William Bartlett: (603) 271-3511
Dan Lynch: (603) 271-3511
July 18, 2003

Fish and Game to Move Forward on Sunapee Boat Launch

CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department today announced its intention to move forward with plans to establish a public boat access facility at the "Wild Goose" site on Lake Sunapee.

"We have made the decision to move ahead with the Wild Goose access proposal in the public interest -- the best interests of future generations of state park users and Lake Sunapee boaters and anglers," said William Bartlett, Acting Executive Director for N.H. Fish and Game. "It is the Executive Director's statutory responsibility to establish public access for the benefit of all the citizens of New Hampshire while taking into consideration the environmental concerns of the lakefront owners of Lake Sunapee."

The Land Conservation Investment Program (LCIP) purchased the 133-acre tract on Lake Sunapee in Newbury at a foreclosure auction in 1990 for $603,614. The parcel includes a three-acre lakefront site, given to the N.H. Fish and Game Department to manage, that will be developed into the primary public boat access to one of the state's largest lakes. In addition, the tract also included 130 upland acres with dramatic views of the lake that ultimately were added to Mt. Sunapee State Park, managed by the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development's Division of Parks and Recreation. Prior to its purchase by LCIP, the 130-acre portion of the property had been slated for an ambitious commercial development, including conditional approval for an 80-lot subdivision.

Fish and Game has reviewed alternatives to the proposed access project with the local community for years. One proposal suggested that the existing Sunapee State Park beach could accommodate increased boat-access facilities. However, a report from consultant B.H. Keith Associates of Freedom, N.H., found the Wild Goose site preferable to the beach option, based in part on concerns about developing an additional separate boating access road within the state park and potential boater/swimmer conflicts. With state park patronage in New Hampshire growing at about 8 percent per year, it was not considered advisable or safe to combine the proposed boat launch with the only public beach in the area. In addition, the Sunapee State Park plan called for using Jersey barriers to divide its access road and chain link fence to separate the areas, making this alternative less aesthetically pleasing than the proposed Wild Goose site.

"The effort to establish a public boat-launching site on Lake Sunapee has already taken more than ten years and has cost thousands of dollars in consultants and staff time," Bartlett said. "It is now time to stop the internal deliberation and get the project underway."

The Department will work closely with the N.H. Department of Transportation to provide safe roadway access and will apply for appropriate environmental permits from the N.H. Department of Environmental Services. Consultants have been involved with the site planning to ensure that the facility is attractive, accessible and safe, and that it will meet the needs of the people of New Hampshire for decades to come. Click here to view a site plan and computer-generated illustration of the planned project at Wild Goose.

"We care strongly about safety and aesthetics, and we take seriously our legislative mandate to provide boating access to Lake Sunapee," Bartlett said. "We have a responsibility to provide access for all the citizens of the state whether they live on the lake or not."

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources, working to conserve, manage and protect these resources and their habitats, and provide the public with opportunities to use and appreciate them.

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