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  1. #1

    Default Mt Washington Cog Hotel Proposal #2

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...ington-lodging

    Mt Washington in NH is a large block of mostly USFS land in NH. It arguably has the most dramatic section of the AT. Long before the AT and the WMNF, the mountain was a New England tourist attraction. There were two competing attractions on private land ascending to the summit that had overnight tourist accommodations. The Mt Washington Carriage road (now autoroad) came from the east side, while the Cog Railroad came from the west side. Land ownership on the summit tied back to large competing land grants. Parts of the summit were owned by multiple owners. As the WMNF was formalized, the summit started out in private hands but eventually were consolidated over to state of NH ownership with multiple parties retaining rights. The Cog and Auto road ended up with 50 foot wide privately owned right of ways from base stations to the summit. The cog at one point owned a private hotel on the summit but it was torn down in the sixties. The use of the summit has expanded in the last several years as the cog has shifted from coal fired steam trains to predominantly diesel electric locomotives that have substantially increased ridership and trips to the summit. This increase in ridership is a major factor causing overuse of the summit facilities and have exceeded the water and sewer systems at the summit. The cog had previously proposed a hotel on their right of way above treeline but somewhat separate from the summit. This was a widely unpopular proposal and the Cog elected not to proceed with trying to permit the proposal. The new proposal as described is still on the Cog property just below the state owned summit circle. The cog currently drops off and loads passengers at the summit building, the new proposal will shift the drop off and pick up point below the summit at the new lodging facility. Passengers will be able to hike up an existing trail a short distance up to the summit building or take a shuttle train back and forth to the summit. Currently the summit empties out at the end of day and the only people staying overnight are the non profit observatory staff and occasional guests (including a few guided groups). This has been a point of contention with the Cog in the past. There is potentially a large demand for accommodations at the summit and the Cog wants to service it.

    No doubt the proposal will impact the surroundings below the summit including WMNF areas outside the 50 foot right of way.

    The change.org petition opposing the concept was up to about 13,000 this afternoon. https://www.change.org/p/mount-washi...unt-washington

    Like the past proposal, the Cog has not yet put in a formal application for a permit for the project. The only information to date is that supplied by the Cog and a marked up photo of the proposed location of the lodging cars in an area that long ago was disturbed by a US military facility (used for testing early jet engines) that was since torn down and some kerosene tanks used to supply heat to the summit and fuel for the backup generators. The cars are shown in the photo but none of the expected support platforms.

    Before the project can get approved it has to obtain a special permit from the Coos County Planning Board as development in this area is normally very limited. There are loopholes that the cog has used recently for lower impact improvements but this would be the first major test if the Cog elects to apply for a permit.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-21-2022 at 07:48.

  2. #2
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this info peakbagger.
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  3. #3
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    Why not just use sleeper cars, and just haul the waste right back down. And the non moving trains will be easier for thru hikers to moon.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for sharing this information. I signed the petition opposing the plan.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    Why not just use sleeper cars, and just haul the waste right back down. And the non moving trains will be easier for thru hikers to moon.
    Its a lot less money to leave the sleeper cars up top for five months and then haul the guests up and down in the regular summit cars. The waste disposal issue is interesting, the existing arctic grade system got overwhelmed by the big increase in cog traffic and had been a reason to limit new cog traffic. This changed recently where Covid funding is paying for new system. The plan is to send the decanted liquids to the septic system at the basestation. I looked at the elevation difference and a pipe full of liquid top to bottom would need to be rated for a little over a 1000 psi. Probably enough pressure to install a hydro turbine in the line and generate power. Nice idea but I would not want to service it.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    As I began reading this, head lines on TV news yesterday had me wondering if Covid money was involved?
    Sure enough I was right. Enjoy Y’all!
    Wayne

  7. #7

    Default

    Covid money is only involved with the state park septic system at the summit which needed rebuilding anyhow. The cogs increase in passengers means its needs an upgrade also. The state of NH runs the concessions at the summit so they want to encourage more people heading to the top. NH has not sales or income tax by they do have room and meals tax which impacts tourists so that is another reason to encourage tourists to take rides to the summit. Hikers tend to be regarded as less desirable tourists as many come from out of state for day hikes so less potential room and meals revenue.

    The cog is privately owned and the owner is well off from past ventures, he at one time was part of a group who bought the Mt Washington Hotel Complex for bottom dollar at auction during the savings and loan crisis ( a few real estate bubbles ago). They held if for short period and bought the Bretton Woods ski area at foreclosure auction then bundled them up, ran them for a few years and sold them for big bucks to Omni a large hotel group. He bought out his long term partner several years ago and has been upgrading to the new diesel locomotives to increase ridership.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 03-25-2022 at 16:30.

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