We Need Your Help! Support Sustainable Trail Improvements at Mount Major

Anne Truslow | January 4, 2024
A view from the summit of Mount Major.

(Photo: Jerry Monkman)

It’s no wonder Mount Major’s panoramic summit, which boasts views of the Lakes Region and White Mountains, is a highly regarded destination for locals and tourists alike. With an estimated 80,000 visitors annually, though, Mount Major’s trails are being loved to death. Soil erosion, off-trail usage, dog waste, and trash are just some of the visitor-created impacts Forest Society staff and volunteers contend with throughout the year. 

The Forest Society is dedicated to consistently improving the visitor experience — and natural resource protection — at Mt. Major.

In recent years we have constructed a pavilion area and kiosk in the parking lot, reconstructed the main trail entrance to solve drainage issues, and we’ve recruited and trained more volunteers to help orient hikers, especially on busy days.

In Spring 2024, we have an ambitious trail project planned that will greatly improve the sustainability of Mount Major's Main Trail, the most popular route up and down the mountain.

The Forest Society is teaming up with Town 4 Trails Services and OBP Trailworks this fall to construct a sustainable trail to take the place of about 1/3 mile of the existing Main/Blue Trail. The lower sections of the Main Trail include some extremely eroded sections, the result of steep grades on sub-optimal soil combined with thousands of footfalls 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 should also require much less maintenance over time. It will also be a major ecological improvement, reducing runoff and silting into Lake Winnipesaukee.  

Will you help keep recreation sustainable at Mt. Major by making a donation to this project?

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Sustainable trail construction is not, however, a small undertaking. This reconstruction of about 1/3 mile of trail is a major investment. To support the project, the Forest Society must raise $250,000.  Fortunately, the project has already received a grant of $80,000 from the NH Recreational Trails Program (RTP).  Now, we must raise the remaining $170,000 from philanthropic sources. 

Image of eroded trail on left; image of what new trail will look like on right
Badly eroded sections of main trail (left) will be replaced by sustainably designed and built trail with drainage (right). (Photos: Emily Lord, E.Amadon)

Please join us in being good stewards of Mt. Major by donating to the Mt. Major Main Trail Project today! You will be able to walk on your investment for many years to come!

While construction is underway, we may temporarily need to close a portion of the parking area and lower sections of the Main Trail, but there will always be some parking available and a marked route to the summit that is open to the public. Questions about the 2024 trail work at Mount Major can be directed to Dylan Summers, Stewardship Projects Manager, at dsummers@forestsociety.org.

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Give back to the trails you love at Mt. Major by making a donation!