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Thread: Albany Mountain Trail Issue

  1. #16
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    After speaking with an individual with first hand knowledge of the situation, I'm even more concerned about what's going on.

    Firstly, to summarize the view spur issue, apparently the trail maintainer discussed this with the Forest Service many years ago, and the Forest Service recommended that the trail maintainer mark a single path to the viewpoint with cairns, with the maintainer did to the Forest Service's approval. This summer, a Forest Service employee removed those cairns. Vexing to see a sudden 180 degree change and to see the volunteer labor discarded.

    Secondly, I am told the trail maintainer and the Forest Service spent multiple years scoping out a slight relocation on the trail (I think this may be in the gully area on the northern approach). The Forest Service sent their specialists, the relo was marked and GPSed, and the maintainer was given the greenlight to complete the project for them. I'm not sure when this was completed (I haven't hiked the mountain since 2016), but I think it was a few years ago. I am told the Forest Service was satisfied with the relo and the work the maintainer did for them. When the Forest Service employee told the trail maintainer about the removal of the cairns, they also scolded the trail maintainer, apparently stating the volunteer should not have worked on it (that it should have only been worked by the Forest Service paid crew). Another 180 degree change with little regard for the maintainer who was previously commended for this very work.

    I don't know why the Forest Service has suddenly changed course, but I find this situation to be very troubling.

  2. #17
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post

    I don't know why the Forest Service has suddenly changed course, but I find this situation to be very troubling.
    Not sure who has been at the helm during this time and or if there has been a change in leadership. A lot trickles down from the top when it comes to the decision making process as far as the USFS is concerned.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  3. #18
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    Not to bump a nearly year old thread, but an update on this ... In short, USFS has closed this spur trail and have asked us to remove it from future WMGs. I can't speak for the Maine Mtn. Guide, that's up to a different editor. If anyone happens to find their way to the ledges that's ok, it just won't be mentioned in the guide anymore.
    Proprietor: NH 52 With A View Facebook group
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken MacGray View Post
    Not to bump a nearly year old thread, but an update on this ... In short, USFS has closed this spur trail and have asked us to remove it from future WMGs.
    I visited Albany last fall for the first time in a few years. The decomissioning of the unified view spur has created environmental damage. Here's an example of how the cairns were "scattered:"



    Now that there is not a unified path to the view, the issue previous Forest Service employees had addressed has returned: multiple herd paths forming, as well as dead-ends from being getting lost, causing further environmental damage.

    If you are concerned about the damage, one may consider contacting the WMNF Andro District, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Angus King, and Congressman Jared Golden, requesting the reversal of this detrimental decision.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by rocket21; 06-11-2021 at 07:44 PM.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    The decomissioning of the unified view spur has created environmental damage.
    I would argue that people ignoring that they're causing environmental damage cause environmental damage, not a closure in and of itself...

  6. #21
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    I would argue that people ignoring that they're causing environmental damage cause environmental damage, not a closure in and of itself...
    But that is the population that is out there right now. Reality. Competent managers manage based on reality. "Managers" that are working in an imaginary world are not competent.

    Related: https://www.vftt.org/forums/showthre...l=1#post459653

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    I would argue that people ignoring that they're causing environmental damage cause environmental damage, not a closure in and of itself...
    That view ledge has been a destination for a very long time. If you have a number of people trying to access it the same way (in this case, logically via the summit) and you don't provide a sustainable, unified path, you're going to get a mess of herd paths/trail creep/environmental damage. Few have any idea of the damage their own individual set of steps causes; it is accumulative. See: Black Pond "bushwhack," Brutus "bushwhack," "Engine Hill bushwhack."

  8. #23
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    The proverbial cat is out of the bag on that view given current technology. Unfortunately GPS tech is not that precise to define an exact path so it leads to a band of damage. If I remember correctly the defined herd path meandered a bit to pick up several views not available at the end of the official trail.

    I seem to remember references in prior WMGs that would reference off trail bushwhacks on rare occasions usually on lesser used mountains. I think Zealand was the perfect example, when I first hiked the list long ago, there was no herd path, the woods were trampled. Many just regarded the high spot on the trail as the summit. Several years later when I came by it was obvious that someone had created a formal path by establishing a path of least resistance and installed a sign. The same with Cabot. I think such descriptions usually started with something to the effect that "Intrepid trampers may roam around in the woods to obtain a view"

    IMHO the AMC WMG risks getting more irrelevant to other far less reliable media if it intentionally leave out references to known routes and views. Using the logic applied on Albany mountain, all references to a route up Owls Head should be removed from the WMG since the Owls Head Path does not officially exist per the USFS.

    The USFS does on rare occasions manage to reality. Per Wilderness regulations, 13 Falls campsite should not exist nor should it have an official caretaker or platforms. There are official signed designated campsites in the Great Gulf wilderness and Pemi wilderness that violate the 200 foot rule. I think sometimes in very rare occasions common sense in the USFS seems to prevail that the best option is to minimize damage to the resource by managing the impact but it seems to be atypical for the bureaucracy.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-17-2021 at 05:52 AM.

  9. #24
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    But that is the population that is out there right now. Reality. Competent managers manage based on reality. "Managers" that are working in an imaginary world are not competent.
    Understood, but I bristle at the notion that it's one entity's fault and that hikers carry no personal responsibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    That view ledge has been a destination for a very long time. If you have a number of people trying to access it the same way (in this case, logically via the summit) and you don't provide a sustainable, unified path, you're going to get a mess of herd paths/trail creep/environmental damage. Few have any idea of the damage their own individual set of steps causes; it is accumulative. See: Black Pond "bushwhack," Brutus "bushwhack," "Engine Hill bushwhack."
    Signage would help (Keep out - revegetating, etc.), closure orders as well. At least then that takes away the ignorance factor (which, like the law, I don't buy into either) on hikers. I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing to close the spur, I'm saying it is what it is. I am not, however, very supportive that popular or even all major herd paths should be made into a trail in the name of ecology (Owl's Head would be an exception - you can't tell people not to summit and the ridge is a natural funnel). You list the obvious 3, but just a small few I can think of: Mt. Nancy, Mt. Bemis, an illegally cut spur to a view ledge on Garfield Ridge Trail, Vose Spur, PatN, Hale Firewarden's, Adams Slide, oh yes, and for some dumb reason a cut path to the summit of Table (the woods were open!), and on and on. And so, then all one has to do is cut their own path to wherever, make sure it gets used enough, and presto! I got my own trail made!

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    Understood, but I bristle at the notion that it's one entity's fault and that hikers carry no personal responsibility.



    Signage would help (Keep out - revegetating, etc.), closure orders as well. At least then that takes away the ignorance factor (which, like the law, I don't buy into either) on hikers. I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing to close the spur, I'm saying it is what it is.
    It is one of the most spectacular view ledges in that section of the WMNF and locals have been going there for years. It should NOT be closed.

    I have spent a lot of time volunteering for multiple trail maintenance organizations mitigating trail creep/erosion/environmental damage. In my opinion, the Forest Service did a good thing by having a unified cairned path to that view. The current Forest Service management in that sector did a disservice to hikers and the environment by having it disbanded (in an environmentally detrimental fashion), and by treating a long-term, Forest Service-commended volunteer with disdain.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    It is one of the most spectacular view ledges in that section of the WMNF and locals have been going there for years. It should NOT be closed.

    I have spent a lot of time volunteering for multiple trail maintenance organizations mitigating trail creep/erosion/environmental damage. In my opinion, the Forest Service did a good thing by having a unified cairned path to that view...
    Agreed. It seems to me if the trail was mentioned in the WMG and elsewhere, the horse had already left the barn on this issue.

    The pic is a screen scrape of a Gaia topo, which shows a trail going beyond the summit and ending at a drop off. Not sure this is the view shed but if it is and Gaia knows about it, it's an established trail that WILL be followed by Gaia users and others.

    Click image for larger version. 

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