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Photo courtesy of Owlsheadcliff.org.
The U.S. Forest Service has added 360 acres of land containing Owls Head Cliff to White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, completing protection of the large granite cliff. Efforts to save the cliff began in September 2006, when landowners placed the property on the market for development. New Hampshire climber Tom Richardson raised the alert and led a lobbying effort, and in August of 2007 the Trust for Public Land purchased the property, with seed money from an Access Fund grant. This kept it off the market until the Forest Service could come up with the funds to add Owls Head to its holdings.
Owls Head is a broad, 500-foot-high granite cliff system, consisting mostly of high-angle friction slabs. Its relatively remote location in central New Hampshire, far from the major climbing centers of North Conway and Franconia Notch, has kept it off climbers’ radar. For some years, a shotgun-toting guardian also kept the popularity down. Nevertheless, the cliff holds quite a few multipitch rock routes and several thin-ice testpieces, with lots of potential for more routes.
Date of Announcement: December 12, 2007
Sources: Tom Richardson, Trust for Public Land, Owlsheadcliff.org