Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

White Mountain National Forest celebrates centennial

NEW HAMPSHIRE – New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest turned 100!

100 years ago the White Mountains were largely a denuded cutover landscape marked by eroding hillsides. Streams were blackened by silt and ash from widespread fires sparked in expansive logging slash. The passage of the Weeks Act in 1911 called for the protection of headwater streams. On May 16, 1918 President Woodrow Wilson signed Executive Order 1449 creating the White Mountain National Forest in Maine and New Hampshire.

Today, the forest is nearly 800,000 acres and attracts several million visitors who hike, camp, climb and ski on their public land each year. The forest has become a major part of the economic engine of New Hampshire contributing to the nearly 9 billion dollar statewide outdoor recreation industry that supports almost 80,000 jobs.

“The centennial year has reminded us to look back on where we’ve come while we prepare for the next 100 years with our partners and volunteers,” said Forest Supervisor Clare Mendelsohn. Throughout the year we have asked the public to help reflect on the past, build a vision for the next century and engage through partnering or volunteering. We still have work to do to ensure this land is protected for future generations, and we look forward to continuing to work with partners and the public to manage over 800,000 acres in New Hampshire and Maine.”

Whether you are a regular visitor, local community member, volunteer or partner, the White Mountain National Forest hopes the centennial will encourage you to reflect on that importance of your connection with the land known as “the people’s forest,” or as the “Crown Jewel of New England.”

White Mountain National Forest’s Kinsman Notch in Woodstock, New Hampshire is a spectacular spot to take in a brilliant array of fall colors! Photographer: Andrew Clawson, Developed Recreation Staff, White Mountain National Forest. Forest Service photo.

Before – slash remaining from cut-over land on mountainside of White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire circa 1910s. Photo courtesy of Forest History Society.

Same area of land on the White Mountain National Forest, reforested circa 2004. Forest Service photo.