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View Full Version : Belknao Carriage Road Closure - Set Date or Weekend Each Year?



Driver8
11-23-2015, 04:44 PM
I had hoped to do a quick hike up Belknap Sunday, as the weather in the higher mountains further north was not to my specs for a hike up Willey or East O - too wet and slick, the forecasts being belied. Was hoping to hit the summit later afternoon and catch some late-opening views and get back to the car before dark. Everything was clouded and foggy up high earlier.

Anyhow, when I got to the road later in the afternoon, it was closed, to my surprise. Had I known, I'd have planned to get there earlier to avoid a hike down in the dark (took my time meandering and sight-seeing in the car - Evans Notch was beautiful). As it was, the time was too short for that with the additional 2.4 miles round-trip, so I turned the car around and made my way on to CT. Without a hint of snow, this seemed premature - the public roads up in the Whites are, last check, all still open due to no or minimal snow.

So the question: does this gate close, snow or no, on a set date or weekend each year? What date is that, or is there a page where this is posted?

Consolation Prize: stopped by Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant for lunch - neat place, and their big turkey dinner plate provided four meals worth of hearty food, 3/4 of which made the trip with me to CT. Their phone was ringing steadily with inquiries while I was there. For the record, if you don't know and want to - they are open 10AM to 4PM Thanksgiving, get there an hour earlier than you wish to eat to account for the expected wait, they close the door at 4 to new arrivals but will feed all customers inside the door by that time.

rocket21
11-23-2015, 05:56 PM
The gate is opened and closed every day by volunteers. Without these volunteers, the gate would likely be locked year round. There are many worthy smaller vertical peaks nearby, such as Mt. Rowe, Locke's Hill, and Whiteface.

This year's closing date has been posted in NewEnglandTrailConditions.com conditions reports for a few weeks.

Driver8
11-23-2015, 07:13 PM
The gate is opened and closed every day by volunteers. Without these volunteers, the gate would likely be locked year round. There are many worthy smaller vertical peaks nearby, such as Mt. Rowe, Locke's Hill, and Whiteface.

This year's closing date has been posted in NewEnglandTrailConditions.com conditions reports for a few weeks.

Ok, thanks - I see that on October 27, four weeks ago, you posted on NETC that the gate closing date for the year this year is November 15. It's too bad I didn't go back through those several old trail reports on the mountain - face palm. At least you posted at NETC about the seasonal closure this year - looks like no one did in '13 or '14. Other sources informed me that the gate nightly closes at 6 pm, outside the winter season, as you also shared.

Do the BRATTs post notice each fall of the closure date anywhere? Nothing about it on their FB page this year, and I don't see anything here: http://belknaprangetrails.org

TrailwrightBratt
11-23-2015, 09:47 PM
DRED made the decision years ago to close on Nov. 15th regardless of conditions.
It may be premature to you but it has to be decided without worrying about conditions. Some times there is snow and ice but mostly not.
I do put up the sign well before the closing date with the notification. Sorry for your inconvenience.
The gate will reopen for snowmobiling when conditions warrant. However it also is closed on occasion if the conditions are not good. That is decided by the Sno Mo Club or me if I see dangerous conditions.

Driver8
11-25-2015, 12:36 AM
DRED made the decision years ago to close on Nov. 15th regardless of conditions.
It may be premature to you but it has to be decided without worrying about conditions. Some times there is snow and ice but mostly not.
I do put up the sign well before the closing date with the notification. Sorry for your inconvenience.
The gate will reopen for snowmobiling when conditions warrant. However it also is closed on occasion if the conditions are not good. That is decided by the Sno Mo Club or me if I see dangerous conditions.

Well, TWB, it was inconvenient for me, but I appreciate that it's a consistent date, year over year. Would be nice if that were posted at the FB page and at your very nice site. I'm sure most users of the trails are repeaters and locals, but many of us are not. Good to keep us "outsiders" in mind, too - we don't see signs posted on site until we get there. :)

It was that sort of day for me. Sometimes the pleasure of driving through pretty, new-to-me country has to be enough. It was awfully nice, and the visit to the turkey farm restaurant happy and memorable. Thanksgiving all week, or close to it! I look forward to hiking some of your beautiful trails ere long. Thanks for the loving care you and your peers pour into them. And thanks for your kind consideration.

Chris

PS: What's DRED?

rocket21
11-25-2015, 04:41 AM
Well, TWB, it was inconvenient for me, but I appreciate that it's a consistent date, year over year. Would be nice if that were posted at the FB page and at your very nice site. I'm sure most users of the trails are repeaters and locals, but many of us are not. Good to keep us "outsiders" in mind, too - we don't see signs posted on site until we get there. :)

It was that sort of day for me. Sometimes the pleasure of driving through pretty, new-to-me country has to be enough. It was awfully nice, and the visit to the turkey farm restaurant happy and memorable. Thanksgiving all week, or close to it! I look forward to hiking some of your beautiful trails ere long. Thanks for the loving care you and your peers pour into them. And thanks for your kind consideration.

Chris

PS: What's DRED?

belknaprangetrails.org is not owned or operated by the BRATTS.

DRED is New Hampshire's Department of Resource and Economic Development (Forests and Lands falls under this banner), who as Hal said, made the closing decision. They do not list it on their site as far as I know.

TrailwrightBratt
11-25-2015, 09:43 AM
Rocket You are correct. The Div. of Forest and Lands is the part of DRED that is charged with decisions pertaining to the Belknap State Forest.
They however do not take responsibility for the gate operations. The Gate was requested by the town of Gilford to stop vandalism and fires at the top of the carriage road and the agreement was the town would man it.
That fell through in short order and was left open for many years until serious fires and continued vandalism really got out of hand. A volunteer group was organized and received permission to man the gate on a daily basis. They do the best they can and the date for annual closing was asked and approved by DRED. We have followed that decision ever since.

As for the notices: We have done the best we can. We do not inconveience anyone on purpose as you know but where do you draw a line for notices?
There are many places that it could be posted so who is responsible to do it ?. As you know a notice is put up on the gate well before the closing and it is on the Trail conditions sight as you know thanks to Rocket 21.

In a perfect world it could be posted on all internet sights etc. I have hiked in every state while high pointing and always felt it was my responsibility to learn the rules and information pertaining to the places I will be hiking.
I have been disappointed several times with closings etc. That comes with the territory especially west of the Rockies and we have to live with it as you did.
We will try and do better in the future. You are the only hiker that has complained about it being premature.
Even better I could send you any information on whatever comes up and you could pass the info to all the sights..:)