Old Bridle Path
Lincoln, NH, the heart of the White Mountains
Every year hundreds of thousands of hikers visit the White Mountains, utilizing the wide network of trails to enjoy everything they have to offer. Whether you’re an avid peakbagger looking to complete the 4,000-footers or a nature enthusiast looking for a nice peaceful spot by a waterfall, the White Mountain National Forest has something for everybody.
No matter the reason for your visit, none of these places would be accessible if not for the tireless efforts of the trail adopters who volunteer their time to keep the trails in good shape.
Trail maintenance is an essential component of a healthy and sustainable trail system. When performed regularly and according to proper training, maintenance helps to preserve the natural environment, improve hiker safety and enjoyment, while ensuring the long-term viability of a trail.
As a company committed to promoting the wellbeing of our natural resources and local communities, Burgeon Outdoors is doing its part to contribute to these efforts by adopting the Old Bridle Path on Mt. Lafayette.
Traveling 2.9 miles from the Bridle Path Trailhead off I-93 to the Greenleaf Hut on the shoulder of Lafayette, the Old Bridle Path features outstanding views of the Franconia Ridge (Lafeyette, Lincoln, Liberty), Mt. Cannon, The Kinsmans, Lonesome Lake, and Franconia Notch. The trail is part of the popular Franconia Ridge Loop and is one of the most hiked trails in the White Mountains.
“That’s why we wanted that trail,” said Burgeon Outdoors founder Rudy Glocker. “It’s a high profile trail, it’s a trail that needs a lot of love, and it will allow Burgeon to make a real life impact on tens of thousands of hikers each season.”
As part of its responsibilities as a trail adopter, Burgeon will take the lead in keeping the trail clear of obstacles, improving drainage, painting blazes, and reporting major issues to the Appalachian Mountain Club.
One of the most basic and essential aspects of trail maintenance is “clearing the canopy,” which involves making sure the trail isn’t overgrown or covered in obstacles that might impede a hiker’s progress. That might include something as small as trimming back brush or as large as clearing a blowdown.
“You should be able to walk on a trail and not have to dodge branches to get through,” Glocker said.
Arguably the most important – and time consuming – aspects of trail maintenance is managing drainage. Most trails have water bars to facilitate water flow, but as people walk around them and as debris gets in, the water bars can get clogged and become less efficient.
“Drainage is a huge issue on the Whites because the trails tend to be steep,” Glocker said. “There aren’t a lot of meandering switchbacks.”
With erosion an ever-present threat along the trail, Glocker said he anticipates his team will spend a substantial amount of time focusing on drainage. He added that during training they spent an hour working on just one water bar, so to tend to all of the water bars along a nearly 3-mile will be a significant undertaking.
Beyond those tasks, the other major initiative trail adopters can take is to “brush in and brush out” to help keep a trail in its proper footprint. Ideally a trail should be wide enough for a group to easily pass through single file, but not wide enough that people can walk side by side.
“Some of these trails can get pretty wide so you want to try and help nature reclaim parts of the trail,” Glocker said. “You may encourage brush growth along the sides of the trail so Mother Nature can do her thing.
Since adopting the Old Bridle Path, Burgeon Outdoor has been out on the trail assessing its condition, submitting its initial trail reports and preparing for any major initiatives that may be necessary going forward. In the coming years Burgeon hopes to expand its efforts to encompass additional trails, and anyone interested in helping is encouraged to volunteer.
“This will get us started, and I would hope that a year from now we get people who are excited about stuff like this and we can adopt another big section of trail,” Glocker said. “We’d love to get a crew of volunteers to help us and set a goal of preserving 10 miles, and then maybe 20, or 40, because it’s a really important thing."
Thank you to Mac Cerullo for his work on this blog post
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Burgeon Outdoor was founded in 2019. Burgeon’s mission is to help mountain communities flourish. Burgeon proudly manufactures premium outdoor apparel in Lincoln, NH. By manufacturing locally, Burgeon creates year round jobs in the White Mountains. 5% of Burgeon’s sales go directly to supporting its environmental and community efforts. To learn more, please visit our studio at the Village Shops in Lincoln, our website burgeonoutdoor.com or call us at 603-745-7123