The Cog Railway has proposed to develop a new establishment near the summit of Mt. Washington. The proposal is for the construction of a 35 room motel and separate restaurant. The new motel and restaurant would be built in a 99 foot wide section of land that runs adjacent to the existing Cog Railway tracks. The motel would operate during the same seasons as the Cog Railway. The addition of these buildings would also require the installation of a septic system that would stretch to the base of the mountain. The building would be similar in size to the Sherman Adams visitor center that was constructed on the summit of the mountain as part of the new Mount Washington Observatory. This means it would be large enough to see from a great distance. If the motel is constructed it will become one of three lodging options to stay overnight near the summit of Mt. Washington. The other two being the AMC run Lake Of The Clouds Hut, and the Mount Washington Observatory itself.
More details about the proposal can be found here:
Wrong With This?
Mount Washington, the home of the “worlds worst weather” and highest point in the north east, has been exploited for decades. In 1861 the 7.6 mile paved Auto Road was constructed allowing for motorized vehicles to make the climb to the summit. Not long after that, in 1869, the first Cog Railroad train carved it’s way up the western side of the mountain. Finally, in October of 1932, the initial Mount Washington Observatory built its first weather station atop the mountain. Since then, several buildings have been constructed on the summit including the Sherman Adams building which houses the Observatory, cafeteria, museum and other facilities. In its current state, up to 5000 people make their way to the top via motorized vehicles or by foot in a single day. With more people comes more pollution, litter and damage to the fragile alpine environment.
Then there’s the disappointment for people who actually climb and hike up the mountain. After a strenuously hiking for 4 hours to the top of Mount Washington and realizing that you have to wait in a line that looks like a Black Friday sale at Target just to get a picture in front of the summit sign.
With all of these man made structures and signs of civilization people forget just how dangerous this mountain can be. The illusion of safety leads more unprepared hikers and tourists into dangerous conditions. With sustained 100MPH winds being a common place on Mount Washington, a simple 1 mile hike from a hut can become a life or death situation. Rescue efforts and tragic injuries have escalated dramatically as the development has progressed.
Instead of trying to mitigate these issues, The Cog would like to further financially capitalize from it by building this motel and restaurant and increasing the population of the mountain.
What Can You Do?
Petitions in support of denying the construction of the new buildings have been set up. You can find them here:
What Do You Think?
I might be a little biased in my opinions but I feel strongly that we need to leave these mountains alone for future generations to enjoy. Opening the door to more development is a slippery slope and I’m convinced it won’t stop here.
Am I wrong? I’d love to hear from YOU in the comments below!