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Thread: AMC granted new "Pooper Chopper" Heli Site

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    AMC granted new "Pooper Chopper" Heli Site

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    The reason IMHO for the helipad is far more that the owner of the Cog is being vindictive to the AMC for their opposition to the Cog hotel than it is claim that AMC had left barrels of waste in the parking lot for an extended period at some point in the past. The cog has aggressive plans to substantially increase the peak ridership of the cog and expect that they are going to need the limited space in their inholding to support more parking and other support structures. The helicopter flights are now limited by the AMC (and RMC) special use permits to a small window in the off season in spring and late fall so its not like this is a year round occurrence. AMC did use helicopters more frequently during the summer prior to the controversial re-permitting action in 1998 where they had to justify the continued existence of the huts and one of the stipulations of the new permit was limiting helicopter use to a narrow window. There is one of these designated landing sites off of Zealand road behind a gate on FR 155 and expect few if any folks even know its there and expect the same will occur at the new site. I have been at the Highland Center when they are doing helicopter operation to support Mitzpah and expect the impact is far more noticeable. Realistically an opening in the canopy in this area is probably a net positive as it provides a bit of edge habitat.

    It was established earlier in news reports that employees and friends of employees were encouraged to protest the permitting action and at least one letter is from the cog and would guess that some of the other letters may have linkage to the cog. Last thing I knew the rebuild of the Lakes of the Clouds septic system permitting application was still on hold by the forest service as it has been for many years which most likely would reduce the amount of septage AMC would have to carry down with a helicopter.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The reason IMHO for the helipad is far more that the owner of the Cog is being vindictive to the AMC for their opposition to the Cog hotel than it is claim that AMC had left barrels of waste in the parking lot for an extended period at some point in the past. The cog has aggressive plans to substantially increase the peak ridership of the cog and expect that they are going to need the limited space in their inholding to support more parking and other support structures.
    Being vindictive and needing more space are two different reasons that you site but are in different lines of reasoning. The Cog is not under any obligation to support the AMC and why should they have to. Especially when The AMC has been in opposition to the Cog's development. Needing more room to utilize the land that they already own seems like a logical reason. The more pertinent point of this situation is that now the AMC has been given a permit to operate on Federal Land which was designated with certain environmental protections. This type of waiver is a slippery slope which has been greased in The AMC's favor for a long time. The AMC should be in a mode of decreasing their carbon footprint rather than perpetually increasing it. Which is a mantra they preach but do not practice. Let's not forget that their has been more than one instance of spillage.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Being vindictive and needing more space are two different reasons that you site but are in different lines of reasoning. The Cog is not under any obligation to support the AMC and why should they have to. Especially when The AMC has been in opposition to the Cog's development.
    I think Presby realizes that the Cog has as much (or more) national historical significance as Pinkham Notch. So why allow the build out on the eastern slope and not on the western slope? And that is a fair question IMHO.

    Lakes processing 90 guests a night three-four months of the year at 5000 feet ASL is OK, but a hotel (on a sewer line) at 4400 feet ASL on the western slope is not? Please explain!

    In the Alps or Dolomites the entire situation would be laughable!

    cb
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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    In the Alps or Dolomites the entire situation would be laughable!
    cb
    But in those areas there are hundreds of spectacular peaks above treeline as opposed to a small hand full in the Whites. Junking up one or two peaks among hundreds feels far less intrusive to junking up 1 of 5 or 6 in a small area IMO.
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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    But in those areas there are hundreds of spectacular peaks above treeline as opposed to a small hand full in the Whites. Junking up one or two peaks among hundreds feels far less intrusive to junking up 1 of 5 or 6 in a small area IMO.
    Definitely know what you mean about junking things up. The AMC has already done a pretty good job of it. Now with this new site they have more potential to junk up some Federal Land. Just a reminder of just how good a job they already are doing it on their own land.
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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I think Presby realizes that the Cog has as much (or more) national historical significance as Pinkham Notch. So why allow the build out on the eastern slope and not on the western slope? And that is a fair question IMHO.

    Lakes processing 90 guests a night three-four months of the year at 5000 feet ASL is OK, but a hotel (on a sewer line) at 4400 feet ASL on the western slope is not? Please explain!

    In the Alps or Dolomites the entire situation would be laughable!

    cb
    I've been saying this all along. I think the hotel should be approved, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Either let him have his hotel, or take the down Huts. All the excuses that the AMC contributes don't hold water with me. The treeline should be left pristine. I also don't believe people would just start camping there, if the huts were gone. Do you see tents anywhere else on the Northern peaks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    Do you see tents anywhere else on the Northern peaks?
    Yup. Edmands Col is used pretty frequently. It's also a former shelter site near water like the hut sites would be if taken down. I see nothing stopping people (mostly thrubies) from camping at either Lakes or Madison if removed. I still don't think the huts should be there but there are probably reasons beyond distance that those specific locations were chosen and those reasons make them attractive to backpackers.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    But in those areas there are hundreds of spectacular peaks above treeline as opposed to a small hand full in the Whites. Junking up one or two peaks among hundreds feels far less intrusive to junking up 1 of 5 or 6 in a small area IMO.
    Interesting that you perceive high mountain facilities as "junking up" the terrain. I bet thousands of European hikers and mountaineers might take exception to that depiction of their home ranges! A visit to any of the high mountain hotels, huts or hostels in Europe is eye opening: They are very well run, offer multiple levels of service and cost, and greatly enhance the overall mountain experience of the trekker.

    The AMC does some good stuff, but they also drive usage and enjoy having things go their own way. I think it's fine for the Cog to raise questions about that, and to challenge the status quo.

    At the end of the day, would a hotel on the cog tracks ruin the experience of a Presi hike? Maybe not if you couldn't get a reservation at Madison or Lakes!

    cb
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    I think one has to look at if the AMC were trying to build Lakes today, they would likely face a ton of opposition as well. Consider how the Crawford Notch hut went.

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    If we want to drift the thread to the huts, I have 1" thick EIS on the pros cons of the huts and why the FS decided their continued use from 1998 was the best option of three options, tear them down, run them on caretaker basis or continued use. One of the outcomes was limiting helicopter use to twice a years during limited windows. Realistically the AMC helicopter landing spot in a former forestry landing on the base station road or lack thereof does not make or break the AMC LOC operation. What it does do is reduces the impact of those operations to the public. I don't see a downside compared to the major impacts associated with skiing operations that consume and trash far more acreage of WMNF land.

    Somehow the Cog hotel discussion seems to have crept back into the discussion despite it being an effectively dead issue until such point that the Cog elects to actually file an application to the Coos county planning board. The current planning regulations are pretty clear that development regulated by the county is not allowed above a certain elevation. The only way around is change the regulations or get a variance and the professional planner for the board had commented that in her opinion the project did not qualify for the variance.

    With respect to the east side versus west side development, all parties are within their rights to fully develop the land in their inholding as long as it meets county, state and federal planning requirements. The cogs inholding is small relative to the auto road's which prior to the early 90s was considerably larger. The Auto road owners made a deal with the WMNF to sell a large amount of the inholding with the agreement that the WMNF would not object to development of the remaining inholding.

    The recently approved Camp Dodge expansion is far more radical than the proposed base road landing spot yet I have heard almost no objections to the Camp Dodge special use permit.

    Unlike Europe the amount of high alpine terrain is very limited in Northern New England and current research suggests its declining as vegetation is slowly shifting up slope. I dont expect there is lot of support to degrade what left by adding another non-comforming use to the alpine zone.

    Given the overwhelming opposition to the proposed hut on state land in Crawford Notch (immediately adjacent to the WMNF), the public seems to have spoken that further backcountry accommodations no matter who wants to build them are going to be opposed. Of course the state can continue to do what they want on the summit as long as its within their boundary.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
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ID:	6205 I don't see a downside compared to the major impacts associated with skiing operations that consume and trash far more acreage of WMNF land.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Interesting that you perceive high mountain facilities as "junking up" the terrain. I bet thousands of European hikers and mountaineers might take exception to that depiction of their home ranges! A visit to any of the high mountain hotels, huts or hostels in Europe is eye opening: They are very well run, offer multiple levels of service and cost, and greatly enhance the overall mountain experience of the trekker.

    The AMC does some good stuff, but they also drive usage and enjoy having things go their own way. I think it's fine for the Cog to raise questions about that, and to challenge the status quo.

    At the end of the day, would a hotel on the cog tracks ruin the experience of a Presi hike? Maybe not if you couldn't get a reservation at Madison or Lakes!

    cb
    Maybe not the best choice of words. I'm not a fan of artificial structures in the wilderness and seeing buildings, cars and crowds of people all over a summit is not really attractive to me. If I wanted the city I'd stay in the city. Obviously these structures could be clean, well run and attractive for what they are but I'd just assume not see them, especially when there is such a limited amount of above treeline real estate in NH. I find the hut at the base of Mt Madison particularly repulsive. It stinks like a cesspool quite often, has tons of people, etc and ruins what might be one of the most scenic areas in NH in my opinion. I don't want more of that spreading into the alpine zone.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    BTW, I noticed a legal notice today that the Cog has a site plan review in front of the Coos County Planning board for the construction of a track, platform and trestle at the summit of Mt Washington on May 8th. The Coos County planning board website hasn't been updated for quite a while so no online details. They wouldn't not have to do a application to replace in kind so I expect they plan to make changes at the summit that would require a permit. It will be interesting to see if some folks decide to show up an oppose the project.

    With respect to Day Trip's observation, the EIS went into the issue that s**t happens even if there are not huts. The argument was that having the huts manage it was preferable to the alternative. Anyone that has been near the huts on a weekend will observe long lines of day hikers and backpackers lined up to use the facilities in the huts. I would expect that the huts guests are a minority of users. The "tons of people" you see at Madison are mostly day hikers, they will still be there whether there is hut or not. If you take walk around Sphinx Col and the very upper section of the Sphinx trail (a popular illegal camping spot for AT hikers) of the woods between Mt Pierce and Eisenhower its not that hard to find the results of not having sanitary facilities. Carry in carry out is just not practical to manage in high use areas.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    With respect to Day Trip's observation, the EIS went into the issue that s**t happens even if there are not huts. The argument was that having the huts manage it was preferable to the alternative. Anyone that has been near the huts on a weekend will observe long lines of day hikers and backpackers lined up to use the facilities in the huts. I would expect that the huts guests are a minority of users. The "tons of people" you see at Madison are mostly day hikers, they will still be there whether there is hut or not. If you take walk around Sphinx Col and the very upper section of the Sphinx trail (a popular illegal camping spot for AT hikers) of the woods between Mt Pierce and Eisenhower its not that hard to find the results of not having sanitary facilities. Carry in carry out is just not practical to manage in high use areas.
    The huts concentrate people in central spots offering water, food and bathrooms in one easy place. I'd think the "eye sore" factor would be far better if they were dispersed. Won't solve the trash/waste problem obviously with the popularity of hiking but dispersed pieces of toilet paper every 100 yds in the woods, at least from an aesthetic standpoint, is far more desirable to me from then high visibility gathering places. I'm aware the huts are the better solution from an environmental point of view. I'd prefer they were below treeline to hide their unattractive qualities though. Madison Hut could accomplish the same objectives if it was a 1/4 mile down the trail in the trees. People, like you said mainly day hikers, are stopping there for what they offer and would go where they are for those amenities.

    EDIT: I would add, too, that many places I've hiked in MA and NY have strategically placed composting toilets that seem to accomplish the same objective quite nicely and out of sight as opposed to huge money-making huts. The huts sole purpose is hardly environmental protection. That just gets used as a benefit to justify their other intentions.
    Last edited by DayTrip; 04-26-2019 at 12:02 PM.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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