Mount Major is one of the most popular mountains in New Hampshire, with a consistently packed parking lot on summer weekends. There are three main trails - Boulder Loop, Mount Major Trail and Brook Trail - and the summit offers gorgeous views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains. Thousands of people hike the mountain each year, ranging from school groups to advanced hikers who like to forge their own trails.
Currently all the land along Boulder Loop and the other trails is privately owned, meaning there's always a risk it could be closed off to public access. Only the parking lot at the base of the mountain and the 60-acre summit are public lands.
For these reasons, three conservation groups wanted to guarantee that the land will always be open to the public. The campaign, called "Everybody Hikes Mt. Major" in reference to the mountain's popularity, aimed to raise $1.8 million to purchase 980 acres of privately owned land on or around Mount Major to ensure its future conservation. They had until December 1 to raise the money.
It was announced this week that the campaign has met its goal, receiving more than 1,900 gifts ranging from $2 to $340,000. The gifts came in from 31 states, including from as far away as Hawaii, Arizona and Oregon. More than 25 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to provide campaign information to hikers and to collect contributions at the Mt. Major trailhead. The successful fundraising campaign ensures that these properties will remain open to the public for hiking, hunting, skiing and other recreational activities.
For more information on the campaign, the Forest Society, the Lakes Region Conservation Trust and the Belknap Range Conservation Coalition, follow this link for the full story.