Author Topic: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser  (Read 676 times)

DLottmann

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Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« on: June 06, 2006, 10:35:06 AM »
To to get more info or sponsor Lisa and I click this link below:

http://www.mountwashington.org/mypage/DaveandLisa

Tomcat

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2006, 09:44:55 AM »
Hey Dave. I was wondering if you would be willing to post up here how many dollars the Observatory gets in grants and funding from the federal government please.Last time I looked it was a few million a year.I love the smell of heating oil on the summit as much as the next man,but you know,they have a research center of some millions there in Bartlett and move into ever more costly digs around town. :-\

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2006, 11:45:14 AM »
When I stayed up there last winter that question was raised by one of my clients.  I can not remember the exact number, but the observatory crew member's answer was that they only recieve a fracton from the National Weather Service of what it takes to run their operation.  The stipend was so low everyone in our group was shocked.  I'm thinking it was about $40,000/year for something that costs 2-3 Million a year to run, but you can't quote me on that.

This is from their website:

We are a private, non-profit, member-supported organization and we rely heavily on the generosity of our more than 4,000 members for financial support. It is this support that allows us to maintain a fully staffed summit observatory, conduct scientific research, administer educational programs and offer great services like this website and the nationally-syndicated radio program, The Weather Notebook.

If you can find any information to support your claims you are encouraged to post it here.  Since you kind of jacked a thread seeking help with a fundrasier, I really think you should.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2006, 11:51:18 AM by DMan »

Tomcat

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2006, 01:17:34 PM »
Dman,did not intend to"jack your thread",nor do I feel it's out of place to request information about the funding of a non-profit when they asking for donations.

In the early nineties the Observatory remodeled the building that now houses North Country Fair Jewelers for use as a musuem.Ten years or so later it moved to the building that now houses Books for Literacy Foundation.They remodeled that building with a custom home builder from Wolfeboro I believe.Now they packed it in there and moved into the bank across from EMS.Each of these is about a doubling in size.

Meanwhile they built that research facility in Bartlett with the gate on the road,where the sky laser operates.Was that 3.8 million I think.Senator Gregg did bring home the bacon,Aug 2000 an additional 500,000 to total a million over two years,,plus 355,000 to upgrade NOAA facility.August,2003 he came home with another 494,000.

I'd say that those figures are about ten times what you are quoting.There is more money coming in too.They are in a joint project with UNH that got 19 million in federal monies unless I am mistaken.

They rebuilt the septic system up there a few years back,and was that around one million? One article I looked at stated annual funding was around 800,000.

Feel free to straighten me out on these Dave,I invited you to give this information yourself in your own way and do again.Mine is not complete,I know that,just a quick Google.

You think it's cool,that's fine,I think it's an abomination on the summit,and freely admit that bias.

The Weather Notebook was also funded with a government grant too I believe.Maybe Subaru funds it now.

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2006, 02:08:25 PM »
...One article I looked at stated annual funding was around 800,000.... I think it's an abomination on the summit,and freely admit that bias.

Good information Tom, thanks for sharing it.  That $800,000 figure sounds familiar.  Like I said, you can't quote me on any numbers since I admit I don't know.  If they get $800,000 in government funding, and have an operationing cost between 2-3 million, it would make sense they make up the deficit in grants and membership dues, donations, and fundraisers.

On a side note, I guessed you had some animosity towards the existence of the summit buildings.  I used to despise the auto road, Cog, and the "mall" at the top of what was supposed to me, in my opinion, the wildest place in New Hampshire.  Learning some of the history of these unique facets of Mt. Washington has changed my view considerably, and I now see their place on the rock pile.

Anyways, thanks for sharing your opinion and numbers with me.

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2006, 03:18:09 PM »
Didn't want to hijack Dmans thread so here is a new one. I would agree with Tomcat that the observatory and all the crap up there is "an abomination on the summit" Other than the avalanche report what benefit do we get for our tax dollars? If Tomcats figures are right that seems like a huge pile of money to do nothing. What research gets done up there? It's seems to me to be not much more than a station to monitor the weather. Occasionally the defense dept or the FAA puts stuff up there to test it's durability in shitty weather but enviromental testing of that sort can be done in a lab. I for years have wanted to see the road closed and all the crap removed from the summit and it restored to a mountaintop again. I don't even like the train but you could argue it's historical signifigance. (The first cog railroad in the world)

On the same token, The AMC talks about preserving the wilderness but take a look at the new highland center. An expensive bunkhouse for yuppies! And the huts, I got a fine last year and a big lecture about damaging the enviroment for camping above treeline, (Admittadly illegal but all I had was I bivy sack placed on rock, not even a stove.) and down below the huts are teeming with people trampling everything in sight. I guess the fact that they shelled out a pile of money to the AMC gave them more of a right to be there than me. People are worried about the impact of a bolted rap anchor! Wake up and look around you!

Enough of my rant. I'm going climbing!

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2006, 03:43:15 PM »
There is a ton of research going on up there.  If you haven't taken a tour up there you should try and withhold casting judgement.  You might be surprised.  I think the road has more historical significance than the cog, but they are almost equally impressive feats given the technology at the time.  If you ever take the road up and listen to their somewhat corny CD about it you might see it in a different light... or maybe you won't.  After hating the road through my high school years, it was kind of nice to come to peace with it.

What has occurred on Mt. Washington, good or bad, is ir-reversible.  When I want a wild barren summit, I head to any of the other 5000+ footers and find what I'm looking for.

I used to despise the AMC too... and still jokingly call them the "Appalacion Money Club".  Truth is they do more for the White Mountains than is outwardly apparent.  The hut system mimics systems in place throughout the rest of the worlds mountain ranges.  The new Highland Center I would assume is much like the 1st lodging Crawford Notch House, big, grand, expensive.  Definitely not for your dirt-bag hiker, but fitting a role for some.  I go there for there Brad Washburn exhibit... a worthwhile trip if you get rained/stormed off anything in the area.

I think LNT camping above treeline on rock should probably be legal... it used to be.  Lichen is fragile... but I would say we have enough of it.  Laura and Guy Waterman's books, Preserving the Wilderness and Wilderness Ethics are awesome reads to help firm up, or dissolve your ideas on preserving wilderness.

Tomcat

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2006, 06:40:12 AM »
My opinion is that what is on Mount Washington is not irreversible. There was a hotel there once,it's gone.There was one where the Highland Center stands now,but the AMC thinks they own the Whites and lets us use them.A lot of infrastructure has been removed from Crawford Notch,the Highland Center should have gone about two miles up the road into Bretton Woods.

A common defense of the AMC huts is that"they mimic the huts of Europe".No,they do not.In the European huts you do not need a reservation,and they are cheap,some are free.AMC charges hotel rates for bunkhouse accomadations,by reservation.Through hikers can sleep underneath for short money I am told.They flood the alpine zone with people that otherwise would not be there,and then lecture Dave and I on LNT and camping above treeline.

I confronted the AMC about the Highland Center on Neice when it was announced in the paper.The AMC guy that participated in the discussion denied they were planning to spend 4.3 million on the project,they spent 9 instead.

I believe that what research gets done on Mount Washington could be done by a small automated module with less than than 5% of the enviromental impact.Most of the rest is a pork barrel project,and the only way to reduce pork is at home.

I respect your right to admire the Cog,Auto Road,Highland Center,Observatory as long as you respect mine to dislike them.

Tom

Offline Dave

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2006, 08:24:28 AM »
Dman, I have got the best tour of the observatory you could get. After doing Pinnacle last winter and going to the summit my partner and I were invited in by one of the staff and given a personal tour of every room in every building on the summit! It was very interesting but, the research being done there is really minimal. It is an observatory more than a research station and the damage done to the mountain in my oppinion is not worth it. I don't even particularly like the avalanche or weather report. IMO if you are going up there you should take the time to learn how to recognize the hazards and deal with them. Not have someone else do it for you! Messner dealt with this in an excellent article for "climbing" after the fiasco on Everest a few years ago.

As far as the "ask for money club" goes, Tomcat and I have voiced our oppinion. The good they do is far outweighed by the damage they have done. Mainly the huts and the highland center. It made me want to puke getting a lecture from the hutmaster of one of thier alpine hotels on the damage my bivy sack was doing placed on a big flat rock when less than a mile away they have over 100 people trampling everything in sight. Go to any hut and see how many cigarette buts you can find in 1/2 hour and look around at the damage to the environment and the dump they have created. Took a walk around lake of the clouds a month ago and couldn't believe what a mess was around there and they wern't even open. Wild barren summits, where have you been? Last summer the AMC couldn't even be escaped from on the summits. They had "summit hosts" out last year giving lectures on the enviroment. Met them on Mousaloukee, Lafayett, and Jefferson. The guy on lafayette was so obnoxous that several parties up there joked about how we could off of him and hide the body. 30 people on the summit and he was the only one you could hear! Sorry Dman but IMO you are way off on this one

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2006, 02:05:37 PM »
I had heard getting spots in some huts in Europe are like getting season Red Sox seats right behind the dugout!  Often very expensive, even if the do serve up free Vino Rouge.  I haven't stayed in any, so I just know what I've read or been told.

I respect your right to admire the Cog,Auto Road,Highland Center,Observatory as long as you respect mine to dislike them.

Right on Tom, and I do.  I appreciate being able to share views this way, and I plan to do some more research into these issues.  Thanks to both of you for sharing your opinions.  Cheers.

Offline Dave

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2006, 08:40:24 AM »
DMan, Although I think you are wrong on this one it is nice to see a civil discussion in a chat room. Have a great day. Dave R.

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2006, 07:14:43 AM »
Sorry if this seems like I'm re-hatching this topic, but I wanted to pass along this response from the Observatory after my girlfriend contacting them seeking more info.  For what its worth:


Thank you very much for your e  mail -- my apologies for the delay in
response. And thank you especially for your interest in helping the
Observatory in the Seek the Peak event.

As you know, the Observatory is a private, non-profit, 501 c 3 organization,
supported n part by memberships. Many folks mistakenly believe that the
Observatory is a government organization of some sort -- tied intimately to
the state or federal government.

We certainly can take care of the first possibility quickly. The Observatory
is not a State of New Hampshire entity, and receives no money from the State
-- in fact, we make a payment to the State for use of space in the Sherman
Adams Building atop the mountain. We make a lease payment based in part on
revenue raised at the summit museum and through Observatory educational
programs at the summit. (No criticism meant to the State, but perhaps in
other states there would be more consideration given to the educational
value which the Observatory museum offers to State Park visitors...)(We also
do some bartering with the State of our services for some utilities costs.)

Our relationship with the federal government is more complicated. We do
receive a contractual payment from the National Weather Service for weather
data generated at the summit. Though we currently take hourly observations,
we are only paid for one-third of these. The current annual amount paid to
the Observatory for these observations is $37,000; that only covers a very
small amount of the cost involved in round-the-clock staffing of the summit
and related support costs (heating fuel, electricity, food, transportation,
supplies, and equipment).

We do receive other federal support from time to time. Such support can come
through contracts (being hired to do specific work on a government project,
such as testing visibility sensors for the FAA, or performing icing tests
for the Army Corps of Engineers), through competitive grants (such as for
specific research or educational projects from the National Science
Foundation), or through special-purpose grants (such as our current Research
Infrastructure Upgrade through the National Weather Service). Generally,
such support is of limited duration and for specific projects, and it does
not support basic, ongoing operational costs.

When it comes to those basic expenses of running the Observatory, we depend
on a variety of sources, out of necessity, and because we believe that
having variety in funding sources is a prudent thing to do. In addition to
the NWS contract for observational data, we also rely on sources such as
museum revenue (admissions and museum shop sales), tour income, overnight
and day program income (such as from winter EduTrips and Summer Seminars),
fees for outreach presentations, and the like. We also approach for their
contributions -- sometimes with success -- corporations (such as Subaru of
America and L.L. Bean) and private charitable foundations (such as the
Gladys Brooks Foundation, which has provided generous support of our
research library). The real core of our support, though, is from individuals
and families who support us through their memberships in the Observatory,
and who sometimes augment that through special gifts, large or small.
Support through Seek the Peak is associated with this type of support.

Our total budget for this fiscal year is about 1.1 million dollars,
including capital expenditures and expenses for maintaining our summit
weather station, research work, and educational programs (though not
including the NWS supported infrastructure work.) To support that work, we
are expecting from about 5 to 10 percent of the total to come from corporate
support, about 15% to come from federal sources (for contracts or specific
research projects), and the rest we need to raise from the other sources
noted above - including personal donations from people who wish to support
our work, including weather observations (to help in mountain safety,
forecasting, and better understanding of our climate), research (in topics
such as air quality and aviation safety), public education (ranging from our
website to school programs), and mountain safety (including helping, as
feasible, with Mount Washington search and rescue, and, we hope, avoiding
accidents through our education efforts).

So, that's perhaps a more detailed answer than you were looking for, but I
hope it helps you in your generous efforts helping us!

Sincerely,

Peter

Peter Crane
Director of Programs
Mount Washington Observatory

Offline punxnotdead

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2006, 12:01:44 PM »
Doesnt AMC stand for Appalachian Mountain Corporation?

It used to be kept small, but the crap they are building now is completely rediculous.  ie. Crawford notch etc.

About the Observatory....the only thing wrong with it is the tourist crap up there.
someone dropped a steamer in the gene pool

"climbing with a deep knowledge of what we are doing is what we all want to climb high and safe" Champoing

Offline piolet

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2006, 02:44:21 PM »
I've always called them the Appalachian Muppet Club.

DLottmann

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Re: Mount Washington Observatory Fundraiser
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2006, 07:55:24 PM »
Doesnt AMC stand for Appalachian Mountain Corporation?

It used to be kept small, but the crap they are building now is completely rediculous.  ie. Crawford notch etc.

About the Observatory....the only thing wrong with it is the tourist crap up there.

I've always called it the Appalacian Money Club, and this is somewhat off topic, but I thought the Highland Center (Crawford Notch) was a little ridiculous in size and then I saw some 18th Century photos of the hotel that used to be there.  It was bigger!  Same with the one that used to be on Mt. Washington.  I think these places help bring more awareness to the general public of the value of the natural world that would otherwise not be in their.  They don't have to be dirtbag climbers to vote for someone who cares about our White Mountains, or any national park or forest for that matter.