Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27
  1. #1

    Default The Cog Railway's unpermitted road

    We're looking for photos of the Cog's excavator this past summer and fall. You can remain publicly anonymous, email at [email protected]. More information will be available on the news section of our website (protectmountwashington.org) within the next few days.

    Chris

    http://nhpr.org/post/group-cog-railw...legal#stream/0

  2. #2

    Default

    The Coos County Commission will consider the Cog's unpermitted snowcat road during its 12/13 meeting at 9 a.m. at the Coos County Nursing Home in Berlin.

    https://www.protectmountwashington.o...-snowcat-road/

  3. #3

    Default

    The meeting is public.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    4,240

    Default

    I hope I am in town so I can attend.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for your work on this, Chris. A few years ago the whole family traveled-up from NC, hiked up Tuckerman's, spent the night at Lakes of the Clouds, and topped-out on Mt. Washington - fantastic experience, and a fond family memory. While there we watched the cog train go up and down the mountain, that scene alone was jarring and incongruent in the setting, I can't imagine what it looks like now with an additional scarred-out swath of naked earth due to an unpermitted road. Good luck and keep us updated on your efforts!

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-08-2006
    Location
    Wilton CT
    Age
    74
    Posts
    1,078

    Default

    The Cog jarring? Good thing you weren't there decades ago when there were two hotels at the top - Summit House and Tip Top House.
    "It goes to show you never can tell." - Charles Edward Anderson Berry

  7. #7
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-18-2014
    Location
    Lewiston and Biddeford, Maine
    Age
    58
    Posts
    2,643

    Default

    There wasn't crowds of tourists up there. Those that were honestly came by their ascent by horse or walking. That cog railway is jarring, but so is that eyesore of an auto road.

    For the record, the tip top house is still there.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-08-2006
    Location
    Wilton CT
    Age
    74
    Posts
    1,078

    Default

    "For the record, the tip top house is still there." True, but not operating as a hotel. My uncle mentioned taking the "stage coach" (his words) to the summit in his youth. That would have been almost 100 years ago now.
    "It goes to show you never can tell." - Charles Edward Anderson Berry

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    4,240

    Default

    There are a lot of things good and bad on the mountain that have changed in the past and will change in the future. The summits raw sewer system reportedly used to drain down into Alpine Garden and down Raymond Cataract. Even when there was a more modern wastewater disposal system, it would get overwhelmed and would dump raw sewerage into Great Gulf area. Even the new system has issues dealing with the early season loads and overall surge capacity. The summit used to generate all its own power with fairly dirty Diesel fuel fired generators until the generators burned to the ground it got replaced with the power line up the cog. Lake of the Clouds has had an overloaded waste water treatment system for years, there has been a long running FS project to deal with it but it just stays on the books as neither party appears to want to deal with it. The cog used to burn anthracite coal to operate, it now runs a blend of 80% diesel and 20% biodiesel. The cog used to use the track right of way as a dump to discard old creosoted railroad ties and other debris, they have cleaned it up somewhat but there is still plenty of degradation in the alpine zone mostly spilled coal and plenty of clinker. The summit is entirely in unincorporated Coos County townships there has been little or no oversight on either the autoroad or the Cog until very recently. The state of NH does what it wants on the summit as its not subject to local regulations and recent actions over on Cannon Mtn has shown that the state would rather go after witnesses to environmental degradation than actually follow rules that private industry has to deal with. The FS has also been lax in enforcing rules at commercial ski slopes located on FS lands as evidenced by the nearby Wildcat erosion issues caused by expansion of their snow guns. The state built the electrical trench up the side of the mountain on private land. They really made no attempt at restoring it beyond filling in the trench. It runs through land that has been heavenly impacted by long term COG operations.

    Both the Cog and autoroad have significantly increased daily usage to the summit with the Cog recording the most year to year increases. The state owned summit facilities have not been substantially upgraded since the new summit building went in over 40 years ago. Both commercial operations are directly dependent on the state facilities at the summit. Its bursting at the seams and I expect one day soon there could be limits placed on the two commercial operations.

    I think most would agree that the goal should be to try mitigate past issues that degraded the summit and try not to allow future issues to arise to further degrade it. Coos County has stepped up and put in place planning and zoning to control uncontrolled development where they can on the summit realizing that the state can and will ignore the regulations for their improvements. The upgrading of the power line into a private road suitable for future commercial snowcat operations appears to be controlled by the new county regulations and that is what the hearing is about. The issue with any planning and zoning effort is picking the point where they kick in. This is also a prelude to the much higher impact proposed Cog Hotel which is also subject to the new zoning regulations (which effectively bans it unless variances and exceptions are obtained).

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-01-2014
    Location
    Norwell, MA
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,297

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlandsHiker View Post
    . . . While there we watched the cog train go up and down the mountain, that scene alone was jarring and incongruent in the setting, I can't imagine what it looks like now with an additional scarred-out swath of naked earth due to an unpermitted road. . .
    Hmm. Let's see. Mount Washington has a big commercial visitor's center and parking lot at the top along with all the weather and radio towers/structures. The road along the Cog Railway tracks is kinda needed for maintenance and significantly less visible than the tracks themselves. And, you hiked up the mountain so you could stay in a hut that frankly is an eyesore in itself right up high off the saddle between Washington and Monroe. . . and you're suggesting the Cog Railway is "jarring and incongruent in the setting"?

    For goodness sake, there is so much more jarring and ugly stuff on Washington than the Cog Railway. Heck, I would suggest the Cog Railway is the essence of the commercial nature of Mount Washington. It fits in perfectly with "the setting". If you want wild and natural, pull you head out and go someplace else more appropriate and don't spend the night in an ugly alpine hut!
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  11. #11

    Default

    That's why I like Mt Adams. Just 490 feet shorter then Washington with none of the distractions and hoards of tourists.

    My neighbor put in the new power line and sewer pipes along the Cog. He said half the job was just cleaning up the 100 years of junk tossed to the side of the rails so he could dig the trench.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-18-2017
    Location
    On the Trail
    Posts
    393

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Hmm. Let's see. Mount Washington has a big commercial visitor's center and parking lot at the top along with all the weather and radio towers/structures. The road along the Cog Railway tracks is kinda needed for maintenance and significantly less visible than the tracks themselves. And, you hiked up the mountain so you could stay in a hut that frankly is an eyesore in itself right up high off the saddle between Washington and Monroe. . . and you're suggesting the Cog Railway is "jarring and incongruent in the setting"?

    For goodness sake, there is so much more jarring and ugly stuff on Washington than the Cog Railway. Heck, I would suggest the Cog Railway is the essence of the commercial nature of Mount Washington. It fits in perfectly with "the setting". If you want wild and natural, pull you head out and go someplace else more appropriate and don't spend the night in an ugly alpine hut!

    glad i am not the only one to see the irony in that statement.

  13. #13

    Default

    They’ll get a permit, maybe, maybe pay a small fine to cover administrative cost...just meh. But hey, it’s good to have a cause, for that I commend you.

  14. #14

    Default

    An after-the-fact permit is doubtful.

    A new maintenance road after 150 years? Sounds more like a cover up spin to me. Peakbagger alluded to zoning ordinances. And that's it folks, this a matter of legality and whether or not zoning ordinances have been violated.

  15. #15

    Default

    The Coos County Planning Board will consider the Cog's unpermitted snowcat road this Wednesday, the meeting is public:

    http://www.cooscountynh.us/sites/coo..._28_agenda.pdf

  16. #16

    Default

    The Planning Board is seeking further information, including intended road use from the Cog.

    We've posted a time-lapse video of a portion of the unpermitted road construction toward the summit on our Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMountWashington/

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    4,240

    Default

    For historical background, soon after the current owner and his partner (recently bought out by the majority owner) purchased the Cog, one of their first efforts was to announce that they would be running ski trains up the cog in late winter. This was around 1987 (plus or minus a year)They got to the point where they were selling tickets and advertising heavily. There was an outcry from the public and the USFS. The Cog's current owner was quite defiant similar to his current approach to oversite. The USFS objected as one of the management tools used to limit use of the Tuckermans Ravine bowl for skiing is to limit access to those who hike up. Access from the cog or the autoroad to the ravine avoids a lot of effort but prevents a skier from viewing the conditions from the base of the ravine as the cog or autoroad approach would come in from the lip about the headwall. This was in the pre commercial internet era so it was in the press for awhile and then the Cog canceled the attempt. In addition to the Tuckermans ravine access issue, there was also comments that the EPA might impose limits on the cogs use of anthracite coal to fire the engines. The Cog was in pretty poor shape when they bought it from the prior owners and I expect they ended up focusing on fixing the many long term issues.

    Things were quiet for several years until a group of investors including the Cog owners bought the Mt Washington Hotel at the second foreclosure sale in a few years. This was in the savings and loan financial crisis era. The ski area had been separated from the hotel complex at one point but within a few years the hotel owners got control of the ski area. Up until this point access to the Cog was seasonal. The roads in this area are seasonal state roads, not designed or intended for winter use. The Cog road was not plowed making winter public access limited to a long 5 mile walk up the base road. The Cog had somehow gotten permission to plow access for their use behind a locked gate via the Mt Clinton Road and the upper cog road but the public was normally excluded from using it. As soon as the Cog owners who now were also owners of the ski area and the hotel complex had purchased the ski area, they started a campaign to get the state DOT to plow the road to the Cog. The state objected as the roads base is inadequate for winter use and winter use would vastly increase the deterioration of the road. The lower section was also a winter snowmachine route. The Cog did not get their way and announced that they would be running snowcats up the road to the cog to support downhill skiing "on the cog right of way" It was partially a scam as the Cog right of way is only 100 feet wide and several skiers I knew regarded it as just a back door way of making a buck selling access to several ravines on the west side of the mountain. A combination of poor snow years and lack of interest soon closed this operation down. The economy and the real estate market was booming again and the hotel and ski area were sold reportedly for a significant profit by the investors including the Cog owners who bought them cheap. The profits were spread over several new businesses and the start of upgrade to the cog from the custom built coal fired cogs to the diesel cogs in use now. Contrary to their green advertising that the new cogs burn "biodiesel" they actually burn an 80%diesel/20%biodiesel blend. Nevertheless a significant clean up compared to the coal they were using. Despite the claim it was done for the environmental benefits the reality is they can run far more diesel cogs up and down the mountain in the day and they have indicated that they have plans to further increase volume by putting in a second track at some point.

    The Cog didnt give up getting the base road to the Cog plowed ostensibly to support the diesel upgrade. The cogs owners others businesses built around the region bought them political friends and eventually over state DOT objections, the snowmachine route was relocated and the road is now plowed. I havent confirmed it but believe that state is now plowing the road rather than the cog. Along the way the USFS did build a parking lot down the road form the Cog to replace paid non snow season parking for hikers at the Cog. I expect it was a reasonable trade off, the state plows 5 miles of road (not so easy in that location) in return for the cog plowing a hiker lot at the end of the road. Up until this year has the USFS lot was not plowed so the increasing number of winter hikers and backcountry skiers were parking at the cog. Once the push back started on the cog hotel, the Cog announced the previously free parking is now $10 a car and soon thereafter the USFS started plowing the hiker lot.

    Coos county is not blame free on the cog developments. Up until recent years county oversight of planning zoning and inspection were hit or miss in the county. Most businesses and private landowners just did what they wanted with little or no county oversight. Even the planning board admits that past attempts to protect specially designated areas including the Mt Washington summit via special designation has been ineffective and most like enforceable. Luckily for the public's interest the proposed "megaprojet" at the Balsam's complex forces the county to get serious about planning and zoning. The new regulations, are enforceable and there is at least an attempt to enforce them. The Cog owners and even some members or the planning board still have not realized that these changes apply to activities at the cog.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-03-2018 at 18:24.

  18. #18

    Default

    Thanks for that beautifully written chronological account, very helpful.

  19. #19
    Is it raining yet?
    Join Date
    07-15-2004
    Location
    Kensington, MD
    Age
    44
    Posts
    963
    Images
    62

    Default

    Interesting back story. A 20% biodiesel mix is considered green by current EPA standards.
    Be Prepared

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-08-2012
    Location
    Taghkanic, New York, United States
    Posts
    3,101
    Journal Entries
    11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    ...

    Things were quiet for several years until a group of investors including the Cog owners bought the Mt Washington Hotel at the second foreclosure sale in a few years. This was in the savings and loan financial crisis era. The ski area had been separated from the hotel complex at one point but within a few years the hotel owners got control of the ski area. Up until this point access to the Cog was seasonal. ...
    Bold mine

    What is this 'ski area' you mention several times? Brenton Woods or something else?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •