Trail Clubs of the White Mountains Exhibition Preview – March 29, 2015

On Sunday March 29, 2015 beginning at 4:00 in the afternoon and lasting until 6:00 in the evening, at the Museum of the White Mountains in Plymouth, NH there was an exhibition preview to the new exhibit titled “Trail Clubs of the White Mountains.” Representing The Cohos Trail Association for this preview was TCTA’s President Chad Pepau, of Somersworth, NH. While the preview was by invitation only, this new exhibit officially opens to the public tomorrow, March 31 and will be on display through March 6, 2016.

During the preview, invitees had a chance to meet and greet with members of the many trail clubs in the White Mountains including the Randolph Mountain Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, White Mountain National Forest personnel, Trailwrights, Squam Lakes Association, Shelburne Trails Club, Chocorua Mountain Club, among others.  Also present were the lean-to builders, John and Caroline Nininger, owners of The Wooden House Company, Ltd. of Newbury, Vermont.

Director of the Museum of the White Mountains, Catherine Amidon introduced the curators responsible for putting this exhibit together. They included Steve Smith, Mike Dickerman, and Ben Amsden. Mike spoke stating that it was fun for the team to dive into the history of the White Mountains, especially when it pertained to Trail Clubs, past and present. He also said that it took two years for all of this to come together.

Steve Barba, former General Manager of the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch and currently serving as Executive Director of University Relations at Plymouth State University, was also present and discussed a bit of history about the Balsams and the relationship that was built between the Tillotsons, the Balsams, himself, and The Cohos Trail Association. Steve stated that Mr. Neil Tillotson was quite pleased when the Cohos Trail’s founder, Kim R. Nilsen contacted him asking permission to place a new foot trail over Dixville Peak. The relationship Kim Nilsen created then continues to thrive today.

The preview was well attended and everyone had a great time. It brought great pleasure to Chad to be able to meet different folks and share many of the exciting things The Cohos Trail Association is currently involved with, along with plans for this summer, and of course, in 2016 when the log lean-to on display in this exhibit is actually moved north and placed along the mighty Cohos Trail in the Pittsburg region.

For your enjoyment, be sure to check out the video related to putting the lean-to together on March 12, inside the Museum of the White Mountains, as well as another video narrated by John Nininger, the builder of this magnificent lean-to.

The handcrafted, log lean-to built by John and Caroline Nininger, owners of The Wooden House Company, Ltd.

The handcrafted, log lean-to built by John and Caroline Nininger, owners of The Wooden House Company, Ltd.


LANCASTER – Officers of the all-volunteer nonprofit hiking trail organization known as the Cohos Trail Association (TCTA) learned this past week that two grants had been awarded to support increasing efforts to turn the 165-mile Cohos Trail from the White Mountains to the Canadian border into a major hiking destination in the Northeast.

The New Hampshire Trails Bureau reported that TCTA had been awarded more than $27,555 in Recreational Trails Program funds to assist the group in building miles of new trails to help the association pull foot paths off roads to greatly improve the hiking experience, to help the group maintain some remote sections in Coos County, and improve aging hiking infrastructure, such as bog bridges.

Within hours, the association officers learned that the group was also the recipient of $3,280 from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, administered by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, to build and erect sign kiosks in many locations and outfit those kiosks with professional and highly visible graphics that would promote the trail and New Hampshire’s Great North Woods.

These grants come on the heels of an infusion of funds from a recent $5,000 grant from the Coos Economic Development Corporation, $17,000 from an anonymous Vermont-based donor, and the donation from the Museum of the White Mountains of a new, large log lean-to shelter to be erected along the trail in 2016.

TCTA’s President, Chad Pepau said “With these two additional grants coming to the association, 2015 is on path to be the most successful year for the Cohos Trail in terms of being able to make significant, positive changes. These changes will enhance the hiking experience tremendously.” Mr. Pepau also said “The Cohos Trail is very fortunate to have received these generous gifts as the association relies heavily upon grants and donations to accomplish a wide array of projects, annually.”

Now, with substantial resources to work with, the association plans to develop nearly five miles of all new trail in the Nash Stream Forest, greatly upgrade miles of existing hiking trail throughout the county, install long bog bridge spans in Jefferson and Pittsburg, produce wholly redesigned maps, provide world-class signage at trailheads, build a new shelter in Stark township, and set aside funds for the construction of another new shelter on the trail in 2016.

The hiking trail group will provide matches in dollars and volunteer in-kind effort to help augment the grant monies. Already the group has received offers of building material donations to further stretch the reach of the funding.

Now in its fifteenth year of existence, the Cohos Trail is increasingly seen as a potential economic driver for the county, bringing in increasing numbers of hikers and peak-baggers who wish to experience mountainous terrain without pressure from crowds of hikers on the high peaks of the White Mountains. As the trail matures and more shelters are erected along its long length, outdoors enthusiasts are finding more and more reason to explore the new terrain that the Cohos Trail offers.

The White Mountains attract some two million hiker visits per year. TCTA has been trying to lure just a few percents of that traffic farther north into central and northern Coos County. If they succeed, as they hope, their efforts could have an incremental yet substantial impact on the overall recreational profile of the county.

Trail Club Exhibition at the Museum of the White Mountains

Coming soon! TCTA urges all hiking enthusiasts to visit the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. On display will be an exhibition featuring “Trail Clubs of the White Mountains.” Read the promotional flyer attached for more information. TCTA is pleased to be a part of this exhibition and the recipient of a hand-crafted log lean-to built by John Nininger, owner of The Wooden House Company, Ltd. of Newbury, Vermont. This exhibition is quite the display! The lean-to was erected inside the museum on Thursday March 12, 2015. Representing TCTA for this event were Directors Mary Sturtevant and Bill Schomburg, along with Chad Pepau, TCTA’s President.MWM Trail Clubs Promo2MWM Trail Clubs promo1

The handcrafted, log lean-to built by John and Caroline Nininger, owners of The Wooden House Company, Ltd.

The handcrafted, log lean-to built by John and Caroline Nininger, owners of The Wooden House Company, Ltd.