Forest Society Seeks Support for Mount Major Main Trail Project Starting in May

Main trail project will greatly improve sustainability and visitor experience.

March 5, 2024
Erosion issues on the trails at Mount Major

Hikers walk through the heavily-eroded section of the Main Trail that needs to be replaced.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) is in the process of raising $300,000 to complete an ambitious trail project that will greatly improve sustainability and enhance the user’s experience at Mount Major, one of the most popular hiking destinations in the state.

“With an estimated 80,000 visitors annually, Mt. Major’s trails are being loved to death,” states Jack Savage, president of the Forest Society. “The Forest Society is dedicated to improving the visitor experience and natural resource protection at Mt. Major and this project will go a long way in accomplishing both.”

The Forest Society is teaming up with Town 4 Trail Services and OBP Trailworks this spring to construct a sustainable trail to take the place of about one third of a mile of the existing Main/Blue Trail. The lower sections of the Main Trail include some extremely eroded segments, the result of steep grades on sub-optimal soil combined with thousands of footsteps annually. For decades, the soil eroding from these areas has been washing down the trail, into streams and directly into Lake Winnipesaukee across Route 11 from the Mt. Major parking area.

In addition to being a more enjoyable hiking experience, the new trail section will also require much less maintenance over time. It will also be a major ecological improvement, reducing runoff and silting into Lake Winnipesaukee. Trail access to the summit will remain open during construction.

“The project is designed to handle the substantial foot traffic on the trail and the heavy rains we have been experiencing as part of the climate changes in our region,” adds Savage.

The reconstruction of about one third of a mile of trail is a major investment. To support the project, the Forest Society must raise $300,000. The project has already received a grant of $80,000 from the New Hampshire Recreational Trails Program (RTP), as well as funding and donations from the Bafflin Foundation, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Meredith Village Savings Bank Fund, and more than 100 individuals. 

The remaining $100,000 will need to be raised from philanthropic sources and from those that hike the trails. Donations can be made at or deposited in iron rangers at the Mt. Major trailhead.

This sustainable trail project is the next phase in a long-range plan to improve the visitor experience at Mt. Major. Climbing Mt. Major is a rite of passage for many across the region and it remains one of the best short hikes to a big view of Lake Winnipesaukee. In recent years, the Forest Society has acquired the Mt. Major parking area from the NH Department of Transportation, built a small pavilion and map kiosk in the parking area, improved the base of the trail and trailhead, and increased the presence of volunteer trailhead greeters during busy times. 

“We realize that Mt. Major is one of the most popular hikes for Granite Staters and visitors, so we have been investing in the sustainability of Mt. Major’s trails, as well as the visitor experience. We hope visitors will consider contributing to the project to help us reach our goal and to support the mountain they love,” adds Savage. “Your contribution will have a great impact for years to come.”