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Thread: Ongoing work on Mt. Washington

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kevin, Judy and Emma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Kingston, NH.

    Ongoing work on Mt. Washington

    I noticed some work going on at the heli-pad just below the summit of Mount Washington. If you log onto their site you can see what I mean on their North View Cam:

    I thought perhaps they had started the long awaited new septic system but it is actually a clean-up effort by the Cog RR people. After some quick correspondence with Mike Pelchat of the MW State Park I got this as an explanation:

    "White Mt Communications, who dug the trench next to the tracks and installed the power and fiber optic cables was also hired by the Cog to pick up discarded railway timbers along the line. They started at the summit and have picked up all that debris now close to Skyline. What a big improvement in the looks of the summit and for the Cog operation. Once done in a week or so, they'll be installing more waterbars and putting the rocks back to hide the work road along the cog right of way. This is the same company that we hired to put in the summits new year round septic system. Its still in the design permitting stage but we are hopeful it will be installed this summer. Its a Lifewater Package Plant to be installed which has had great success in Alaska and other remote/cold locations:

    This system is being custom built for MWSP in Alaska, and it will handle 5,000 gal a day. Our fiber optic line has been tested and is awaiting equipment to build a network. The power has been fairly stable since a battery of regulators where installed in Twin Mt last march. Although we did have an outage on Monday when a limb took out two phases near the Mt Washington Hotel. That line from 302 to Marshfield is the 2nd most outage prone power line segment in the state. So our generators have to be maintained and ready for back-up duty. Then we got buried fuel oil line upgrades between the buildings to install this summer along with new emergency generators and switchgear. So a busy construction season has started for the park!"

    And also:

    "I think your looking at the pile of debris on the heli-pad on Homestretch via the Obs North View Web Cam? Yes that's the old Cog RR timbers holding area. They are not pressure treated ties but heavy pitched southern yellow pine. Still many have decades of cog grease and oil on them so its not appropriate to burn. WMC is hauling sand and gravel to the summit in 10 wheelers at night for other projects, then the empty trucks have been taking the timbers from that heli-pad stock pile on their return trip.
    We have been working closely with botanists and soil scientist from US Forest Service and our departments NH Natural History Inventory Bureau on how to best restore that power line/work road. It's obvious that we cannot seed and mulch with valley grass in the Alpine Zone, so we're looking at other methods to encourage the local vegetation to take root. Fortunately Forest Service has some experience in this area in their work reclaiming illegal campsites in the Alpine Zone. Best thing for now, after the construction equipment has moved off, is to put it back as close as possible to its original condition (sans cog timbers) and let her rest, i.e. please don't hike it as an easy way to Cog Base."

    I know the buildings, roads, trains etc. are a sticking point with many, including myself, but the folks at the State Park and Observatory are ernest in their effort to make the environment at the summit as "green" as possible. Cleaning up the debris beside the tracks, replacing the septic with a better, cleaner system and the switch from diesel powered generators to electric power from the valley are, in my mind, all vast improvements over the last year. When all the bugs are worked out of the valley power system they will start to remove all but one or two of the oil tanks from the unsightly tank field just below the summit.

    Realistically we will never see the summit returned to a pristine mountaintop, but it is good to know that efforts are being made to make it as "tidy" as possible.

    "Use what talents you possess- the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best."

    Henry Jackson Van Dyke

  2. #2
    Senior Member Woody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Leominster, MA Avatar: Crow Hill Mixed

    Thanks for the informative post. I think the improvements are going in the right direction.

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