The Bulletin Board

Mount Washington Commission to vote on master plan Friday

By: - October 27, 2022 5:14 pm

A Cog Railway train car sits at the summit of Mount Washington. (Andrew Brame | New Hampshire Bulletin)

The Mount Washington Commission is scheduled to vote on the master plan for the mountain’s summit during a meeting Friday.

The planning document sets a course for the mountain’s future, and attempts to balance tourism and environmental protection. A new plan is supposed to be completed every 10 years, but the last iteration was completed in 1970. 

This follows two public meetings on the master plan where members of the public provided comments on the draft. Many of those comments raised concerns over the Cog Railway’s proposal to construct upscale accommodations near the summit of Mount Washington.

Some commission members argued that the project was beyond the commission’s purview and that the public hearings were not the appropriate forum for that feedback. Another major point of contention was the timing of an environmental study. Commission Chair Jeb Bradley said the master plan would allow the panel to request funding for the study from the Legislature; members of the public argued a study should be completed before the master plan is approved.

The draft the commission will vote on Friday specifies that a third party would be responsible for completing a summit assessment, which would look at damage to alpine flora and options for restoring it.

The latest draft reflects some changes to the commission’s membership: Christopher Ellms was appointed by the governor to replace Paul Ingersoll, and Phil Bryce, who has since retired as the director of the state’s Parks and Recreation Division, will remain on the board as a governor appointee. Rob Kirsch replaces Jack Middleton as the representative from the mount Washington Observatory, and Sarah Stewart, commissioner of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, is also new to the commission.

The meeting will be held at Pope Memorial Library in Conway starting at 10 a.m.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.