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Oldest continuously used and maintained hiking trail celebrates 200 years

NEW HAMPSHIREWhite Mountain National Forest co-hosted an event with the Appalachian Mountain Club to celebrate Crawford Path’s 200th Anniversary on August 9. The event highlight stewardship efforts that have helped to maintain the path.

Originally built in 1819 by Ethan Allen Crawford and his father, Abel, Crawford Path is the oldest continuously used and maintained recreation trail in America. Its appeal derives from the fact that its 8.5 miles of mountainous ridgeline travel converges with the famed Appalachian Trail. The trail continues across the alpine zone and leads to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak east of the Mississippi.

Recognizing the significance of the Crawford Path and this important milestone, both Senator Jean Shaheen and Congressman Chris Pappas released legislative proclamations. From Senator Shaheen’s proclamation, “As the first trail to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the Crawford Path has provided adventure, physical challenge and fantastic alpine views of the White Mountains for two centuries of hikers and travelers.”

The Crawford Path crosses all the districts on the White Mountain National Forest. The forest acknowledges the importance of shared stewardship in maintaining the popular trail and thanks volunteers and partners, such as conservation crews and the newly formed White Mountain Trail Collective for their contributions to sustaining the trail.

The White Mountain Trail Collectives mission is to support trail maintainers and trail maintenance. Made up of over 20 clubs and organizations (and growing), this new non-profit uses the collective model to pool strengths and to add capacity so that all partners benefit. The Crawford Path Project demonstrated the power of working together, side by side sharing resources. The WMTC continues to provide resources, training, project management, equipment and volunteer engagement across the variety of human powered trails in the White Mountains region.

A crewmember carries rocks to the work site on Crawford Path, New Hampshire, with the summit of Mount Washington in the background
A crewmember carries rocks to the work site on Crawford Path, New Hampshire, with the summit of Mount Washington in the background. Photo courtesy of Joe Klementovich.
Spectacular, scenic views from the historic Crawford Path on the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Spectacular, scenic views from the historic Crawford Path on the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of Joe Klemntovich.
Group photo for volunteers at Crawford Path
USDA Forest Service employees and partners gather for 200th Anniversary Celebration of the Crawford path. USDA Forest Service photo.