Historic White Mt. Hiking Trail Protected (NH)

HART’S LOCATION, New Hampshire, 10/30/03: The Trust for Public Land and the White Mountain National Forest announced today the addition of 10 acres in Crawford Notch, including the first quarter-mile of the historic Davis Path hiking trail, to the National Forest. One of America’s oldest hiking trails, the Path was constructed in 1845 by Nathaniel Davis, son-in-law of Abel and Hannah Crawford, for whom Crawford Notch is named. From its start at the Saco River, the popular trail extends 14.4 miles to the summits of Mount Crawford and Stairs Mountain, before joining the Crawford Path near the summit of Mt. Washington. With today’s announcement, the entire Path is now permanently conserved.

Congress appropriated funding last year from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect popular trails and trailheads in the National Forest, thanks to the leadership of U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu and Representative Charlie Bass. In particular, Senator Gregg played a key role as a member of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees appropriations for the Fund.

“The White Mountains are a defining element of New Hampshire, providing important economic, recreational, and environmental benefits for residents and visitors to the Granite State,” said Senator Gregg. “I applaud the success of the Davis Path project, and as a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, will continue my commitment to conserving critical trails for the benefit of future generations.”

“Representatives from the Trust for Public Land, the White Mountain National Forest, Hart’s Location Board of Selectmen, and the Notchland Inn are to be commended for working together to permanently preserve this acreage for the enjoyment of current and future generations,” said Senator Sununu. “At the federal level, I remain a strong supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which allocates critical resources to initiatives such as the DavisPath Trailhead project. Without the LWCF, New Hampshire and other states across the country would miss the opportunity to protect valuable natural resources for years to come.”

Representative Bass stated, “The historic Davis Path is an important element of New Hampshire’s rich natural and cultural legacy. I congratulate everyone who worked to complete the purchase of this key trailhead property and protect public access to the forest for our enjoyment today and for future generations.”

“We appreciate the dedication and hard work of all those individuals and groups who made this land acquisition possible. The people of New Hampshire and all those who use and enjoy the White Mountain National Forest are fortunate to have conservation leaders like Senator Gregg and Congressman Bass working for the future of our public lands,” said Tom Wagner, forest supervisor for the White Mountain National Forest.

“This project is part of our long-term commitment to protecting important trails within the White Mountain National Forest,” said Aaron Brondyke, field representative for the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation organization that assisted with the purchase. “We have been working for over four years to add this property to the National Forest. As a result, the Davis Path is now fully protected, from start to finish. We are grateful to New Hampshire’s congressional delegation for their leadership, the Hart’s Location Board of Selectmen for its support, and the owners of the Notchland Inn, who worked with us patiently to bring this project to fruition.”

The Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Mountain Club, and White Mountain National Forest formed the White Mountain Trail Partnership recently to ensure continued public access to popular trails in the National Forest. According to the Partnership’s research, 22 percent of trails in the Forest originate on or cross private land. Over the past 15 years, land sales and development have forced the abandonment of seven trails and the relocations of at least 15 others.

The Davis Path trailhead, which is located off of Route 302 on the east side of the Saco River, was purchased from Ed Butler and Leslie Schoof, owners of the nearby Notchland Inn. The parcel has been owned by the various proprietors of the Inn, formerly the Bemis mansion, since the mid-1800s.

“We hope this project will help the town maintain its special character,” explained Butler. “By protecting this trail for public use, we’ve permanently preserved an element of the landscape that makes Crawford Notch such a beautiful part of our region.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including nearly 200,000 acres in New Hampshire. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact TPL’s Concord office at (603) 224-0103.