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)

One Response

  1. Thanks for blogging this important event. I’ll be taking my little one on the trail as soon as we can get over there.

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