After two record-breaking seasons of hikers flocking to the Forest Society's Mount Major Reservation in Alton during the pandemic, this year's Earth Day workday was a much-needed opportunity for staff and volunteers to show the mountain and trails some TLC — and make the trailhead more welcoming to future visitors. With an estimated 80,000 visitors to Mount Major each year, the Forest Society strives to keep the trails clean and safe — but we can't do it alone. Volunteer groups from NH Electric Cooperative, Merchants Fleet, and Pine Line Outdoors LLC contributed time and expertise to the cleanup effort, among many other individuals.
The workday included a DIY trash pickup along the Brook and Main trails and the trailhead, the launch of the Volunteer Trailhead Outreach Program, and final work on the new pavilion at the trailhead on NH Route 11.
Pine Line Outdoors said of the experience:
"We kicked off our season today by joining [the Forest Society's] DIY clean up day at Mt. Major! Trash pickup is a passion of ours and our team did an awesome job finding micro trash and hidden drink containers. With tens of thousands of visitors every year, Mt Major is one of the most visited mountains in NH. That means the trails and parking lot need lots of extra love to keep them usable and clean."
The Forest Society is proud to continue meaningful visitor outreach efforts at Mt. Major by piloting the new VTOP program this spring, running through the busy hiking season in the fall. Trained volunteers were ready to greet visitors at the trailhead on Earth Day.
Finally, Stewardship Projects Manager Andy Crowley led a team of volunteers who put the finishing touches on a new pavilion in the parking lot at the trailhead, including an information board and bench where visitors can get out of the elements and learn more about hiking and conservation at the reservation before they start their adventure.
"The Forest Society recognizes the responsibility it has to maintain Mount Major’s trail system, to improve the hiker experience, to prevent erosion, and to protect water quality. This is a long-term and perpetual responsibility and we are excited to continue working with our partners and volunteers on the phases to come to showcase sustainable trail building at its finest," said Managing Forester Wendy Weisiger.