Hot Spot

Mount Major Reservation & State Forest 2019

Alton, NH

Mount Major is the second most climbed mountain in New Hampshire, behind Mount Monadnock–recent visitation data collection puts annual visitation around 80,000.  With the trail itself being only a few miles roundtrip, recreational use of this landscape is extraordinarily concentrated.  However, this hike is very accessible and offers outstanding 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and lakes, so visitation is not expected to decline any time soon.   Mount Major attracts a diverse crowd of visitors of all experience levels. Many hikers are first time visitors and come from out of town or out of state. A considerable amount of visitors travel from Boston and other nearby metropolitan areas. Groups include families, college students, school trips, and occasional trail runners. A considerable portion of visitors are also comprised of local dog walkers out of state visitors.  It is believed that social media and local press coverage have contributed to increasing visitation over the past decade. The high visitation has accelerated many of the cumulative impacts that Mount Major faces today.


  • 248 People Educated
  • 180 Volunteer Hours Facilitated
  • 120 lbs of Trash Collected

This Hot Spot targeted litter and off-trail travel as the primary impacts.  Local land managers, stewardship groups, volunteers, and tourism organizations came together to collaboratively assess communication strategies, as well as host and participate in various training workshops, service projects, and other public events.  By coming together in such a collaborative fashion, the local stakeholders were able to not only learn Leave No Trace practices and communication styles, but also strengthen themselves as a stewardship community for Mt. Major.  By empowering themselves to meaningfully interact with the recreating public, they made great strides toward successful reduction in impacts like litter and off-trail travel.  Furthermore, the action planning meeting at the end of the activation week resulted in next steps with actionable items to move forward with.

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