CONTACT:
Rich Tichko: (603) 271-2224
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
July 2, 2004


State Public Water Access Sites Are Community Resource, Responsibility; Vandals Damage New Pittsfield Boat Ramp

CONCORD, N.H. -- As the summer heats up, people across the state seek out the water for a cool place to fish and boat. To help make these activities more accessible to the wider public, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department maintains 134 public access facilities around the state, ranging from shorebank fishing areas to large boat-launching sites. While Fish and Game installs and maintains the sites, local communities can help keep these resources in good shape by monitoring their use.

For the most part around the state, communities enjoy their public access areas and treat them with respect. A new boat ramp installed in Pittsfield last fall is a different story, however. The new facility includes a boat ramp, parking area and universally accessible fishing pier on the Suncook River, a valuable recreational resource for the Pittsfield community. Not even a year old, the facility has already been damaged with graffiti, slashes in the wooden retaining wall and uprooting of shrubbery planted to stabilize the shorebank.

"It's a shame to see a resource like this being abused," said Lee Perry, Executive Director at Fish and Game. "Every time we have to spend money addressing damage from vandalism, we have less to spend on providing new access opportunities around the state."

Perry urged Pittsfield residents to keep an eye out for vandals who may be damaging the new access site and to notify the Pittsfield Police Department at (603) 224-6631, or Operation Game Thief at 1-800-344-4262, if they spotted any destructive activity.

"It's up to us to work together to preserve these resources," Perry said. "Pittsfield was fortunate to get this new Fish and Game facility, and I am certain that the townspeople -- especially the young people who will be able to use it for many years to come -- will help us get the word out that as a community we need to take care of it, not tear it down."

A free map of fishing and boating public access sites across the state is available from Fish and Game by calling (603) 271-3211. The Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats and is charged with providing the public with opportunities to use and appreciate these resources. Visit
http:www.wildlife.state.nh.us.

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