Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Forest reclaiming tundra on Moosilauke?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    China
    Posts
    58

    Forest reclaiming tundra on Moosilauke?

    I climbed Mount Moosilauke a few days ago. A hiker on the summit told me the forest cover on top is increasing. Is it really so? Does that mean alpine tundra is in retreat, presumably from natural causes? I noticed healthy patches of krummholz close to the summit on the eastern side. I also saw places where young evergreens had established a foothold in what I thought very windy locations. Of course "young" that high and exposed might mean some years or more.

    I also noticed a building without a roof a hundred meters or so southeast of the summit. Someone said it used to be storage for the summit house, which I hear was destroyed by fire early 1940s. Can anyone shed light on that shed?

    For me this hike held a lot of meaning and memories. I once saw a photo of my mother at the summit house, which would date it ca. early 1940s. I previously climbed the mountain twice, in 1966 and 1967. One of those trips was via Jobildunk Ravine trail. I discussed this with Steve Smith at his bookshop in Lincoln. He said the trail was abandoned around 1970. Once, long after it was abandoned, Steve followed the remains of the trail up through the ravine. The link from ravine floor to the ridge above was obliterated and long gone, however.

    I stayed two nights at the new Ravine Lodge, situated at the base of Moosilauke and rebuilt in the last couple of years by Dartmouth Outing Club. I never saw the old facility but this was impressive indeed. Large, new, clean, a joyful abode. Relatively inexpensive when you consider what you get for an overnight bunk, shower facilities, library, good company and lodge-cooked meals, compared with hotels or AMC huts. You do have to reserve a day or more in advance. No cell phone service, which can be a plus depending on your point of view. There is a land-line for emergencies. No wifi, and when I just had to have it, I drove a few miles to the Moose Hillock campground. And the leaves were turning color.
    散步 Sanbu

  2. #2
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Somerville, MA
    Posts
    4,923
    The foundations below the summit are the old summit cabin/shelter, removed in 1980. It was built after the summit house burned in 1942 and used as a Dartmouth College cabin and an emergency shelter. By the end it was divided into two sections, the emergency shelter in the front which was open to all and the back was locked and only used by the Dartmouth Outing Club. It was dismantled in 1980 (along with other emergency shelters in the Whites) because it was being used on a regular basis, attracting more traffic to the alpine zone rather than being used for true emergencies.

    There was a lot of activity around the summit when the TipTop House was in operation that pushed the krumholtz down. It's been growing back for decades, and I suspect climate change is allowing more to grow than was there before.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,455
    Earlier this month, while doing work with Friends of the Wapack, I had lunch with a gentleman who works with a botanist friend cataloging flora in the White Mountains. He has over 35 years of photographic evidence, the last 5-10 years show a sharp upturn, that demonstrate treeline is creeping up, and that small patches of rare flowers have also been moving up. Some species, IIRC, moved 250' higher in the last 5 years. All attributed to climate change.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    5,418
    Camels Hump in VT has been the site of the one of the longest research study's in the region and they have documented the end of significant acid rain impact and the shifting of the forest types up the mountain. I think folks tend to forget how much of an impact acid rain was having on the Northeast. The sharp cut back on coal and environmental regulations on SO2 and the resultant major drop in acid rain is one of the bigger environmental successes in recent years (along with the CFC ban). I expect some of the regrowth is the result of less acid rain as it as the high elevation softwoods that were bearing the brunt of it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Xanadu
    Posts
    1,905
    That's interesting. Environmental irresponsibility is causing it to grow more; and increased environmental responsibility is causing it to grow more....

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    5,418
    Global Warming is definitely in the mix, the acid rain was knocking high altitude growth back and the warmer climate is moving it closer to the summit.

    Still plenty of acid rain issues around the world especially in developing climates. Coal pretty much equals acid rain unless the plants install scrubbers and actually use them. China requires emissions equipment to be installed on new plants but the local authorities are the one who are supposed to look over the ongoing operation of the plants. Scrubbers cost money to run and eat up horsepower so reportedly a lot of the systems get bypassed.

    Of course one of the technical environmental hacks to deal with global warming is to disperse aerosol SO2 particles in the upper atmosphere to increase the reflectance of the atmosphere to reduce the amount of heat coming in from the sun. The theory has been tested inadvertently by Mother Nature a couple of times after big volcanic explosions. There is definite decrease in earths temps after the plumes have gotten up in the upper atmosphere and have been distributed. The problem is that acid eventually rains down as acid rain.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •