2018 Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering Program


10th Northeast Alpine Stewardship Gathering

April 27-29 2018

Hulbert Outdoor Center, Fairlee, VT

Friday, April 27, 2018

4:00 pm - Registration Opens

5:00 pm - Social

6:00 pm - Dinner

7:00 pm - Welcome: Christin Bailey, USFS; Kim Votta, President Waterman Fund

Panel Discussion

Voices for Wilderness: Readings and discussion to celebrate the release of New Wilderness Voices.
Bethany Taylor, Laura Waterman and others
Book Signing: New Wilderness Voices: Collected Essay from the Waterman Fund Contest

Saturday, April 28, 2018

7:00 am - Registration Open

7:30 am - Breakfast

8:30 am - Opening Remarks: Clare R. Mendelsohn, Forest Supervisor, US Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

8:45 am - Plenary Session: Alpine Research I: Snowbank/Snowbed Plants and Communities – Moderator: Peter A. Palmiotto, Antioch University New England

  • Decline of Sibbaldia procumbens on Mount Washington, New Hampshire. (Dan Sperduto, USDA Forest Service)
  • Snowpack variables and their effect on community composition and phenology at snowbank sites on Mt. Washington, NH. (Kevin Berend, MS candidate, College at Brockport, SUNY) (Waterman Fund Grant Recipient)
  • Baseline data on alpine snowbed and rill communities, including their bryophyte and lichen constituents. (Robert S. Capers, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut)
  • Cryptogam Studies in Snowbed and other Communities on Mount Washington. (Nancy G. Slack Department of Biology, The Sage Colleges)
  • Invasive Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Removal Effort on Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. (Dan Sperduto, Botanist, White Mountain National Forest)

10:00 am - Networking Break & Poster Viewing

10:30 am - Plenary Session: Alpine Research II: Long Term Vegetation Studies and Rare Plants – Moderator: Dan Sperduto, USFS

  • Long-term monitoring of vegetation composition on Adirondack Alpine summits. (Monica Dore, SUNY-Oneonta)
  • Monitoring plant populations in the Adirondack Alpine (Julia Goren, ADK Mountain Club)
  • Salient changes in alpine vegetation among six permanent plots since 1991, on Mount Adams. (Rick Van de Poll, Ecosystem Management Consultant)
  • Experimental germination and growth of alpine Nabalus (Syn: Prenanthes) taxa: Implications for climate change response and conservation. (Kristin Haynes, PhD Candidate, Lab of Donald J. Leopold, SUNY-ESF)
  • New Discoveries in the Vermont Alpine: Natural or Introduced? (Bob Popp, State of Vermont, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife)

12:00 pm – Lunch – Poster Viewing

1:00 pm - Plenary Session: Franconia Ridge – Moderator: Cristin Bailey, USFS

  • Forty years of hiker damage, trail management, and rehabilitation on Franconia Ridge (Charlie Cogbill, Ecologist)
  • An Assessment of Hiker Use Patterns and Relationship to Current Scree Wall Efficacy on Franconia Ridge – 40 Years Later. (Doug Weihrauch, Staff Ecologist, Appalachian Mountain Club (Waterman Grant Recipient))
  • Collaboratively Working Toward Visitor Use Management Solutions for the Alpine Zone of Franconia Ridge. (Hawk Metheny, New England Regional Director, Appalachian Trail Conservancy)

2:15 pm - Break

2:45 pm - Plenary Session: Bird and Plants and more - Moderator: Nancy Ritger, AMC

  • American Pipit Population Survey in the Presidential Range and Franconia Ridge. (Christian J. Martin, Senior Biologist, NH Audubon (Waterman Fund Grant Recipient))
  • Defining the Habitat Characteristics of Three Rare Alpine Plant Species in the Presidential Mountain Range (Jenifer Dickinson, Antioch graduate student)
  • Tree seedling recruitment, growth and survival above treeline on Mount Moosilauke: Seven years of surveys. (Robert S. Capers, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut)
  • Shaping the Reason to Hike – An Additional Tool for Alpine Stewardship. (Vin Maresco, Alpine Steward ADK High Peaks)

3:45 pm - Break

4:00 Plenary Session: Dispatches from the field: Updates on Alpine Stewardship Activities in the Northeast – Moderator: Jill Weiss, SUNY ESF

  • Outreach methods, visitorship, and trends from the 2016 season (Jill Weiss, ES Department SUNY ESF).
  • Stewardship Report Outs (Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Programs Representatives)
  • Updates from individuals who conduct alpine stewardship across ten sites in the Northeast.

5:00 pm – Social - Poster Viewing

6:00 pm – Dinner

7:00 pm - 2017 Guy Waterman Alpine Steward Award to Jean Hoekwater, Baxter State Park. Presented by Kim Votta, President, The Waterman Fund and Laura Waterman

7:30 pm - Keynote Address:  Jeffrey L. Marion, Ph.D. USDI, U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Tech Field Station. Leader/Adj. Professor, Patuxent Wildlife Research

"Mountains Without Handrails: Carrying Capacity in the Alpine Zone."

Dr. Jeff Marion is a Research Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and an Adjunct Professor at Virginia Tech University.  His research specialty is Recreation Ecology, in which he investigates and consults with managers on the environmental impacts of visitor use in protected natural areas, primarily national parks and wilderness.  His research has focused on visitor impacts to campsites, recreation sites, formal and informal trails, and climbing impacts to cliffs. He was a founding member of the Leave No Trace Board of Directors and he chaired the committee that guided development of the Leave No Trace principles, practices, and educational courses for the first decade. He has recently authored the LNT Center’s book “Leave No Trace in the Outdoors.”

Abstract: Joseph Sax, in his book “Mountains Without Handrails” proposes that protected area managers and preservationists should seek to provide and encourage “contemplative and reflective recreation.” He would encourage us to extract people from their vehicles so they can truly experience nature on its own terms, emphasizing intensiveness of experience in place of intensiveness of consumption and impact. Benefits that accrue to society include improved physical and mental health and increased political support for protected natural areas. If we agree, then we stewards of the alpine zone need to develop our knowledge and expertise in applying carrying capacity, the process of sustainably managing visitor use to protect sensitive natural environments while ensuring high quality visitor experiences.

This presentation will review the art and science of sustainable visitor use management in the context of visitation to high elevation mountain environments. We will examine the new interagency Visitor Use Management (VUM) framework and its adaptive management decision-making process. We will examine the carrying capacity “toolbox,” including site management, educational, and regulatory options to increase the sustainability of visitor use. Specifically, we will examine the latest findings from research to design and maintain sustainable trails, effective site management and educational practices to persuade hikers to remain on formal trails, options to model and redistribute visitor use in time and space, and when necessary, regulations to reduce resource and experiential impacts and restrict access. And to keep it fun, I’ll include a number of alpine zone backpacking photos from across the U.S.[/vc_column_text][us_grid columns="3" img_size="us_350_350_crop" post_type="attachment" items_quantity="" images="2200,2201,2202" orderby="post__in" items_gap="" items_layout="gallery_default" overriding_link="popup_post_image" breakpoint_1_cols="3" breakpoint_2_width="768px" breakpoint_3_width="480px" breakpoint_2_cols="3" breakpoint_3_cols="2"][vc_column_text]

Sunday, April 29, 2018

7:00 am - Breakfast

8:30 am –

8:30 am – Field Trips (can sign up at registration desk at the Gathering)

Mt. Moosilauke alpine peak: Come hike Mt. Moosilauke, the southernmost 4000’ in the White Mountains with a long history of research firsts!


  • Robert S. Capers, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut.
  • Peter Palmiotto, Forest Ecologist, MERE Director, Professor Antioch U. New England.

Tunnel Brook Valley restoration (possible):

Tunnel Brook itself became a raging torrent during Tropical Storm Irene and damaged much of the surrounding transportation system.  The trip will look at some of the rehabilitation efforts that have taken place and the mix of recreation and forestry that have happened since.  This is an easy walk along an old roadbed.  There is parking for about 8 cars.

Guide: John Marunowski, Back Country Wilderness Manager USFS

Local hike yet to be determined in the Lake Morey, Bald Mountain region.


Lunch: Bag lunches will be provided


A fine-scale U.S. population estimate of a montane spruce–fir bird species of conservation concern. (Jason Hill and John Lloyd)

 Why you should not stack stones, testing the effectiveness of trial signs. (Peter A. Palmiotto, Dianne Dubois, and Alyssa Milo)

Alpine Plant Communities of Mt. Moosilauke, A 22-year Cross-Data Analysis. Undergraduate Thesis at Sterling College, VT. (Timbo Maddalena-Lucey)

Proposing A Survey of Conservation Mandates and Policies for Alpine and Subalpine Vegetation in Maine. (Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie)

Bryophytes of the Alpine and Subalpine Zones of the Adirondack High Peaks Region (Sean Robinson)

Practical Anthropology for Recreation Management: Using Anthropological Methods For Rapid Assessment (RAP) of Hiking Behavior and Environmental Impact On Franconia Ridge. (Nat Scrimshaw)

Keep the Whites Wild Ecological Threats of the Proposed Cog-Railway Hotel (Michael Wejchert and Hal Wilkins)

Cairn Tampering in the Adirondack High Peaks (Kayla White)


Download abstracts for presentations (PDF).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]