Trailwork volunteers needed in the Lake Sunapee Region

Mount Sunapee's Lake Solitude

The highland trails in the region’s state parks, such as on Mount Sunapee and on Mount Kearsarge in Winslow State Park, are seeing more and more hikers each year. Photo shows Lake Solitude, near the top of Mount Sunapee.

Hikers, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts: The hiking trails in the Lake Sunapee region need your help.

“The need is never-ending to identify and encourage new volunteers who can build and maintain the area’s trails,” says Gerry Gold for the Trails Committee of the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition.

SRKG, an all-volunteer non-profit organization, is looking for more volunteers to help keep up and improve the region’s trail system, which includes more than 75 miles of walking paths and hiking trails that cross Sunapee, Ragged and Kearsarge mountains and takes in three state forests and four state parks.

The Greenway connects state, town and private lands and gives hikers and walkers access to mountains, lakes, vistas and historical sites across the region.

These trails also connect with other popular hiking areas, such as Mount Monadnock.

Building a Trailworks Community

With organized and advertised events–eight trailwork events in four months–SRKG with support from the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership hope to grow and strengthen the area’s trailwork community.

Each event will focus on specific improvements to local trails and teach trailwork skills to new volunteers.

The trailwork campaign will also help spread the word about the area’s trails, organizations and conserved lands, which are part of a larger landscape, the Q2C (Quabbin to Cardigan) region.

Volunteers Needed

On Tuesday, July 23, trailwork volunteers have three “help and learn” opportunities: easy, moderate and difficult.

  • Sunapee, Upper Sunapee Village to North Road (Easy) – Blaze a trail: Paint and plastic blazes show the way. To volunteer, contact Lisa Correa (c.lisa7716@gmail.com).
  • Goshen, Lower Summit Trail, Mount Sunapee State Park (Moderate) – Clean a waterbar: Rakes, shovels and a short walk in. Contact Dave Coulter (603-934-0148 )
  • Andover, Ragged Mountain from Proctor Academy (Difficult) – Move a trail requiring a 1.5 mile hike uphill with tools. Contact Gerry Gold (603-526-2857 or geecubed@yahoo.com)

Trailwork is also planned for July 24-26. The Student Conservation Association high school trail crew will be working on the Barlow Trail on Mount Kearsarge at Winslow State Park in Wilmot.  Also, SCA will do trailwork on July 28-31.

Increasing use of highland trails

The highland trails in the region’s state parks, such as on Mount Sunapee and on Mount Kearsarge in Winslow State Park, are seeing ever-increasing traffic including use by large groups that meet up to hike, explained Gold.

With the internet and on-line networking and easy access to information, the area is no longer a secret. The well-publicized areas are seeing many more hikers (of varying experience). More use means more wear and tear to the trails and the need for more trail maintenance.

Also, when new hiking opportunities open up with new or expanded land conservation, the call for experienced trail crews increases.

Ideally, a perfect trail crew member is someone who works on their favorite trails and pathways, Gold added.  However, “even if we only need three or four people on a given day, it may take an email list of 100 to find those people ready and able on that day.”

To learn more about joining the area’s Trailwork Community. Email trails@srkg.com.

For information about the Greenway, including SRKG membership ($10/yr), the SRKG Guide, and volunteer opportunities, visit www.srkg.com or email srkgc@srkg.com.

Sunapee dedicates Herbert Welsh Trail on July 6

WelshTrailMapSunapee, NH — On  Saturday, July 6, at 2 p.m., Sunapee will dedicate a new hiking trail that honors Herbert Welsh (1851‐1941), the little‐known leader of land conservation efforts in the Sunapee Region.

The Sunapee Conservation Commission and Sunapee Historical Society, the event sponsors, invite the public to attend.

The dedication will be held along the marsh shore, a short walk in from the road. A hike to the top of Garnet Hill will follow the dedication.  Meet at the trail head parking area near intersection of Jobs Creek Road and Garnet Hill Road.

The Herbert Welsh Trail adds public hiking access to more of the town’s conservation land at Dewey Woods, including the Rogers Brook Marsh and the top of Garnet Hill. The trail was designed and completed last year.

Nature Art Walk

From July 1 to August 31, 2013, the trail will be marked with more than 30 images of historical Sunapee landscapes connected to Dewey Woods, Garnet Hill and Lake Sunapee, as well as Herbert Welsh’s art. The images will also be on display at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor.

“These historical images tell a story of the evolution of our landscape since 1900 and bring together a display of some of his paintings, many with Sunapee connections,” says Barbara Chalmers, Sunapee, who led the effort to create the Herbert Welsh Trail and the Nature Art Walk.

“Welsh was THE advocate and leader of conservation efforts for Mount Sunapee and the Dewey Woods,” says Chalmers.

The walking crusader Herbert Welsh (1851-1941). Image from his book The New Gentleman of the Road, which chronciled his 450-mile treks from Philadelphia to Sunapee.

The walking crusader Herbert Welsh (1851-1941). Image from his book “The New Gentleman of the Road” that describes his 450-mile treks from Philadelphia to Sunapee.

“A truly renaissance man, Welsh was an artist by training, writer, publisher, conservationist and civil rights advocate. He devoted his life to a variety of causes to aid others less fortunate and to conserve beautiful lands for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Welsh was a founder of the Indian Rights Association, which for 110 years advocated for the American Indian, the International Arbitration Commission, a forerunner of the World Court, the National Municipal League, which still exists today.

He met with three U.S. Presidents regarding Indian rights, civil service reform and good government policies, and in 1892, rode horseback through the Dakota Sioux Reservation with Teddy Roosevelt.

Welsh also was the founder of the Sunapee Chapter of the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

The Walking Crusader

For many years, beginning at age 64, Welsh walked each June from his home in Philadelphia to Sunapee, then back in early fall.

His last ambitious project, in 1929, was to raise funds to build a conference center on land he had bought in Vermont for men and women of all faiths and cultures to meet and discuss the important societal concerns of the day. His dream went unrealized with the Great Depression of the 1930s, explains Chalmers.

Chalmers began researching Welsh’s life a few years back for the 2011 Mount Sunapee Centennial Celebration. She was amazed at what she discovered.

“He was so ahead of his time. His societal concerns became his life’s work: economic and social justice for the American Indian,  fighting corruption in government and the civil service, and land preservation for future generations.  Welsh not only led the effort to conserve land on Mount Sunapee, but he was responsible for conserving Dewey Woods too.”

Among the images along the Nature Art Walk is this “penny postcard” view from 1916: Garnet Hill looking across the lake to Mount Sunapee.

Penny Postcard Garnet Hill to Mt Sunapee

Related articles: New hiking trail in Sunapee honors Herbert Welsh (SunapeeNews.com)

Winter hikes: Enjoy and explore the Lake Sunapee area

Mount Kearsarge winter view toward Pleasant Lake

From Mount Kearsarge: winter view toward Pleasant Lake

Winter is a great time to hit the trails, the local hiking trails. With some preparation, outdoor enjoyment, exploration and exercise awaits you throughout the Lake Sunapee area.

The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge (SRK) Greenway Coalition has planned seven winter hikes that begin January 19. All hikes are free to the public.

For more information, go to www.srkg.com.

Hike organizers ask that you call the volunteer hike leader at least two nights before to learn starting location and time. Also, be prepared for winter conditions with clothing layers, food, and water. Snowshoes are the presumed mode of transport.

  • January 19 (Sat.) – Andy Hager (526-2846) Cross-country ski on logging road from Wilmot to Bunker Place in New London. 4 mi. For experienced x-c skiers. (M)
  • January 26 (Sat.) – Nick Baer (526- 8233) Bog Mountain fun family hike. Children’s activities along the way include animal tracking, games and hot cocoa at the summit. Starting at Stearn’s Road, the hike will finish at the Wilmot Library. 3.1 miles (M)
  • February 2 (Sat.) – Dave Anderson (763-5958) or danderson@forestsociety.org. Dave’s Winter Wildlife Tracking snow shoe hike will take place on the lower slopes of Sunset Hill in Newbury. Dave promises to teach tracking patterns and natural history for common local wild mammals. 2 miles. (E-M)
  • February 9 (Sat.) Brian Faughnan (526-7838) Snowshoe over winter trails in Wilmot’s Patterson Road area. Refreshments afterward at the Faughnans. 3 miles. (M)
  • February 16 (Sat.) Peg Bastien (456-2347) Snowshoe in Warner’s Chandler Reservation up to the old fire tower. Some trails are rather steep. (M)
  • February 24, 25 or 26 – David Cook (526-4570) Fifth Annual Moonlight Madness! Full moon snowshoe in New London to ridge-top skyline vista. Sponsored by SRKGC, Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust and New London Conservation Commission. Date selected for best moonlight conditions. 2 miles; two hours. (M) Not for novice snowshoers.
  • March 2 (Sat.) – Gerry Gold (526-2857) From Andrew Brook Trail to Lake Solitude to Sunapee Ridge to Lucia’s Lookout. Beautiful and strenuous. 10 miles (D)

Greenway Trail Guides are available at local book stores. The SRK Greenway Coalition is a ten-town all-volunteer non-profit organization with members throughout the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge region and beyond.

Share your favorite winter hikes and images via SunapeeNews.com.

Hiking and camping on Mount Sunapee will honor Welsh legacy

On Saturday, August 27 at Mount Sunapee State Park, the Friends of Mount Sunapee and Herbert Welsh Centennial Celebration Committee are sponsoring a day of outdoor activities to honor Herbert Welsh and 100 years of conservation efforts to protect land that is now part of Mount Sunapee State Park—one of New Hampshire’s iconic mountain parks.

Dave Anderson, director of education for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, and Christopher Kane, a conservation biologist who has studied Mount Sunapee’s old growth, will lead a hike to Mount Sunapee’s Lake Solitude, where the group will stop for lunch.

Hikers will be able to learn about the mountain’s natural and cultural history and its old growth forest. Mount Sunapee State Park has the largest known fragment of old growth south of the White Mountains.

Participants will bring a picnic lunch, start from the state park campground at 9 am and return about 2 pm.

To register for the Welsh Centennial Hike to Lake Solitude, visit: welshcentennial827.eventbrite.com

After the hike, participants can further explore the mountain or relax at the state beach on Lake Sunapee. (There is free entrance to the beach area for campers, otherwise there is a nominal state park fee.)

Evening camping activities will start at 5 p.m. and will include music, singing around the campfire and a celebratory cake. Participants will bring own food for the grills–dinner and beverages. Event organizers have reserved several campsites that are available on a first-come basis.

For more information, contact Friends of Mount Sunapee. Email: info@friendsofmountsunapee.org or phone 603-863-0045.

For Centennial activities & updates, visit: friendsofmountsunapee.org.

Photo description: Located along the Sunapee Ridge between the summit and South Peak, at 2,510 feet, is Mount Sunapee’s Lake Solitude.

Coming up: The Life & Times of Herbert Welsh

The walking crusader Herbert Welsh (1851-1941). Image from his book The New Gentleman of the Road, which chronicled his 450-mile treks from Philadelphia to Sunapee.

Sunapee Historical Society

Presents a Cracker Barrel Talk

The Life & Times of

Herbert Welsh

Sunapee Artist, Humanitarian, Indian Rights Activist & Father of Mount Sunapee’s Public Lands

Thursday, July 21, 2011 – 7 PM
Sunapee Historical Society Museum, Sunapee Harbor

Presentation by Barbara Chalmers
Part of Friends of Mount Sunapee
“Mount Sunapee: Welsh Centennial Celebration”

Program is open to the public free of charge. All invited to attend.

Related info…

Legacy of man behind Sunapee purchase to be feted – NewsTimes

SUNAPEE, N.H. AP —The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests owns more than 50,000 acres in 170 locations across the state, and it all began 100 years ago with the purchase of a parcel on Mount Sunapee orchestrated by an unsung crusader named Herbert Welsh. Generations later, those equally passionate about Mount Sunapee are planning a celebration of Welsh and his legacy of saving the mountain from being further gouged by paper companies threatening its old growth forest.

via Legacy of man behind Sunapee purchase to be feted – NewsTimes.

How to best celebrate Mt. Sunapee land conservation?

What is the best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of land conservation on Mount Sunapee? The Friends of Mount Sunapee will host a discussion with all interested in celebrating the event at an upcoming public meeting on Wednesday, April 20th at the Community Methodist Church, 17 Lower Main Street, Sunapee starting at 7:30 p.m.

“2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the first land protection campaign on our beloved Mount Sunapee,” said Tom Elliott, a member of the board of directors for Friends of Mount Sunapee (FOMS). “Learn more and join in the celebration!”

A century ago

A hundred years ago this year, Herbert Welsh, the father of land conservation on Mount Sunapee, led an effort to purchase the first patch of protected forest on Mount Sunapee and place it in the public trust forever.

With clear-cut logging quickly moving up the mountainside, Welsh mobilized Sunapee locals, summer friends, and the Society for the Protection of NH Forests to buy the first 656 acres of land on Mount Sunapee for conservation.

This initial $8,000 campaign became the first in a century of citizen-led efforts to protect many thousands of acres of beautiful, natural forestland on and along the Sunapee Ridge, including the land now preserved in our beloved Mount Sunapee State Park.

To a More Glorious Mount Sunapee

Welsh sometimes ended his persuasive writings with the line, “To a more glorious Mount Sunapee.” FOMS believes that he included “more” because he viewed the 1911 campaign as the first, and not the last, grassroots effort to preserve and enjoy Mount Sunapee.

Following his vision, the Forest Society, State of New Hampshire, and many other supporting organizations continued to protect pieces of the mountain, eventually accumulating a 2,200 acre state park and more than 20,000 acres of wildlands to its south, including Pillsbury State Park and the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway lands.

A century later, Welsh’s initial campaign deserves great recognition. His intention for “more” deserves our energy and support. FOMS would like your help in achieving both. — FOMS meeting announcement

To read more about Herbert Welsh, download/preview or print “Herbert Welsh: Walking Crusader.” (Note: PDF is 1.1 MB.) The article by Shelly Candidus was printed in SooNipi Magazine in 2004. This special re-print of the article includes the “Outline Map of Points Visible from Mount Sunapee” published in the Manual of Mount Sunapee in 1915  for the Sunapee Branch of the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

More information go to the FOMS website or call 603-863-0045.

Photo courtesy of SooNipi Publishing: Taken over a century ago and scanned from a glass negative, the photo (above) is a panoramic view of Lake Sunapee with Mount Sunapee in the distance.

Friends of Mount Sunapee advocates for protection of Mount Sunapee State Park for its essential public values; conservation of the Lake Sunapee watershed and Sunapee highlands; and preservation of the unique character and natural beauty of the rural communities in the mountain’s shadow.

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