View Full Version : Summit signs...

01-10-2004, 10:02 AM
Anyone out there know if anyone is responsible for summit / trail signs in the Whites? I noticed that there appears to be a lack of summit signs, especially on the lesser traveled peaks. I have a small hobby shop and am willing to begin the task if there isn't anything unlawful about it. I do understand that some of these signs do tend to get stolen (Owl's head) so there would be some serious fastening involved. If anyone has ideas on this, let me know. I was mostly thinking of those wooded peaks where it is not always clear where the summit is located. ANyway, I am willing...

David Metsky
01-10-2004, 10:08 AM
Different organizations take care of different trails and peaks. Most of them look very unfavorably at people putting unofficial signs up, so make sure you contact them before trying anything.

Random wooded peaks in the National Forest probably don't have signs because it's not a high priority. In the Wilderness Areas they are not there on purpose. Most untrailed peaks would be under the control of the WMNF, and you would definately have to go through them before putting anyting up.

Which peaks are you concerned about?


01-10-2004, 11:20 AM
I wasn't thinking of any peaks in particular. I just noticed that when I was on East Osceola the other day, the summit was so non-descript. I thought it odd that the Carters (South and Middle) have small signs and Willey, Field and Tom (and many others) do not. This may be more of a pain in the butt than it's worth. I wouls make the signs to mimic the trail signs, and not like some of the other distasteful signs (like Moosilauke... no offense to whoever made it. Tell me is wasn't you Dave) I anticipate resistance from the purists. Thought it might be a good idea... Maybe not

01-10-2004, 11:40 AM
For the open summits, I prefer just having the cairns. They fit into the landscape better. For the less discernible summits, I can see your impetus.

For example, I like the Zealand sign. Even as obvious as the summit is, it's enjoyable to have some kind of "marker of accomplishment" there. For Willey, which isn't even a wide spot in the trail, a sign (smaller than a trail sign, less obtrusive) would be kind of nice - it would be less of a feeling of "Um, okay, I guess I'm here". For many of the open summits I wouldn't want any marker at all. I can, however, think of some peaks which have only cairns for which it's hard to tell "is that summit cairn or just another large cairn along the trail?" I know the practice is to put a white stone on the top, but quartz is not to be found everywhere.

But even then ... who, if not someone trying to complete the lists, would be as anticipatory about "tagging" these summits?

Anyways, I guess I have a mixed opinion but hopefully offer a few things to think about.

01-10-2004, 02:26 PM
For designated Wilderness, the Forest Service policy is to provide directional trail signs at junctions but "interpretive" signs, which include summit signs, are not allowed. As sign maker for Wonalancet Out Door Club, I have been directed to NOT place signs at summits in Wilderness, which include all the summits within the WODC trail system. The only summit you will find signed is East Sleeper, which I put up as an individual (without the blessings of WODC or USFS) after the sign that Gene Daniell put up disappeared. The reason being: the summit is so flat and the trail dead-ends there so that without a sign people tend to wander around to be sure they found the summit, causing quite a bit of soil compaction and trampled vegetation. The remaining summits (Whiteface, Passaconaway and our two 3000 footers) don't seem to suffer from this problem, with the exception of West Sleeper, which I believe is on the Trailwrights list.

Something to think about: If you want the federal version of Wilderness, then you will have to put up with fewer signs, shelters and designated campsites. If you don't think the tradeoff is worth it, then you better pay close attention to the WMNF Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Plan, which is due out any time now, and make your thoughts known during the public comment period.

Edit: Opps, my mistake. West Sleeper isn't on the Trailwrights list. It isn't even a 4K peak. Maybe it used to be on the NE100. For whatever reason, it tends to get visited frequently enough to receive a distinct impact.