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Thread: Proposed $5 entrance fee for Mt Washington Summit Building

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    If 80,000 hikers account for 6% of the usage, that would mean that total projected usage is about 1.3 million. I doubt that is correct.
    According to the Mount Washington Observatory site usage is just north of 1/4 million in the summer.

    https://www.mountwashington.org/visi...ashington.aspx

  2. #17
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    You are right, I will redo the math I picked the wrong denominator when I was doing the percentages. Note the hourly calculations are used for determining peak use. Therefore you cant equate peak hour use to yearly use
    https://www.nhstateparks.org/getmedi...attendance.pdf

    They did not use the same format for each use, hikers are based on 5 hours of use while cog is based on 10 hours and they do not state how many hours for the autoroad.

    Max Hourly Cog - 280 from pdf
    Autoroad Hourly - 525 from pdf
    Hikers hourly - 53 from pdf
    Total Hourly - 853 (I added them up)
    Cog 32%
    Autoroad 62%
    Hikers 6%

    Total summit usage 315,000 with hikers at 80,000 (25%). They do not break out if the hiker usage is the summit museum or the summit in general.

    Of course the Cog has stated that they plan to increase volume substantially going forward ultimately by adding a second complete track. I do not think they can double ridership with this change as they now have automated switches and sidings but there will be an increase. They claimed in front of the Coos County Planning board last year that they currently are limited by peak unload and loading capability at the summit and had proposed to substantially increase that capability by reclaiming long abandoned track within the state owned summit circle. They can not pursue that project unless the state signs off and the autoroad has objected as the Cog expansion would impact the autoroad guests access to the summit and in general complicate operations at the summit as the road to the summit circle used for supplies and handicapped access would be pinched down substantially.

    Mike Pelchat when he was manager had observed that the existing wastewater disposal system had problems with surge use especially in early season. The biological systems in the system are temperature dependent and expand or contract their population dependent on usage. The "bugs are less active in cold conditions so early season weekends tend to overwhelm the system as the "bugs" are not adequately present to process the weekend surge in wasteflow. He was advocating opening the summit building to hikers on a limited basis prior to the autoroad or cog to slowly ramp up waste volume to get the system ready for the big surges when the cog and autoroad open. At some point the bugs are not the limiting factor, there are usually settling chambers to allow solids to drop out of the waste stream, if the surge flows exceed design velocity, solids get swept into the secondary treatment portion of the system that is designed for liquids and this can permanently reduce the capacity of the system.

    The cog has announced they are going to be running to summit earlier but I am do not know how the logistics would work as the summit operations are predominantly supported by the autoroad. The cog did announce two years ago that they were considering building a "potty car" to haul up to the summit. I do not know if they did but presume it was just a way of getting around having to shoulder capital costs for upgrades at the summit.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-12-2021 at 07:47 AM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Total summit usage 315,000 with hikers at 80,000 (25%). They do not break out if the hiker usage is the summit museum or the summit in general.
    The Cog and The Auto Road can provide accurate numbers of users. Even if not, the capacity of the train and parking lots along with average number of riders per car can provide a decent estimate. The same cannot be said for hikers. A Cog rider with a backpack could be counted as a hiker... I imagine some significant number of non-hiking visitors would have a pack for extra layers, food, water, etc. The "Dad Pack" as it used to be called in my house

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  4. #19
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    I agree that the numbers for hikers are just a stab in the dark. My guess is if in doubt overestimate hiker numbers. The Cog owner has been vocal in the past that the hikers are major user of resources on the summit that are not contributing to the summit operations. Since the Cog stopped paying the voluntary fee to the obs, I havent heard them complaining about hikers.

    It is interesting that in theory roughly half the hikers heading to the summit are coming from the west side of the mountain with many funneled past LOC. So LOC may be hosting 40,000 hikers a year through their wastewater disposal system. No doubt if they charged $4 a head there would be major pushback.

  5. #20
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I agree that the numbers for hikers are just a stab in the dark. My guess is if in doubt overestimate hiker numbers. The Cog owner has been vocal in the past that the hikers are major user of resources on the summit that are not contributing to the summit operations. Since the Cog stopped paying the voluntary fee to the obs, I havent heard them complaining about hikers.

    It is interesting that in theory roughly half the hikers heading to the summit are coming from the west side of the mountain with many funneled past LOC. So LOC may be hosting 40,000 hikers a year through their wastewater disposal system. No doubt if they charged $4 a head there would be major pushback.
    What are you basing this on? I would guess that a significant majority of hikers on Mt Washington are staying in towns like Conway and driving up rte 16 to Pinkham Notch, rather than detouring to the Cog base. Certainly Lion's Head trail has been much more crowded than Amonoosuc any time I've been on either one.

  6. #21
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    I picked a totally arbitrary split, feel free to choose your own. 2/3rd 1/3rs east to west? Both the Pinkham Lot and the Ammo lot oveflow early in the AM most weekends. Pinkham has the overflow lots to the south while the official USFS Ammo does not. The Cog lot also gets a lot of folks who dont want to take a extra walk. Dayhikers from Mass tend to go to the west side for Ammo and Jewell loop or some variation as its the closest to I93 via RT3. Ont he rare times I end up near the summit cone. I see a steady stream of traffic a two way conga line from the summit to LOC. No doubt there is similar conga line on Tucks and Lions head.

  7. #22
    Junior Member Alex_NH's Avatar
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    I think they should install a few more summit signs around the park identical to the one on the true summit so people can get that instagram picture next to the sign in grey-out conditions and prevent the idiotic line from forming. No one would ever know!
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_NH View Post
    I think they should install a few more summit signs around the park identical to the one on the true summit so people can get that instagram picture next to the sign in grey-out conditions and prevent the idiotic line from forming. No one would ever know!
    They did disprove the picture that was used to try and claim the first attempt of reaching the Denali summit. That was also done in poor visibility: https://www.markhorrell.com/blog/201...s-denali-hoax/
    Have fun & be safe
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  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    You are right, I will redo the math I picked the wrong denominator when I was doing the percentages. Note the hourly calculations are used for determining peak use. Therefore you cant equate peak hour use to yearly use
    https://www.nhstateparks.org/getmedi...attendance.pdf

    They did not use the same format for each use, hikers are based on 5 hours of use while cog is based on 10 hours and they do not state how many hours for the autoroad.

    Max Hourly Cog - 280 from pdf
    Autoroad Hourly - 525 from pdf
    Hikers hourly - 53 from pdf
    Total Hourly - 853 (I added them up)
    Cog 32%
    Autoroad 62%
    Hikers 6%

    Total summit usage 315,000 with hikers at 80,000 (25%). They do not break out if the hiker usage is the summit museum or the summit in general.

    Of course the Cog has stated that they plan to increase volume substantially going forward ultimately by adding a second complete track. I do not think they can double ridership with this change as they now have automated switches and sidings but there will be an increase. They claimed in front of the Coos County Planning board last year that they currently are limited by peak unload and loading capability at the summit and had proposed to substantially increase that capability by reclaiming long abandoned track within the state owned summit circle. They can not pursue that project unless the state signs off and the autoroad has objected as the Cog expansion would impact the autoroad guests access to the summit and in general complicate operations at the summit as the road to the summit circle used for supplies and handicapped access would be pinched down substantially.

    Mike Pelchat when he was manager had observed that the existing wastewater disposal system had problems with surge use especially in early season. The biological systems in the system are temperature dependent and expand or contract their population dependent on usage. The "bugs are less active in cold conditions so early season weekends tend to overwhelm the system as the "bugs" are not adequately present to process the weekend surge in wasteflow. He was advocating opening the summit building to hikers on a limited basis prior to the autoroad or cog to slowly ramp up waste volume to get the system ready for the big surges when the cog and autoroad open. At some point the bugs are not the limiting factor, there are usually settling chambers to allow solids to drop out of the waste stream, if the surge flows exceed design velocity, solids get swept into the secondary treatment portion of the system that is designed for liquids and this can permanently reduce the capacity of the system.

    The cog has announced they are going to be running to summit earlier but I am do not know how the logistics would work as the summit operations are predominantly supported by the autoroad. The cog did announce two years ago that they were considering building a "potty car" to haul up to the summit. I do not know if they did but presume it was just a way of getting around having to shoulder capital costs for upgrades at the summit.
    Your hourly total should be 858 (not 853) based on the numbers you provided.

  10. #25
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    I find it hard to believe 6% hikers. And question the facts or how they come to these figures. I worked the Cog coach for a summer and there were alot more hikers there then 6% it seemed. The Cog doesn't have full cars all the time all day and every day.
    They should take the hikers $5 and send it to Fish and Game.

  11. #26
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Here's the Fix!!

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    I find it hard to believe 6% hikers. And question the facts or how they come to these figures. I worked the Cog coach for a summer and there were alot more hikers there then 6% it seemed. The Cog doesn't have full cars all the time all day and every day.
    They should take the hikers $5 and send it to Fish and Game.
    This isn't that hard!

    The summit is a State Park. Treat it like one.

    Like National Parks, concessionaires are allowed to operate within it providing transportation, food, etc.

    Many NH State Parks charge admission that provides access to the park and related buildings & ammenities. So should the summit state park. That admission fee should be separate from, but added to, the fee the Cog and Auto Road charge and be collected by them.

    What about us freeloading hikers? Hikers who can show a Hike Safe card or Fishing/Hunting license are allowed to enter the park (and building). No card or license? Pay the entry fee like everyone else. Anyone with a State Park plate also gets in sans fee. (bring vech reg - not heavy)

    This will not solve the Obs's problem, but it might adequately fund park operations and support sewage and other improvements at the top.

    Here's the info from the NH State Park Website:

    State Park Fees
    Day-Use Parks:

    Adults: $4.00; Youth ages 6-11: $2.00
    High Use Parks - Adults: $5.00; Youth ages 6-11: $2.00 (Italicized below)
    Children ages 5 & under, NH residents age 65 & over: FREE at all day-use parks.

    Day-Use Parks: Bear Brook State Park, Clough State Park, Echo Lake Beach, Echo Lake in Franconia Notch State Park, Greenfield State Park, Kingston State Beach, Milan Hill State Park, Miller State Park, Mollidgewock State Park, Moose Brook State Park, Odiorne Point State Park, Pillsbury State Park, Rollins State Park, Rye Harbor State Park, Silver Lake State Park, Umbagog Lake State Park, Wadleigh State Park, Wentworth State Park, Winslow State Park

    High Use Parks: Ellacoya State Park, Monadnock State Park, Mt. Sunapee State Park, Pawtuckaway State Park, Wellington State Park, White Lake State Park

    Last edited by ChrisB; 01-12-2021 at 06:11 PM.
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  12. #27
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    Out of curiosity should the same policy apply to Cannon Mountain's summit facilities?. In that case there are not private entities making the profits, its just the state running the tram (for a fee). There are concessions, restrooms, potable water and wastewater systems. In theory the tram fees are covering the summit improvements plus revenue from telecom and TV transmitters. One Washington the TV and Telecom revenue is private party so the state does not get a cut. Of course another big difference is that the state is not subsidizing Mt Washington with revenues from leasing out another ski area

    I think the comparison shows that the state is not charging the Cog and Autoroad enough for the services on Washington they offer predominately to those profit making entities to cover summit expenses. Sure hikers factor in but using the states numbers either 75% of the total yearly usage is profit making entities or on the hourly basis 94%. I do like Chris's suggestion of accepting a Hike Safe Card or license fee in lieu of a fee but unfortunately that money would be going to another departments budget.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-12-2021 at 07:07 PM.

  13. #28
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Out of curiosity should the same policy apply to Cannon Mountain's summit facilities?. In that case there are not private entities making the profits, its just the state running the tram (for a fee). There are concessions, restrooms and wastewater systems. The only difference is the state is not subsidizing it with revenues from leasing out another ski area
    Not sure I follow you here. What is the state subsidizing and not subsidizing?
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Not sure I follow you here. What is the state subsidizing and not subsidizing?
    Cannon is subsidized by the state general capital fund and the Sunapee ski lease revenue.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    Cannon is subsidized by the state general capital fund and the Sunapee ski lease revenue.
    Correct that Cannon as well as all NH State Park physical infrastructure benefit from state general capital funds; but it should be recognized that capital funds are used for infrastructure development, repair, and improvements. They can not be used for everyday operational expenses such as payroll, fuels, supplies, etc.. unless specifically tied to a capital project.

    Much of those capital funds you can argue go right back to the "State", in that capital projects over a certain $ amount are mandated by law to be managed by the public works branch of the state's Administrative Services Dept. I recall the internal discussion to be that this requirement can increase a capital project by as much as 40%.

    Even though I laid my eyes on dozens of budget spreadsheets over the years, I never noted if the Sunapee lease $ is ALL specifically allocated to Cannon. I really don't care enough to look, but I'm sure Rocket knows the answer.

    Lots of statements about who should get $ from here there or everywhere, but it should be clarified that service charges as entry fees into NH State Parks goes into the State Park Fund, not the state general fund......well at least on paper as internal allocations to state agencies based on established law. I was involved in the management of numerous state park capital projects and the allocations were rarely independent to fully complete a project, and large amounts of State Park Funds were needed to fill shortfalls or be used as matches to grants to close gaps.

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