Protect Mount Washington

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Jan 31, 2008
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After writing this thread, I did notice there was a thread about this earlier. But I'd like to still keep my post as a new topic. Thanks.

To the hiking community,

As many of you know (and this may have already been posted), but the owners of the Cog Railways have presented a proposal to the Coos County Planning Board to construct a "Luxury Hotel" - their words - at approximately 5,200 feet in the alpine zone and about a mile down from the summit. There has been no formal permit or application as of right now, but the preliminary design has the hotel straddling the railroad tracks on the 90 feet strip of land they own and consisting of 35 rooms and a full service restaurant. Sewer lines would run down to the Cog base station and it would be heated by bio-diesel; however, it would only be operational from May to November. The current zoning laws prohibit construction above 2,700 feet, but the Cog owners and their lawyer are pushing for a variance on the zoning laws. The construction of this hotel CAN happen.

A section from a larger article I help put together on NEice:

Arguments in Favor of the Hotel:

Provide the Crowded Summit with Additional Amenities

They State: With the number of people visiting the summit, there needs to be additional accommodations. Wayne Presby, president and co-owner of the Cog Railway said in an interview that Mount Washington has become a victim of its own popularity. With 300,000 coming there every year and as many as 5,000 on the mountain on a given day, they said there aren’t enough amenities to serve the public. He stated it would ease congestion.

We Respond: The people already visiting Mount Washington, whether by the auto road, cog railway or hiking to the top, are there for just the day and most only stay for an hour or two. They aren’t looking for a hotel room or a fancy restaurant. The hotel will simply increase traffic in the alpine zone with its own guests and will not relieve the stresses of the current situation on the summit. The current configuration of the summit should be the limiting factor on the traffic it receives. Do not encourage more.

With over 374,000 coming every year to this, the highest point in the Northeast and as many as 5,000 on the mountain on a given day, do we just keep building to accommodate everyone that wants to come with no regard for the mountain, or the people that love this mountain?

Provide Local Jobs and Bring Tourism Dollars

They State: “The hotel and restaurant would create 20 new jobs, and provide an economic boost to the North Country through the use of local contractors,” Wayne Presby noted. In response to the opposition, he is on record saying the hikers who want the outdoors preserved are “elitist” and “[they] resist compromise that opens the outdoors to more people and brings in more tourist dollars to a region that needs them.”

We Respond: Are 20 new seasonal jobs and temporary contractor work worth the cost of potential environmental degradation? Any additional dollars to the local economy will only be captured by the owners of this development as they provide their tourists with transportation, luxury lodging and meals. With the hotel near the summit of the mountain, the surrounding towns at the base of the mountains will not see these hotel guests, and not profit from their visit.

I don't have to go over all the reasons why this hotel is a bad idea and conservation and protection of these unique habitat MUST override short-sighted profit-driven intentions.

If you haven't already, please visit our website: and like the facebook page for news and updates.
Please sign the petition online if you agree the hotel should not be built:

We've hired a lawyer and we are in the process of getting scientific and expert testimony together for the hearing that can be as early as March, which are big expenses. The Cog Railway is trying to push this through as quickly as they can before any opposition can organize. They are feeling the pressure from us and from the people who love Mount Washington. Let's take a stand and do the right thing.

Thank you,

Keep the Whites Wild
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