Seeing the Forest for the Trees ARTICLE
Seeing the forest for the trees
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 19:30 | Written by Matt Kanner
A century ago, the Weeks Act paved the way for the creation of White Mountain National Forest and 40 other federally protected lands. Locals look back on the law’s history and ahead to the next 100 years of forest conservation.
Covering roughly a quarter of New Hampshire, the White Mountains are a defining feature of the Granite State’s natural identity.
This northern section of the Appalachian range includes the towering, wind-blasted peak of Mt. Washington and the plummeting, glacial slope of Tuckerman Ravine. It features oft-visited state parks like Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch. It’s home to more than 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the former perch of the Old Man of the Mountain, and ski resorts like Loon, Wildcat and Cannon.
As visitors travel the White Mountains today, taking in its stunning vistas, it’s hard to believe this forest was in danger of vanishing a century ago. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, rampant logging cleared vast swaths of trees from the forest. The resulting erosion and runoff caused massive floods that shut down mills, and fuel spills led to wildfires that blackened whole mountainsides.