Earth Day at Mount Major

Anna Berry | April 27, 2022
A team from NH Electric Cooperative stops on the trail for a photo.

A team of volunteers from NH Electric Cooperative volunteered to clean up trash near the summit of Mount Major on Earth Day.

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."

A team from Pine Line Outdoor LLC poses on the Brook Trail with trash they've picked up.
They also added: "Thanks to the Society for maintaining beautiful spaces like this and thanks to all the volunteers who did their part! Earth day is not the only day to be a good outdoor steward and you dont need to attend an event to be a volunteer trash picker-upper! Show your love for our earth by doing your part to keep it clean!"

Cameron Larnerd poses with trash in the back of a pickup truck.
Forest Society Land Steward & Volunteer Coordinator Cameron Larnerd took the day

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.

A volunteer stands at the VTOP table at the trailhead of Mt. Major.
Volunteer Jay Frost greeted visitors to Mount Major on Earth Day.
The Volunteer Trailhead Outreach Program is modeled after the highly successful Trailhead Stewards Program in the White Mountain National Forest and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Trailhead Stewardship Program. Volunteers have received training in visitor engagement, Leave-No-Trace etiquette, and the messages of HikeSafe & Recreate Responsibly.

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.

Volunteers ready a information wall to be attached to the covered pavilion.
Volunteers ready display board to be attached to the covered pavilion.
The Forest Society is dedicated to consistently improving the visitor experience — and natural resource protection — at Mt. Major. In 2020, we completed a trailhead restoration project that repaired the base of the eroded Main (Blue) Trail and provided for proper drainage, greatly improving the footing as well as reducing erosion and siltation impacts on adjacent wetlands. 

A group of volunteers poses after the completion of the covered pavilion at Mt. Major.
The skilled volunteers who helped complete the covered pavilion on Earth Day with Andy Crowley.
Over the summer of 2021, with help from volunteers, we installed a covered pavilion in the parking area. The structure provides some protection from the weather, whether hot sun or freezing rain, and houses a kiosk with the trail map and other information. The three-phase trailwork project is estimated to take several years to complete and cost about $1 million.

"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.


Watch a Video About the Kiosk Project

Learn more & support our work at Mount Major