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Thread: Winter Parking At Cog Railway Lot

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Winter Parking At Cog Railway Lot

    Never parked in the Cog lot Winter or Summer. I have asked about in the past for Summer use and I know in the Summer there is a lower hiker lot you can park in that to my knowledge is free (I have driven in there to see set up and location). Is the Winter set up the same, i.e. they plow the lower hiker lot and it is free? If not and you have to park and pay up top what is the fee? And how do you pay it if you get there early and the office has not opened yet and/or you get out of the woods after they have closed? Is there some sort of envelope system like the iron rangers at WMNF trailheads? I don't see any parking info on the Cog site.

    Any clarification would be helpful. I didn't see any recent threads on the topic. Thanks.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member 1SlowHiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Never parked in the Cog lot Winter or Summer. I have asked about in the past for Summer use and I know in the Summer there is a lower hiker lot you can park in that to my knowledge is free (I have driven in there to see set up and location). Is the Winter set up the same, i.e. they plow the lower hiker lot and it is free? If not and you have to park and pay up top what is the fee? And how do you pay it if you get there early and the office has not opened yet and/or you get out of the woods after they have closed? Is there some sort of envelope system like the iron rangers at WMNF trailheads? I don't see any parking info on the Cog site.

    Any clarification would be helpful. I didn't see any recent threads on the topic. Thanks.
    From my small experience (only twice - march and April of2012), there is no charge at the Cog parking lot if the cog is not running. and I'm pretty sure it is usually plowed. I'm sure I'll be corrected if that's not true. My only problem was finding the start of the cog spur that joins the Ammo. Second time I did it I just BW a short distance from the lot in a direction perpendicular to the trail to find it.
    Marvin from RI,
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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SlowHiker View Post
    From my small experience (only twice - march and April of2012), there is no charge at the Cog parking lot if the cog is not running. and I'm pretty sure it is usually plowed. I'm sure I'll be corrected if that's not true. My only problem was finding the start of the cog spur that joins the Ammo. Second time I did it I just BW a short distance from the lot in a direction perpendicular to the trail to find it.
    Thanks. I drove into the lot this Summer to take Jewell Trail and really couldn't figure out where that trail started either. I didn't get too far though because several people walking back said the bridge was out and the river was waist high so I wound up heading back down to the official trail head. I assume in Winter there is a pretty well trampled track into the woods for these spurs? Guess I'll find out soon enough.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Depending on how it's plowed, you'll either be able to park in the paved lot right beside Marshfield Station or in the overflow lot a couple hundred yards down the hill.
    Joe

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustJoe View Post
    Depending on how it's plowed, you'll either be able to park in the paved lot right beside Marshfield Station or in the overflow lot a couple hundred yards down the hill.
    What, no picture of the lots?? Thanks.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Joe

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    JustJoe, you are the undisputed master of photography to support your posts. Thanks.

    In a related question, why are they plowing this lot if the Cog doesn't run in Winter and they aren't collecting parking fees? How does that maintenance get paid for?
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post

    In a related question, why are they plowing this lot if the Cog doesn't run in Winter and they aren't collecting parking fees? How does that maintenance get paid for?
    Can't say why they plow all the way to Marshfield Station. Perhaps, to be able to check on the building occasionally throughout the winter. But the lower lot being plowed would only be for hikers this time of year as far as I can figure. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    Joe

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    Senior Member KPMMBM's Avatar
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    I remember that day well!

    Quote Originally Posted by JustJoe View Post


    Keith
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    There is a year round crew working at the cog on equipment. I expect that they plow the building for fire access. When I first started hiking, the crew plowed Mt Clinton road. During the week they usually left the gate unlocked but locked it on the weekends. The lower base road was not plowed and was used a snowmachine trail. At some point the Cog owners got permission to plow the base road and the snowmachine trail was relocated off of it.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-30-2016 at 05:33 AM.

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    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Informational post for Ammo Ravine Trail and its various access points:

    If you are parking at Marshfield Station, walk behind the building (opposite side from the road you take in), go past the dumpster that usually sits at the back of the lot and go up the little hill by the cottages. The trail begins in the upper right back corner of those cottages if facing from Marshfield Station. In 0.3 miles, this spur trail connects to the Main Ammo Ravine trail at a junction close to a mile from the lower USFS Lot.

    If you park in the plowed hiker lot a couple tenths below Marshfield Station, there is a rogue trail in the woods in the upper end of the lot which leads you to essentially the same place or you can walk the road to the spur trail behind the station.

    If you park in the lower USFS lot, you take the entire Ammo Ravine Trail. It's one mile or so to the junction with the spur trail from Marshfield and has a crossing worth mentioning.

    The lower lot is not necessarily plowed regularly.
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    Senior Member 1SlowHiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    Informational post for Ammo Ravine Trail and its various access points:

    The lower lot is not necessarily plowed regularly.
    the 2 times i was there it was not.
    Marvin from RI,
    http://1slowhiker.blogspot.com
    48/48NH4K, 67/67NE4K, 100/100NEHH, 44/48 WNH4K

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SlowHiker View Post
    the 2 times i was there it was not.
    I thought that lot was gated in Winter. Can't say I've been in there a lot in Winter but I recall it being gated off the times when I did drive up the road.

    Thanks for the added detail peakbagger and Raven.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I thought that lot was gated in Winter. Can't say I've been in there a lot in Winter but I recall it being gated off the times when I did drive up the road.

    Thanks for the added detail peakbagger and Raven.
    As I think about it, I can't recall it actually being plowed in winter. I believe it was gated the last time I was there in early spring this past year.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
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  15. #15
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    The FS parking lot is gated in the winter. I have seen folks pulled into the entrance in the past in the spring. In many years its stays locked after the snow has substantially melted. Its opening is primarily linked with when Lake of the Crowds opens.

    The plowing of this lot has come up in the past. Its a US fee lot and appears to be the only one that I am aware of that has a plowed road in front of it that is not plowed year round. I expect the cog lot is so much more convenient that the FS has elected not to plow the official lot as long as the cog is willing to allow winter hikers to use the cog lots. The cogs approach to hiker parking year round has varied with the owners and year to year. For several years they actively managed hiker parking and charged for it but it sounds as though this has decreased in past years.

    The plowing of the base station road may also be one of the reasons the cog allows winter parking. The base station road is at least partially a state road and for many years the state plowing stopped at the Bretton Woods property boundary. The cog wanted to continue the plowing to the base station but the state would not allow it. The reported reason by the state was that the road was not built to be a year round road and that plowing it in the winter and winter use would deteriorate it. This is partially valid as a road that is not plowed in the winter is far less subject to freeze thaw cycles as the snow blanket acts to insulate it. (It is far more questionable with a road that is used for snowmachines as they compact the snow into ice and delay thawing). I expect the far more practical reason was that the road was a popular snowmachine trail and I expect the use of state resources to plow it for its entire length also factored in. The state did allow the Cog to privately plow the Mt Clinton road which also is seasonal road and as most who travel it will acknowledge is in very deteriorated condition. There was also an attempt around in the late eighties by the cog owners to run spring ski trains to the top of Mt Washington. They actively were advertising and selling tickets one season before the USFS put a stop to it and I suspect that that factored into keeping the road unplowed.

    At some point in the late eighties/early nineties during the Savings and Loan Crisis the Bretton Woods ski area and the Mt Washington Hotel become pawns in the real estate market leading to at least one maybe two foreclosures. During the turmoil, the ski area got separated from the hotel. The cog owners, who predated the S&L crisis, at one point picked up both properties at foreclosure and one of their goals was to integrate the Cog properties on Mt Washington with the ski area. They had acquired political clout over the years and the state highway departments objections were overruled and the snowmachine route relocated off the road. There was an new attempt for a few seasons to add Cog serviced skiing of Mt Washington "restricted to the Cog property" to the ski areas attractions but a combination of poor snow and high costs doomed this effort. Somewhere around this time, the cog owners who had acquired both the hotel and ski area sold out to the current owners at a reportedly very high profit so the link with the ski area was far less important.

    Where I am not sure is what entity assumed the plowing of the road. I believe it is the state but it may be the cog. Based on the width plowed and overall approach to plowing it looks like state plowing as a private contractor would traditionally plow a much skinnier plowed surface. If it is the state, then it would be reasonable that hiker use would be accommodated and I expect that the cog would much rather deal with winter and early spring hiker parking then to plow the road. Despite the cog road being plowed, the FS lot has not been plowed and has remained gated. Over the years there have been some complaints and generally the FS has responded that they lack the resources to plow the lots they do plow and expanding the effort is not possible. Given the preferable option of free parking at the cog versus fee parking at the FS lot I expect the FS realizes that the winter revenue will not cover the plowing costs unless the Cog outright bans hiker parking.

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