The wind-whipped peaks that tower above the tree-filled valleys of the White Mountain National Forest have been a symbol of wild America since well before the first New England colonies were established. Now, the natural beauty that has drawn visitors for centuries is featured on an America the Beautiful Quarter released recently by the U.S. Mint.
The coin depicts Mount Chocorua, the easternmost peak of the Sandwich Range, framed by birch trees. The nearly 3,500-foot peak rising from the rugged landscape is surrounded by pristine lakes and thick forestland. A perennial favorite with hikers, Mount Chocorua’s summit provides outstanding views.
“White Mountain National Forest is one of America’s most visited national forests,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We hope this latest recognition will inspire even more Americans to enjoy our Nation’s many outdoor recreational opportunities while supporting local economic growth and job creation.”
White Mountain National Forest joins two other Forest Service sites – Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon and El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico – already honored under the program. Three other Forest Service-managed lands will be depicted on further releases in a multi-year program to honor 56 forests, national parks, and other sites in each state, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Future quarters will include Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, Shawnee National Forest in Illinois and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
The 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest also includes the 34-mile-long Kancamagus Scenic Byway with one of the most beautiful routes through New Hampshire's White Mountains. A trip across the Kanc, as locals refer to it, includes rushing rivers, a covered bridge, breathtaking vistas and possibly a glimpse of an elusive moose. The byway connects with the White Mountain Trail to make a loop.
The forest also is home to incredible recreation opportunities year-round, including accessible trails and waterways.
“The White Mountain National Forest is a crown jewel among the other national treasures featured on these coins,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We offer some of the most beautiful landscapes in America, and some of the most accessible ways to experience them.”
Forest officials are planning a coin launch event later this year.