CONTACT:
Dan Lynch: (603) 271-3511
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-5619 or 271-3211
July 20, 2007

Contract Awarded on Winnisquam Public Access Site

CONCORD, N.H. -- On behalf of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the N.H. Department of Administrative Services Bureau of Public Works has signed a contract with M. E. Latulippe Construction, Inc., of Ashland, N.H. for construction of a new double ramp boat access facility on Lake Winnisquam in Laconia, N.H. The contract was authorized by Governor Lynch and the Executive Council this week.

The contract will cover construction of the double ramp access facility, a parking area for 36 cars and trailers, an entrance road, staging area, ramps, seasonal floating dock, timber wharfs for temporary tie up, landscaping, fencing, lighting, signage and a kiosk. The facility will have many features to allow access for individuals with disabilities.

"We are extremely pleased that we are ready to break ground on this project, which will provide access to Lake Winnisquam for anglers and boaters," said Lee E. Perry, Fish and Game Executive Director. "We especially want to thank the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the City of Laconia, the Lake Winnisquam Association, the Public Water Access Advisory Board, abutting landowners and many others who contributed to and supported this cooperative effort."

The Winnisquam public boat access facility will be built on state-owned property off Water Street in Laconia. Construction of the site will begin soon, and the boat ramp is expected to open in spring of 2008. Boaters will not be able to utilize the site until that time. In the meantime, Martel's Bait Shop continues to allow public use of their ramp for a fee, with Fish and Game providing free parking in close proximity.

The new site will be the first state-owned and -operated public boat access on Lake Winnisquam. The lake is 4,264 acres in size, but currently has only one public boat access, which is fee-based, down from a total of 15 in 1950.

The award of this contract culminates a planning process that started in 2004, when former Governor Craig Benson reached an agreement with Ralph Langevin, owner of Martel's Bait Shop, to re-open Martel's boat ramp (which had previously been closed, leaving no public boat access to Lake Winnisquam) to the public while the state proceeded with development of a state-owned public facility. Since then, a team of people representing state agencies, the City of Laconia and various organizations have worked collaboratively to evaluate, plan and develop the site. Over the planning period, potential issues related to hazardous wastes, historic resources, wetlands, and threatened and endangered species have been addressed and all necessary grants and permits secured. The N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the City of Laconia have transferred interest in the site to the N.H. Fish and Game Department; surplus buildings have been removed; and preliminary site work accomplished.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's public boat access projects are funded through a combination of federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program monies from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and a $5 surcharge placed on New Hampshire boating registrations.

Fish and Game is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.

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