Click here to watch a sometimes choppy video courtesy of the New England Cable News about the following story.
Sixteen of the 23 campgrounds in the White Mountain National Forest are closed in the aftermath of Irene.
The rush of water that came through the Campton Group Campground near Lincoln, N.H., has left the popular spot nearly unrecognizable and unusable, New England Cable News reported.
“It’s a group camp,” says Pemigewasset District Ranger Molly Fuller. “Families come here, large families can camp here and they’re going to have to change their plans.”
State and private recreation areas are affected too – not just because of damage to the sites but because of damage to the roads that lead to them. Route 49 from Campton to Waterville Valley, Route 302 in Bartlett, and the Kancamaugs highway are all in shambles. The bridge into Loon Mountain Resort is damaged just weeks ahead of the Highland Games which attract tens of thousands of visitors.
“It’s actually not the worst time,” says Loon’s Molly Mahar. “It could be right before ski season, so we’re assessing things now and we’ll take it one day at a time.”
It might be the worst time for the forest service, which is scrambling to cancel reservations for the upcoming Labor Day weekend and still hoping people will keep their plans to come to the region.
“We do encourage a lot of caution and even waiting until the weekend to come and recreate,” says the Forest Service’s Tiffany Banna.
“The rocks were slippery and there were really high water levels. There’s a couple of trees across the way,” says Crystal Chocherk who’s ahead of the holiday crowd. Even though the hiking trails are tough and the scenic roads are blocked, she’d tell other vacationers “to come… it’s fun.”