White Mountain National Forest

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White Mountain National Forest
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Sandwich Range.jpg
The Sandwich Range in White Mountain National Forest
Map showing the location of White Mountain National Forest
Map showing the location of White Mountain National Forest
Location New Hampshire / Maine, USA
Nearest city Berlin, NH
Coordinates 44°06′N 71°24′W / 44.1°N 71.4°W / 44.1; -71.4Coordinates: 44°06′N 71°24′W / 44.1°N 71.4°W / 44.1; -71.4
Area 750,852 acres (3,038.59 km2)[1]
Established May 16, 1918[2]
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest.

The White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) is a federally managed forest contained within the White Mountains in the northeastern United States. It was established in 1918 as a result of the Weeks Act of 1911;[3] federal acquisition of land had already begun in 1914.[4] It has a total area of 750,852 acres (3,039 km2) (1,225 sq mi).[1] Most of the WMNF is in New Hampshire; a small part (about 5.65% of the forest) is in the neighboring state of Maine.[5] While often casually referred to as a park, this is a National Forest, used not only for hiking, camping, and skiing, but for logging and other limited commercial purposes. The WMNF is the only National Forest located in either New Hampshire or Maine. Most of the major peaks over 4,000 feet high for peak-bagging in New Hampshire are located in the National Forest. Over 100 miles (160 km) of the Appalachian Trail traverses the White Mountain National Forest. In descending order of land area the forest lies in parts of Grafton, Coos, and Carroll counties in New Hampshire, and Oxford County in Maine.

The Forest Supervisor's office is located in Campton, and there are three ranger districts: the Pemigewasset District, with offices in Plymouth; the Androscoggin District, based in Gorham; and the Saco District, based in Conway. Furthermore, there are several visitor centers, including those located at Lincoln, Campton (off Interstate 93), and Lincoln Woods (on the Kancamagus Highway), and the Evans Notch Information Center, located in Bethel, Maine.

The National Forest consists of three discontinuous areas. The area to the west of Franconia Notch (a narrow north-south valley primarily within a state park) consists of the regions surrounding Cannon Mountain, Kinsman Mountain, and Mount Moosilauke (though the majority of Moosilauke is privately owned). The main body of the National Forest includes the Presidential Range and many other ranges - most notably, the Franconia, Twin, Bond, Sandwich, Willey, and Carter-Moriah ranges. An exclave of the Forest lies to the north of U.S. Route 2 in Stark and Randolph, New Hampshire.

Location map of White Mountain National Forest.

Six designated Federal Wilderness Areas exist within the Forest: the 27,380-acre (110.8 km2) Presidential Range/Dry River Wilderness, the 5,552-acre (22.47 km2) Great Gulf Wilderness, the 45,000-acre (180 km2) Pemigewasset Wilderness, the 35,800-acre (145 km2) Sandwich Range Wilderness, the 12,000-acre (49 km2) Caribou/Speckled Mountain Wilderness, and the 23,700-acre (96 km2) Wild River Wilderness. These areas are protected from logging and commercial industries and are used solely for recreational and scientific purposes. They were formed under the Federal Wilderness Protection Act of 1984, and its amendments. The New England Wilderness Protection Act of 2006 increased the Sandwich Range Wilderness to its present size and created the Wild River Wilderness area.

Because of its beauty, its proximity to major metropolitan areas, its 1,200 miles (1,900 km) of hiking trails, 23 campgrounds, and the presence of a large number of ski areas within or near its boundaries, the WMNF is one of the most visited outdoor recreation sites east of the Mississippi.[6]

Panorama showing Mt. Liberty, Mt. Flume, parts of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, and parts of Franconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains


US Forest Service signs on hiking trails at tree line state that the mountain summit areas have "the worst weather in America".[7] The claim is also used by the observatory[8] near the summit of Mount Washington which once recorded a surface wind speed of 231 miles per hour (372 km/h).[9] Since 1849 over 135 people have died on Mount Washington.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Land Areas of the National Forest System" (PDF). U.S. Forest Service. January 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "The National Forests of the United States" (PDF). ForestHistory.org. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Chronology of National Forests Established Under the Weeks Act". The Forest History Society. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ "History of the White Mountain". White Mountain National Forest. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Table 6 - NFS Acreage by State, Congressional District and County". U.S. Forest Service. 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Socio-Economic Assessment, Chapter 1" (PDF). White Mountain National Forest. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  7. ^ Alpine Zone sign
  8. ^ PDF observatory
  9. ^ 231mph etc
  10. ^ Steiner, Christopher (6 April 2009). "Quiet Monster". Forbes. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for White Mountain National Forest.