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Wild Goose Boat Access Site: Lake Sunapee, NH

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is proposing to build a Public Boat Access Area at its Wild Goose Property on Birch Grove Road in Newbury, NH. An Environmental Assessment of the project was prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).



Environmental Assessment (Published May 16, 2017)


Free, Safe Public Access


Fish and Game's goal is to build a free, safe public boat access site at Wild Goose on Lake Sunapee.


New Hampshire's waters are owned by the public. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's legal authority and responsibility is to provide access for all people to all "great ponds" (lakes and ponds 10 acres or larger in area). Fish and Game is building the Wild Goose access site to serve the public – to fulfill our responsibility to be inclusive of everyone, and to not discriminate against those who are not otherwise able to access Lake Sunapee, the 6th largest lake in the state.


Wild GooseA computer-generated illustration of the proposed Wild Goose access site


A Recreational Opportunity Afforded to the Public by Law


Efforts to provide public boating access at the Wild Goose site began in 1990, when the Land Conservation Investment Program (LCIP) purchased the 133-acre tract on Lake Sunapee in Newbury at a foreclosure auction for $603,614.


The parcel includes a 3.3-acre lakefront site.  It was given to the NH Fish and Game Department to manage, with the understanding that it would be developed into the primary public boat access to one of the state's largest lakes.

New Hampshire's Public Water Access Advisory Board (PWAAB) voted unanimously in 2004 to move forward on developing the site as a full public boat access facility. PWAAB advises, monitors and coordinates state agency public access efforts, including the Statewide Public Access Program, for the public’s benefit. The Board is comprised of 19 members representing the NH departments of Resources and Economic Development, Environmental Services, Transportation, Safety, Fish and Game, and the Office of State Planning; two Senators; two members of the N.H. House of Representatives; and various public interests.


Key Points:


  • The site is needed because existing access is not adequate.
  • The project has been extensively studied, and is recommended by the NH Public Water Access Advisory Board.
  • An environmentally responsible design has been proposed.
  • Without the Wild Goose Boat Access Site, the public will have more limited access to a recreational opportunity afforded to them by law.


Statewide Public Boat Access Program


New Hampshire's Statewide Public Boat Access Program represents the public's diverse needs for water recreation opportunities. It was established per state statute (RSA 233). The goal and legal authority and responsibility of the program is "the acquisition, construction, refurbishment, maintenance, and operation of new and existing public boat access areas." Learn more about how boating access sites are developed.



Wild Goose Boat Access Site


Located in the southern end of Lake Sunapee, roughly .8 miles from Newbury Harbor, the Wild Goose boat access site will offer:

  • Public boat access to Lake Sunapee, free of charge;
  • Parking for vehicles and trailers;
  • Motorized and non-motorized use;
  • Environmentally friendly site design;
  • No boater/swimmer conflicts;
  • Traffic pattern approved by NHDOT.




“I virtually grew up on the lake; I have fished and explored every corner of it.  I wholeheartedly support the Wild Goose access site. The sportsmen and boaters of Sullivan County are very much in favor of this project.  There’s a tremendous need for reasonable, convenient access to Lake Sunapee.The existing access has become more problematic over the years, as parking has gotten more limited." -- NH Fish and Game Commissioner Tom Hubert, who represents Sullivan County, and has had a family cottage on Lake Sunapee since 1973.




"The Wild Goose Access Site project at Lake Sunapee has been in the works since 1990.  It is important for the public to have safe, adequate access to New Hampshire's sixth largest lake. Current access is not adequate.  Our goal is to fulfill our responsibility to not discriminate against those who are not otherwise able to access Lake Sunapee.  We plan to build an attractive, safe, free, user-friendly facility that will be an asset for the state." -- Glenn Normandeau, Executive Director, NH Fish and Game Department.