White Mountains Region

Franconia Notch located in Franconia, along with Lincoln, Littleton and Conway tally at just over 17,000 residents and help contribute to the overall population of the White Mountains region.

The White Mountains region is home to hundreds of thousands of tourists each year and extends 87 miles across the northern part of the state and into western Maine. The White Mountains include the tallest peaks in all of the Northeastern United States. The distinct peaks of the 5,000 footers have been named for U.S. presidents and make up the Presidential Range, with the highest point being Mount Washington. The White Mountains invite hikers from the East coast and beyond to visit and experience all that there is to offer. The White Mountains also have alpine huts which offer shelter to weary hikers during their climbs.

Lying in the heart of the White Mountains is the White Mountain National Forest located primarily in New Hampshire and occupying over 780,000 acres  in Grafton, Coos and Carroll county and Oxford County in Maine. The White Mountains offer family attractions such as Story Land, Santa’s Village, The Polar Caves, Clark’s Trading Post and Whale’s Tale Water Park, and hiking destinations including the Flume Gorge, and Lost River Gorge. Visitors can ride the Mount Washington Auto Road and experience breathtaking views along the way.

Tourists enjoy participating in winter and summer activities such as skiing or snow shoeing, and camping and hiking. More attractions of the White Mountains can be found at Crawford Notch, Franconia Notch, and within the 34 mile long Kancamagus Highway where you can spot beautiful wildlife, walk the hiking trails and swim in the raging river.

The Old Man of the Mountain, also known as the Great Stone Face or Profile, was a meaningful mark to native New Hampshire folks and tourists alike who enjoyed the opportunity to spot the rock formation, when approaching Profile Lake in Franconia. Since the collapse in 2003, a memorial has been created including a plaque and a designated viewing spot of where the Man used to sit.

Many houses in the White Mountains are vacation homes as the percent of homes foreclosed is on the rise. Furthermore, poverty levels are at 5.9% with  great economic dependence on annual tourism.

Null Value


The New Hampshire attorney general's office says they've made an arrest after a man was gunned down on the sidewalk in front of the town common in Gorham, right near the police station.

Police inside the station heard the shots Monday night and ran to find 27-year-old Michael Welch suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Welch later died.

NHPTV via Flickr CC

A 165-mile mile hiking trail from the White Mountains to the Canadian border is getting over $30,000 in grants for an upgrade.

The Cohos Trail Association plans to build some new trails to help pull foot paths off of roads, improve bog bridges and help some remote sections in Coos County.

The Caledonian Record reports there also are plans to build kiosks and outfit them with signs that promote the trail and New Hampshire's Great North Woods.

  A Littleton company is putting up a new, 117,000-square foot building.

Tender Corp. says the facility will be finished in about a year and will allow it to consolidate three facilities.

The company makes a wide range of first-aid products ranging from wilderness first-aid kits to After-Bite which is used to treat insect bites.

The company has about 160 employees and an official said some hiring is expected with the new building. It has been in Littleton since 1973.

Mic Wernej via Flickr CC

Students at a New Hampshire high school will now be able to choose between black and white for their graduation gowns, after a group representing transgender students asked the school board to allow that.

Traditionally, boys at Kennett High School in North Conway wear black caps and gowns and girls wear white ones for graduation. WMUR-TV reports two weeks ago, members of the Gay- Straight-Transgender Alliance asked the board to change that after transgender students were assigned robes for the gender they don't identify with.

Hitchiner Manufacturing says over the next year it will be shutting down its Littleton manufacturing facility and moving those 135 jobs to an existing facility in Milford.

Employees who wish to move to Milford may do so and will get relocation assistance, the company said in a news release Thursday.

The company said the move was necessary due to “the operating economics of the Littleton facility” and its distance from it Milford operation ,which already has about 470 employees.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

In the 1960’s Mount Eustis was where lots of kids learned to ski, Ron Lahout remembers.

“Once you reached a certain age your parents would dump you off and you would spend the whole day there.”

“It was booming. I mean the place was packed. There was a snack bar and that was also a big deal to see if you could get a couple of bucks out of your parents to get hot chocolate.”

But in the 80’s Mount Eustis closed, the victim of problems ranging from a couple winters without much snow to concerns about insurance.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The hard-core hikers call it the grid, the big list.

Perhaps you know someone who has walked up all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 foot peaks. It’s a lot less likely, but maybe you’ve even met someone who has hiked them in the winter. But for the most resolute hikers, even that’s not enough. They strive to hike every 4,000-footer in every month of the year...that’s 576 hikes.

It took more than a decade, but on Wednesday New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley got to check off the 576th box in his grid.

The New Hampshire town of Littleton is getting $250,000 to support a revitalization project on Main Street.

Littleton is planning to construct a multi-use bridge over the Ammonoosuc River pedestrians, bicycles and off-road vehicles.

The grant is from the Northern Border Regional Commission, which helps economic development in the North Country.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is touring the project after addressing the Littleton Economic Development Summit on Monday.

Sean Hurley

When you think of summer camp, you might think of games, crafts, sing-alongs or maybe canoes. But NHPR’s Sean Hurley paid a visit to another kind of summer camp, one devoted to hiking and writing.

We've only just started up the trail to Indian Head, but already 16 year old Brandi is having trouble breathing.

"Tired.  Really tired.  I don't really like having asthma.  It weakens me.  I was down there and I almost threw up."

Sean Hurley

There's no shortage of advice if you want to hike the rugged trails of the White Mountains. But there aren't many guides for those interested in the gentler, family friendly paths that cut through our forests. NHPR's Sean Hurley recently took a walk in the woods with New Hampshire trail expert Steve Smith to compile a list of 10 magnificent - and magnificently easy - wilderness walks.

NH Attorney General

A judge set bail at $1 million cash for a Gorham man charged with kidnapping North Conway teen Abigail Hernandez and authorities are continuing to investigate the case.

Associate Attorney General Jane Young says they have no other suspects currently but more information may come to light in the weeks to come.

“As you are all aware, searches are ongoing right now at Mr. Kibby’s residence. If there is additional evidence that other crimes have been committed, those charges will be brought.”

Mt Washington NH 2013-0420254
Dave Marcy / Flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of hikers are heading up the summit of the Northeast's highest peak to raise money for the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory.  The annual "Seek the Peak'' fundraiser at Mount Washington is being held Saturday. The event has raised more than $1.3 million since 2001, helping the observatory maintain its famous weather station atop the summit.   In 1934, observatory staff recorded a 231 mph gust that remains the highest wind speed ever observed by man. A remote sensor later recorded a 253 mph gust off Australia during a 1996 typhoon.   

Brian Pocius via Flickr CC


It's been a busy weekend for rescue crews in New Hampshire's mountains.

Fish and Game Department conservation officers responded to three incidents on Saturday on Mount Washington and Mount Lafayette.

One involved a hiker who slipped and fell 10 feet and was injured, another involved a man suffering medical issues and the third involved a hiking party that became disoriented while descending down the Cog Railway.

via WhiteMountainHistory.org

One of the oldest structures in the White Mountain National Forest is being restored.

Built by the U.S. Forest Service, Fabyan Guard Station is a one-room log cabin on Cherry Mountain Road in the Bretton Woods area. It was built in 1923 and is the last example of a guard station in the forest.

Employees called forest guards were once stationed in these remote cabins.

Michael Webber via Flickr CC

The number of encounters with bears in the White Mountain National Forest is on the rise early this season, prompting rangers to issue early warnings and step up enforcement of safety rules.

Colleen Mainville, a spokeswoman for the national forest, says the black bears are getting bold. One tried to enter a tent while another was searching the back of pickup trucks for food. There are an estimated 4,800 to 5,000 bears in the state.

Most people will never see a bear but when the critters find food, they learn that they can mooch a meal from the two-legged visitors.

Selbe B via Flickr CC

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the Mount Washington Cog Railway's daily trips to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast.

The Cog Railway opened its 2014 season April 26, but operated weekends only until now.

This season marks the 145th year of operation of "the Cog."

The popular tourist attraction is also rolling out a new biodiesel engine during the holiday weekend. The new engine is named Metallak, in honor of the last surviving member of the local Abenaki tribe.

No one's been hurt, but there's been some damage to the Littleton, New Hampshire, Opera House after a tractor trailer unit struck the building this week.

Littleton police and fire officials tell the Caledonian Record that several vehicles strike the Opera House each year while attempting to make a sharp turn from Cottage onto Union Street. They say Wednesday's accident has resulted in more damage to the building than usual.

Brian Pocius via Flickr CC

The Senate is voting whether to sell "hike safe" cards to hikers that would forgive them for any rescue expenses they'd otherwise owe New Hampshire for being negligent.

Thursday's vote is on a House-passed bill that authorizes the Fish and Game Department to sell voluntary hike safe cards for $25 per person and $35 per family. People who obtain the cards would not be liable to repay rescue costs if their rescue was due to negligence on their part.

Mt. Washington Auto Road / Flickr CC

  Searchers spent hours on Mount Washington Saturday night looking for - and locating - a lost ice climber, according to a news release from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

The call for help came about 5:30 pm from Ms. Dale Edwards, 32, of the Bronx in New York, who was climbing with two companions in the back country of the Ammonoosuc Ravine, according to Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes.

NHPR / Chris jensen

Gorham Paper and Tissue, the town’s largest employer, is temporarily cutting back operations, a move that will lead to 20 to 50 employees losing their jobs.

The company says other employees will see week-long layoffs.

In an email Friday, CEO Mike Cummings says the move is in response to record-setting natural gas prices.

Gorham Town Manager Robin Frost says the news is devastating for the town’s economy.

Sean Hurley

Utah has one.  Colorado does too.  And now New Hampshire has its very own Ice Castle open to the public at Loon Mountain.  It's taken Mother Nature and 20 workers about a month to turn tons of homemade icicles into a glacial maze of frozen caverns and clear blue coliseums.  NHPR's Sean Hurley recently took a tour of the nearly completed castle and sends us this report.

Rescuers were in The White Mountains Saturday night after being alerted that somebody needed help. They just didn’t know who or why.

The alert came about  6:45 Saturday when New Hampshire Fish and Game got a call from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center in Texas.

It had received a signal from a SPOTS emergency beacon that had been activated in King Ravine in Burbank’s Grant.

The signal indicated where help was needed but nothing else.

The U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at most of its day-use recreation sites, including those in the White Mountain National Forest, over the Veterans Day holiday weekend.    Forest fees have been waived from Saturday through Monday.    Fees will remain in effect for overnight camping, cabin rentals, permits, reservations, and concession activities.      

Frank Shapleigh / Jackson Historical Society

While the White Mountains have always been associated with outdoorsy activities, for much of the 19th century, they played a particularly important role in the arts.  The new country was looking for an artistic identity that was distinctly "American," and the untamed wilderness of northern New Hampshire inspired scores of painters.

Sean Hurley

Abigail Hernandez has now been missing for 19 days.  Although thousands of acres have been combed and hundreds of tips have been followed, both the FBI and local police still don't know what happened between 3 and 4 in the afternoon on October 9th when Abby disappeared.  Despite this, the Hernandez family and the local community remain hopeful. On Saturday night nearly 500 people attended a flashlight vigil in Schouler Park in downtown North Conway meant to light the way home for Abby.  Sean Hurley was there and has this report. 

via FBI.gov


The sister of a missing New Hampshire girl is pleading for her safe return.

Sarah Hernandez made the plea Monday evening during a brief news conference by law enforcement investigators outside the Conway Police Department building. The investigators were updating the press about the search for 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez.

The North Conway teenager was last seen leaving Kennett High School on Wednesday afternoon. Police say she made it home but was gone when her mother arrived later.

New Hampshire officials have identified the 60-year-old man who died Saturday while hiking in the White Mountains.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says rescuers were called to the Ripley Falls Trail about 11 a.m. Saturday and found James Byrne of South Dennis, Mass., unresponsive about half a mile up the trail.

Officials say Byrne had been hiking with family and friends. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

An autopsy was to be conducted to determine the cause of death.


Robert Frost
Leslie Jones / Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

For more than 30 years, Robert Frost’s old home in Franconia has celebrated the poet on the first Sunday of July.  The Frost Place’s Executive Director Maudelle Driskell says the annual event draws a variety of visitors.

“And it’s everybody from people, just [from] the local area--they want to come out and listen to the readings and see the Frost Place--to people that specifically come up to hear readings on Frost Day, and tourists that are traveling through," Driskell says.  "This year, we hope that we’ll have more families.”

Courtesy of The White Mountain School

A Vermont man has been indicted by a Grafton Country Grand Jury for second degree murder in the death of Catherine Houghton in Littleton in January.

The indictment - returned Friday - charges Rodney Hill, 37, of West Danville, Vermont with the crime.

Houghton, 70, was a trustee of The White Mountain School in Bethlehem. She came to the North Country for a meeting.

She was fatally injured January 28 when she went to the lobby of the Hampton Inn to ask about a television remote that wasn’t working.