansion.

2. On the issue of old growth forest: Yes, New Hampshire is a heavily forested state. In general, well planned forestry operations pose no threat to the viability of the region’s forests. What the writer fails to understand is that 99% of the region’s forests have been cutover two or more times since European settlement. Old growth forest, such as what is found in Mount Sunapee State Park, has never been logged and is extremely rare, constituting less than one percent of existing forest. The mosaic of old growth forest in the park is the largest of its type in Merrimack County, and likely the largest in the state south of the White Mountains.

In addition, the undeveloped west flank of Mount Sunapee is the northern end of the Pillsbury-Sunapee Highlands, an unfragmented forest block that has been recognized by state wildlife officials as critical habitat and an important travel corridor for large mammals such as moose, black bear, and bobcat.The disturbance caused by the construction of proposed ski infrastructure (parking lots, snow making and grooming, ski lifts, sewage disposal areas, concessions, etc.) would greatly diminish the value of this habitat.

In considering these and other points regarding the proposed expansion, it is important to remember that this concerns a state park—public land protected many years ago for a wide range of public uses, not solely as a ski area, nor as a generator of wealth for corporate resort owners.

“Could climate change mean the end of skiing?”

“We must take a deeper look at the future of using Mount Sunapee State Park as a skiing mountain,” says Sue from Newbury. Sue shares information about the impact of climate change on winter sports: Porter Fox, editor of Powder Magazine, has a new book—Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow. As he travels the world, Fox sees less and less snow everywhere.

‘Half of the 103 resorts in the Northeast will likely not be able to stay open, and that’s in the next 30 years, which is pretty shocking,’ he said. ‘That’s where I grew up skiing.’ — CBS News, February 27, 2014 — View the video and report here.

Also, view this video about Deep via… http://vimeo.com/105707058

Related article: Rising Temperatures Threaten Fundamental Change for Ski Slopes – NYTimes (12-13-2013)

Considering climate change,”the question remains, why are we looking at the expansion of the skiing area at Mount Sunapee State Park?” asks Sue “The changes to Our Mountain to undertake such an expansion are long lasting.”

Read Sue’s letter here…

Copyright 2018 Friends of Mount Sunapee