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Thread: 400 Acre addition to Franconia State Park

  1. #1
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    400 Acre addition to Franconia State Park

    http://www.newhampshire.com/outdoors...te-Park-010920

    Another piece of state land that will now be off limits to the hiking public (if its appended to Cannon).

    I expect some folks may have differing opinions regarding the reports of the recent success of Cannon Mtn.

    Nevertheless one less place for condos to pop up on, although given the topography I expect it doesn't have the prime view.

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Your link didn't seem to work, hope you don't mind. Looks like you are missing a couple #'s

    http://www.newhampshire.com/outdoors...-Park-01092017

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    How will that be off limits to the hiking public? Articles states is being saved for multiple uses, including hiking.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    How will that be off limits to the hiking public? Articles states is being saved for multiple uses, including hiking.
    It won't effect hiking. peakbagger is only offering his opinion of what might happen nothing more. At this point there is no indication of what he is eluding to of happening. Realize that this article talks about two different events regarding Franconia State Park. First the development of the new USA Ski Team Facility at Cannon Mountain Ski area which is within the State Park and secondly the acquisition of a Land Parcel to be adding to Franconia State Park which according to the article will be multiuse including hiking. In addition the loci map in the article shows the land acquisition is on the other side of the road from Cannon Mountain Ski Area. The chances of that being appended to the Ski Area IMO is pretty slim.
    Last edited by skiguy; 01-10-2017 at 07:01 PM.
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    Hikers and the general public were and I believe still are not allowed to enter Cannon Mtn and the new Mittersill addition (formerly open to the public when it was federally owned) boundaries during the non ski season with the exception of one reportedly poorly marked hiking trail that was opened about two years ago. There was an issue at one point where a member of the public documented significant poor construction practices by a state hired contractor and the response of the state park was to try to prosecute the person who photographed the damage. Its pretty depressing where the policies in place for a section of state owned park are far more restrictive than a private concessionaire on federal land like Waterville Valley, Wildcat, Loon, & Attitash

    I hope the new addition to the park is open to the public but the ski area has always been operated differently than any other state property. Realistically unless hiking trails are put in place I don't see a lot of public use in that new addition.

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    In the article, FNSP Mgr. John deVivo says there will be a series of public hearings on the 400-acre parcel and any proposed changes over the next 18-24 months.

    Given all the under-tended miles of trail we contend with now, I would think that adding any more trails should have to clear a high bar before they are approved. Even within FNSP there are many sites in need of rebuilding as well as routine tending (OBP, Lonesome Lake between lake and Kinsman Ridge Trail I have observed fairly recently). Good though they are, there are not enough of the AMC's pro crew to go around, and then there is the funding problem. Thus I say, if you cannot maintain it then you should not build it.

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    The article also quotes DeVivo as saying the new tract "goes right down to the Gale river", which is plainly not true. (Based either on the map in the article, or on ab-initio map drawing assuming only that it's adjacent to the existing park, won't include already-developed tracts, is a non-gerrymandered shape, and is only 400 acres.)

    I'm not sure why this land was added to the park, and it sounds like the park service doesn't have a clear plan for it either. It's not particularly desirable territory for hiking. Preventing development on the northwest slope of Artist's Bluff does preserve a classic fall-foliage view from the Franconia area over Artist's Bluff to Lafayette, so the cynic in me wonders if some real estate developer planning to build a bit further north/west had a hand in this.

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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    It's still not clear if and when they are going to reopen the hiking trail on Mittersill. Anyone have any additional info on that?
    I realize its ski season. I would be looking to hike it next summer. Seems like it was only open a short time.
    Last edited by Grey J; 01-13-2017 at 06:13 PM. Reason: clarification
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    Given the ongoing "funky economics" of Cannon I look at the acquisition cynically. NH parks division has to be self supporting and the state has large blocks of land that are either totally undeveloped or poorly developed due to lack of potential revenue. Capital repairs rarely get done unless some unusual source of funding pops up like the ski jump rehab in Berlin being funded by Red Bull or cell tower installations on public land funding local improvements to the parks that have been degraded by the addition of a cell tower. Its odd that they would spend hard to get dollars on a piece of raw land unless they had plans for it. It usually breaks down to one of two things, a seller needs the cash and they have political pull to get the state to buy it or the state has term plans for the parcel and they don't care to reveal them.

    By the way in case someone cares to debate the "funky economics", feel free to visit this website http://www.taxpayersforcannon.com/news.php I have no involvement with it but it does seem to make a convincing case and backs it up that there are ongoing abuses and creative financing.

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    Although tabloid style reasoning naturally seems well suited for internet news and investigation, sometimes things are simpler then they seem http://www.nhstateparks.org/news-and...quisition.aspx

    First mention of this effort that I heard was based on excitement over the forest resources.

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    I have no doubt that its purchase can be justified, but do you think the state agency that is buying it would actually not come to conclusion they need to buy it? The linked document is nice PR piece full of great buzzwords.

    With respect to the viewshed protection the majority of the property appears to be shaded from view by Bald Mountain/Artists bluff. At least a portion along Rt 18 is visible from the Mittersill base private development so perhaps the state wants to protect the viewshed of the private landowners? Considering the major effort by the state to bring back Mittersill at no cost to the private landowners who had substantial investments at peril in properties at Mittersill this is potentially more rational. I expect few would argue that owning a home or condo at the base of defunct ski area compared to being at the base of functioning ski area is going to substantially increase its value. The Mittersill landowners were in this situation and the state of NH generously spent state money to rectify that situation so why not spend more to increase those private property values?

    The only hiking trail remotely near the parcel is Artist Bluff trail which is a not connected to any trail network. This area is outside of the FS declaration boundary so any trail would have to be built and maintained by the state. Unless new policies are in place, I have not seen opening new hiking trails as a priority. Existing trails appear to maintained but that is about it. Far more likely would be some other type of trail. The only trails that the state appears actively encouraging to be built are snowmachine and ATV trails. It also could be used for cross country ski trails but I don't think the state is very active with cross country ski trails. Given the NE Facing slope, the most logical trail development is downhill skiing or a tubing park.

    Future state park development on the flatter parts of the property and expand existing services is pretty broad. Going along with my prior post I speculated that there is already a plan in place for the future of this acquisition the state just elects not to tell the general public. There is quite a demand for the camper parking spaces at the base of Cannon so perhaps that is the anticipated expansion onto the flatter spots of the property? Given the lack of capital funding for even keeping existing state park infrastructure maintained unless the state leases it to private party, I don't see any development being done unless the Sunapee gravy train is tapped again and that would imply ski related development.

    I do agree that it protects a watershed and seep habitat and if the state actively did forest management it may be good place to practice it. I really haven't seen the state actively managing existing small state owned forests in the north country but maybe they are planning to ramp up this effort substantially. I do agree the state does actively manage Nash Stream but the majority of the cuts up there appear to be revenue cuts utilizing existing older infrastructure in place. Wildlife management is pretty passive, just keep it from development and the wildlife manages itself.

    IMHO, all of the attributes of the property are worth protecting but the state of late generally doesn't just buy land for just that reason, they normally let private entities like the nature conservancy or SPNHF step in if the goal is strictly conservation . There generally is an ulterior motive and given the desperate efforts to prop up Cannon and the given the proximity of the tract to Cannon its particularly easy to question what this ultimate agenda is.

    The FS declaration boundary in this area is quite interesting, it definitely has a significant "jigsaw" pattern that I suspect had a reason in the past. This parcel nicely fills in a logical block of what should have been WMNF land by extending it up against Route 18. I expect the WMNF would have snapped it up in heartbeat except that it was outside the boundary. Given the land swap that occurred between the state and WMNF to get Mittersill previously maybe there is future land swap in the offing.

  12. #12
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    Although tabloid style reasoning naturally seems well suited for internet news and investigation, sometimes things are simpler then they seem http://www.nhstateparks.org/news-and...quisition.aspx

    First mention of this effort that I heard was based on excitement over the forest resources.
    Excellent post. It is nice to see the State make efforts to expand and protect one of it's finest resources. IMO this is a transparent effort unlike The Bill proposed to modify operations in Franconia Notch State Park by "The Hiking State Senator" a few years ago that was laced with a hidden agenda. Which by the way was shot down by voters.
    Last edited by skiguy; 01-15-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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