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Help Save Mount Washington From Further Development!

The Proposal

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:

Union Leaders Website

Cars parked on the summit of Mt Washington. Viewed from Jefferson during a Presidential Traverse last year.

Cars parked on the summit of Mount Washington. Viewed from Jefferson during a Presidential Traverse last year.

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.

The crowd inside the Sherman Adams building. July 2015.

The crowd inside the Sherman Adams building in of July 2015.

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.

Crowds On The Summit Of Mt Washington

A typical summer day on the summit of Mount Washington.

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:

Stop The Cog Railway From Building a Motel On Mt. Washington!

Derail The Cog Railway Proposal

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!


Hiker, climber, father, and husband. The mountains have become a tremendous source of inspiration, physical challenge, fitness, motivation, and enrichment for me. I love the gear, and technical aspects of climbing. I also enjoy sharing this other type of lifestyle with people who haven't experienced it!

4 Comments

  • Rick Guhse

    December 5, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Since the Lake of the Clouds Hut is already nearby, the precedent has been set for more development. Either remove all the huts and stand against development or more development will follow.

    Reply
  • Keith G

    December 4, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Please correct the information about Mount Washington Observatory, MWO only occupies the end of the State Park building where the tower is.

    Reply
  • Michael Lantowski

    December 2, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Leave well enough alone! It’s bad enough that the mountain is as exploited as it is for all of the reason mentioned above. We do we have to take it further and destroy nature more and more? This must be stopped!!

    Reply

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